Far-off summer, long ago. You closed your eyes
and took one solemn step from the sunny porch
into empty air : a test of faith
and game of Superman (hoping to fly).
Lost Midwest. Absent place and time.
Here, now, a tiny spider (extravagant engineer)
hops and spills his guts and builds a bridge
across a shady corner : slender thread-
suspension, sleepy loop drawn taut
over a wooden abyss... a catenary arc
tracing, erasing his would-be fall.
How many bridges would it take to leap
back into that netherworld? The dream
of dreaming children, hidden away somewhere
in summer’s fastnesses, so high, so deep?
And is it only an arachnid fantasy (dreaming
of a dream)? Twin pillars, golden, shimmer,
striding over the wavering bay (a pair
of calipers, or the focus mechanism
of a lens); but the eyes blur, salt-bitten,
dazzled by blazing stabs of light... and
you are transported back to the porch again
(this porch, here, now) – fretful, webbed-in
by diligent spiders, on an older coast.
For another round of preliminary sketches,
trial balloons. The imagined bridge
curves in mind – the motivating thought,
the spur – just as tiny mock-orange seeds
predict how wild midsummer vines
will snake a sweet white carpet over the
fence-ridge. In the late-evening shadows,
after a rain, the sky’s misty blue mingles
with faint pink clouds, blends with dark
doubles of the fence, pussy willow,
dogwood, in the general shade spanning
(inch by inch) from east to glow-worm
west. Everything merges in the twilight;
on Memorial Day, at dusk, on the edge
of old America, you are a bridge too
(part of the crumbling infrastructure) –
half-finished, still useless, dangerous
to pedestrians (the abyss lurks there
in the pit of your stomach); only
the idea of completion is
complete, yet. Yet to build with memory
(the soldiers in North Main Cemetery,
the tiny flags planted over their graves
like solemn seeds of some imperishable
commonwealth) might not be in vain,
though suspended yet (and yet) with
hypothetical threads, stretched thin, held
steady by just-imagined pillars, planted
in a real river – vast, unbanked, inexorable...
The blind one, tentative, feels his way
through the heart-valves. The memory
is buried – a distant hill or
Indian mound. The waves beat back; only
a slight sound sets them surging.
Under the bridges, hobos
wait for his return; beneath
high banks, a river waits for the bridge.
[sigh] so much trouble with writing & with my bloghpersona lately. Hopefully it means there's something a-stirring in them old dry weedy embers. Over the weekend a simple compositional idea came to me, which got me started writing my same old same old poem once again (new version).