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Reading Allan Peterson

 

CONTINENTAL

 

We were sinking

The windows were filling with cities

as if poured into glasses

No one was thinking of drowning

No one thinking air ship

but there we were submerging

A captain turned off the cabin lights

We folded our tables    headed down quietly

The moon holding its breath floated up

 

KNOWLEDGE FIRST

 

We call it knowledge first to be nice, then superstition

if it’s theirs, then demonic if it means contradiction.

Remember the Tree of it, how dangerous, how nothing stays

in its place once you know feathers drop symmetrically

so the skimmer doesn’t fly in a circle. The very idea

of its place is the forcing of facts into a philosophy

someone is paying to maintain. The moment the sugar

crystals surrender to syrup out of sheer curiosity

they start to rebuild again drying to a small city on the knife.

Lilacs are massaged along the fence by windy hands.

You can see them give and moan from their fingers.

This is what they told us we’d die from, wasn’t it

—love, teeth first in the pinnate leaves, then the hickory

chewing on its lip lies to us again. How after dying it recants.

 

FEELING LIKE THE AFRICAN

 

Where I am, with me is

Frances to whom my muscles are attached,

dogs that perk with a whistle,

catching urgency from whatever state I call.

Even the strangest will do the same:

And what has flown low below me, stingrays,

loons, hooded mergansers

the almost frozen wolf eel ribboned in the depths,

whose beauty is my god’s

revenge on austerity, whose cloudy wrist tells time,

white as a moonstone.

But I have no god.   It is just me feeling like the African

figure full of nails

that says the future is likely all rust and worms, muscular,

attentive, but with extra dogs.

 

*

 

all from Allan Peterson’s Precarious (42 Miles Press, 2014)

 

 

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