Logan Fry is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Texas at Austin, where he
is involved with the Bat City Review. His poetry and reviews have most recently been
published at elimae and Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement).
From the Start and Begin There
However it continues beginning nonetheless, elbows
unconscious in their damaging, mostly how they bore
down through the couch's forgiving cushions, before
sleep takes off with their bite. The wine tonight
has the mouthfeel of turpentine uncorked through
an Ohio summer in a cask in a corner
of the stifling barn, and this is the way it is preferred,
for each sip preserves the sharp pain of gradual process
achieved. The barn, though weak and with a marked
lean, withstood the summer and its storm, all the while
cradling this cask, and the occasional diesel rupture
of a tractor coughing out or back in
has lent something muscular and lean to the bouquet.
Never are there seats enough, but do is made
and people sit or lean and continue conversations
that by design can never fully be exhausted
though they gasp on fumes more than the speakers
would admit. Placid on the couch she drifts off,
and her elbow, sharp before, weakens on his thigh,
while he considers grace in the foreboding sense
and whereby one obtains it—from which well
to dunk one�s canteen, and whether the dunking
of a canteen is itself enough, is itself grace,
that it isn't about which well or what water stagnates
within. The host has thrown back the curtains
in the preparation, the settling of pillows, the tidying
of piles on the desk to look like genius restrained,
the lighting of seasonal candles. This began hours
before guest one arrived with pie. Whether the evening
is a success or not depends largely on the tonal
call and response between the ambient music
and the gathering's mood, and on the arrangement
into a cycling of groups suitable for a quarter hour's
conversation, and on the precise and proper
exit, both in time and manner. These events are made
for ending, to have done. Regardless of content,
the evening is a vessel and a vessel primarily,
and that a vessel have some sort of thing poured
into it is in most cases all that can be done and all
that need be, as the function finds itself careless
in the end, knowing only filled or unfilled. Unfulfilled
never enters into calculation. That is on a separate abacus.
Grace is being discussed over his right shoulder, Grace Paley,
the speaker a tall figure leaned against the couch in the strain
of effortlessness—this, all, he takes as a sign. Not
of anything cosmic but of the tendency for mundane
lumps of the world entire, torn from the mass,
to reassemble into much the same clump
when slapped all back together by a sample population.
She shifts her elbow sharp into the crook of his thigh.
He holds steady the stem of his turpentine glass,
displaces the pain through his jaw, clenched
into a bulge under his beard. Had he been talking,
the wine would have surely spilt. Listening lends
a steadiness to one's surroundings. The senses enhance
altogether, one to one. The Grace group has moved
to join the Prop 8 advocates at the bookshelf
and the ladies huddled at the adjacent sofa are enacting
a laugh and sigh transition from the embrace of the terms
milf and cougar to the recent menagerie slaughter
somewhere in the Midwest, and into his shoulder she mumbled
"he wouldn't go there, it's phosphorus you want"
and repositioned the elbow deeper into his groin.
The bad wine reminds, This is process, all of it,
even when an engine sits like a preserved silver heart
for a half century in a barn, it nonetheless knows
the metamorphosis of one unwanted state for yet another,
though somewhere in there, if known then,
a wanted state could be paused at (two elbow digs prior was it)
and that made the end instead of wherever it is
that corrupted man marks out on corrupted nature.
A wave is, in reality, something other than,
in actuality, this (over the beach mansions
I point). A face is closer to it, a massive face
in a slow agony, enclosed in the greater agony
of its industrial labor. The churning. Ford's Great Idea rose, a leviathan,
from this very shore. Edit that into your textbook.
Now the story goes that a breakfast of egg
and egg alone was unsuitable to Ford, even poached.
And on the deck he decompressed and studied
his thoughts, projected in these very waves.
The waves' awashing washed in images of jumpsuited limbs, heads
bent, rote hands unclumsy. The dawn fog
not yet burned away—this he deemed their measured
breath. The scene of it rising from station to station,
footsoldiers of progress communal in blent exhale!
Ford�s notebook overfloweth.
Note in yours:
this shore never did. This will be on the exam.
Pockmarked Face of Limestone
Wretched, the sharp noise scares me, and the glazed face of winter
peers around the lamppost on the highway. The way, in any large hall,
perspective lends itself too easily to art. How the columns stand
in the finest light and shadow, a technical bounty of this
and that. When one encounters a bliss dulled, perspective only helps
a bit, frays some hairs of the twine affixed to the former rapture,
now a blunt anchor. There are so many mailboxes to cram letters in,
and presses in every department store to forge a spare key.
It is no help—the talent of attention required to discern the fake
concavities in the limestone from the real. The knowing diminishes
history's bliss in both. One can find solace in empty bike racks
and the grime that damps light from lanterns, but not, I'm afraid,
from any one single thing apart from all the others.
Back to Front.