Winter chewed our abstractions into harsh realities. We talked of ocher and death and what happens when words leave our mouths and turn to steam. You muscled the light into havoc and said it looked good on your head. How would you know. Do you even have a head? Professor Silly rattled an old volume of Spinoza and pounded the powder with his big heavy boots. I evoked a door hinge and clarified our abandonment. Clarence painted a funny shape. Marie explored a reindeer skull. A feeling of lost animals sparkled in her implications. You said dampen a rag and make some money so off I went controlling my smears and strewing the ground with sonnets. Work disturbs me. It always does. I developed a wild syllable and dropped it on a sentence that smelled of anchovies. I saw an abstraction churning in the suds and it exploded into prayer and sold for a million and a half dollars to a man named Wheatstone. We must heat ourselves with opposites said Professor Silly, looking silly. What opposites I asked. You know he said like when you sit in an armchair and the room begins to swarm with perception and you flower into excitement running around the palace telling all the servants that if you dollop a mythology out of the story bucket you can blast words of hot raw air out of your mouth or flow through the hose like water and come out the other end tearing the air in half. I don’t like to argue with the professor when he’s like this it’s like fencing in tongues. I don’t want to do that with anyone else except Rebekah Del Rio. I overheard Igloo and Trailing Arbutus talk about lyrical Nebraska. Cinderella gargled some mouthwash and glittered in the morning like she always does when she goes around in those stupid glass slippers. I indulged a seamlessness of smell named Very Schubert and decided to go deform some pennies on the railroad tracks. I thumbed a ride to Wisconsin where I could do that and sat in a bar in Milwaukee exulting in the trapeze until a feeling ripened and burst into pumpernickel. Professor Silly suddenly appeared looking like a scratch ticket and invoked a domain of metamorphism just so he could assemble a press and publish his abscess. Phantoms sat in a booth punishing their bones with spasms of jukebox summer and weighing a murder as if it was a freshly peeled banana. April folded her embroidery and hobnobbed with the Christians. I swim in splendor, I said, meaning every word. Watch me squeeze this gland until it turns purple and everyone stood amazed at Montmartre. I desire nothing more than the sandstone of Utah I shouted at the desk clerk and demanded a room with a radio and a view of redemption where I could shade my mental lumber from the heat of inquiry. I will box your mouth with my mouth and include eggnog if you don’t cooperate with my calculus. Remember what happened to Newton. If you must write poetry stuff your lines with trout. Nobody wants to publish a yodel unless it jingles like a pungent enigma. Exceed consciousness. Watch how the rain grabs space and makes it wet and swell into employment. Emphasize napkins. Climb the wall. Escape from prison. Everyone’s in prison. Even the prisons are in prison. Clash with anything green. Ooze black. Crack the stars into Van Gogh gold. Break an adverb. You don’t need to approve the stepladder just step on it and paint the walls. Wander the streets of Marrakesh. Hum a song of sorrow. Throw knives in the rain. Fill your conceptions with the thrust of a thousand restless angels. Express the inner lives of goldfish. Deepen your secrets in acceptance. Live your life. Live it as if it were ice and you were an ax. Don’t insult the maid. Interact with liniment. This is all my advice. And now I want to see what Marie is up to.
John Olson is the author of numerous books of poetry and (chiefly) prose poetry,
including Dada Budapest, Larynx Galaxy, and Backscatter: New And Selected Poems. He is also the author of four novels, including In Advance of the Broken Justy, The Seeing Machine, The Nothing That Is, and Souls Of Wind.