Two Poems for Two Voices for My Dad

Place the Stories Stop

                                    (for two voices)

 

 

there was that

you that came before

you came after

 

here

 

a word unheard at birth

saying before saying

snow all over is earth

earth is snow all over

 

blue

 

breath graze

the field sunstruck

sometimes

this sunlight seems

plastic

 

and summer runs in reverse

 

i thought

i am a popcorn too long in the oil

then i thought no

i is a shell holding splitting

 

pastword

 

it already happened

i’m sorry you

drifted so

alone fisher

 

father

 

great blank

space

 

i’m sorry i

failed

                  to ask

 

putting one foot in front

of the other

                  remember

 

to breathe

to thread

to fill

 

and empty

i want to find you

more than a warning

 

what happens when we put our hands down

where do you stand when you’ve run out of

 

space

 

flicker into focus some glowing plain, it could be flat, no telling

i am what i see and now i see stars, the falling face of fathers

seed inside the grain, folded fields forming, filling, falling

rise and scatter, between the watermarks, in America

river under rippled moon spangled wonder

what does it look like to love without holding

                  anything

 

like this and this and this

 

who is it speaking please

 

Night call from outer space

voice comes on the line

 

don’t answer the phone we’re

alone here we whisper alone

to find yourself alone

inside a face voice comes over the wire

 

fucking junction box shooting sparks out of

fifty grey rooms some of them burning there

are three of us here pop back

into the mystery

 

are you there

are you here thought i saw something

move i was driving sky was

black field was purple road was

orange there were agents

like flies in the field

 

That was the secret winter

That was the time before telling

Hearing the numbers repeated

Zero and one it was only

A test human voice comes

Over the air are you sure

 

watch me burn

watch me slide and

wave unweave

the tree to its

root

 

maybe i’m hooked

at about that time you stopped

what’s an honest way to say

are you called

are you cold here’s a

light at the back makes my

face unfocus find oneself

unknown deeper into the

snow sky static between

channels air seems empty

miss you miss you all

not ready for nothing

watch me take a picture

watch me smile and wave

saw men torn in half

was told that was normal

never knew not fear

know now not

something kind in your eyes

can’t pretend to feel

more than i do what do i

carried sadness someone

pick up the phone the lines

smudge the lines run

rain bleed on the river

just one step to step

outside i’d like not to wake up

too sad too late it’s

started no time make a word

shape sound place memorial

patchwork for the frozen

 

falling word

 

here in silence stop

 

 

 

 

lost in water burned in fire

drift alight on the mountain


 

To Ashes

(for two voices)

 

“That’s what misery is,

 Nothing to have at heart.

 It is to have or nothing.”

                  --Wallace Stevens

 

Then we’re at the airport

Then we catch a plane

 

crack to feel the pain of things

what lies in an ending

 

i’m cold

at once and everwhere

exposed

 

bloom

somewhere below

the moon

                  jellyfish

 

find a form

to fix

the fluttering

 

fluttering still

short of breath

what was i

 

saying in a deeper breath

you were stranger than i thought

waited so

late to see you

won’t do it again

 

ten sixteen thirteen

 

we were moving held up

my hand shadow something

in the bush moving

step by step alone land lined

mined trapped there maybe

eleven twelve

we saw each other frame

froze burned click

of a rifle don’t

ever

don’t leave me coughing numbers

 

10/17/13

 

no room

to return

 

going back

outside

 

every one

strange

 

so i found them

so i left them

 

ghost mind

clings to bushes

 

eighteen nineteen twenty

 

i guess we were a private people

kind of chilly maybe

made us cold

 

carry

as far and as loud as we can

voices

 

echo states too dire

to be taken

seriously

 

one

 

no dust

in the gate of compassion

 

cracked

                  projection

 

we never got out of the

mall even outside was

inside and closed

 

time was

i was all soft surface

 

no one came to find me

so far inside

 

i think it’s time

i don’t want it to be time

but i think it’s time

leaking all over the house

 

won’t know until

we’ve landed

 

maybe i’m only

talking to echo

                  (i miss you ixxy

                   eminent being

                   and ashes

                   you knew

                   what it was

                   to die)

 

opened my mouth

and my face was empty

 

slow

motion

collapse

 

feather

like

flour

 

closer

than

skin

 

                                    parsifalzero

 

unbeginning and ashes

 

                                    parsifalzero

 

the world,

two

 

parsifalzero

parsifalzero

 

monkey in a frozen

 

house

 

writing to say that i’m

here and not here and

now it’s dark early

 

and that so often i failed to meet fully

the promise and challenge of love

 

                  lost and lost and losing

                  voice and coming to you

                  direct from the Celluloid Ballroom

 

rickety signal

collapse just a

way of saying

                   scratch

                                      singing at last

 

Must’ve been some kind of idiot.

Brent Kite’s writing has appeared in publications including The Believer, Barrow Street, Film Comment, Sight & Sound, and Trafic, as well as the anthologies Exile Cinema, edited by Michael Atkinson, and Olivier Assayas, edited by Kent Jones.