Where Wood Comes From Is a Popular Question in My House
The callus at the base of my left pinkie toe has grown
into a shameful public knowledge
everywhere talked about
nowhere addressed except Libya, in the peacemaking bombs, and Oregon,
in the spruce felled for the building of homes
and/or houses like the one I plan that will solve all my problems.
Sing, soffits and girders, of the trials
of youngish Alex
whose offering was fabrication, while Dubai's black box drank
Freon from men's lips. Remember to deliver
the jars to Jason on the way to work. Remember the light
from Bonnie's windows into the woods,
which is the difference
between patience and too much planning. Poplar, oak: Indiana.
Sprucepinefir: Canada. The imperfect cousin is good
enough. For government work I'll take the nerdy engineer
in the unseasonable cold of late March
as the sap starts
to rise again and again, my love, I'm sorry. I was tired of the fan
keeping us warm. I had to build a conceit.
All's continuation until collapse. All's destruction until the hewing
of logs overtakes the poem, the analysis, the screen-lit
biweekly, stolen sunrise server, debt hegemony and picking
up milk at the farm. I talked to Jason. Turn's out
material is cheap these days so cutting timber yourself is costly.
The fluid in my father's eye is easy to forget when
I'm not next
to him, his nose in the way, half-blinding. Even cheaper than time.
That's economics now, going stale on the counter,
drying out by the wood stove. Where do I go from here, I ask,
hoping for some sort of compromise where
I don't become
a peasant too quickly. Ease me into integrity when
we finally run out of modern life, 'kay?
There's still the constant talk show in my head; whether
it's Amy Goodman or life lessons
with Christian Lance
I miss the turn to the barn and the bald eagle crossing
the street up there. Flying, I mean—careening
through the air like Unthinking Alex. To think, I think,
is to see, not to chatter box
my shadow's lubed
and luscious axles. Oh, to hew. Oh how. But no, where
work runs thick, you stay with your in-laws,
who are lovely people, but still.
The Boy Who Fell in Love with Shoes
One reading has it as a warning tale
of the Resurgence of Material that began,
historians generally agree, in late 2029
with the Third and Final Crash. Others see
a harmless entertainment about the ghosts
of desires, a magical father turning slowly
human, as fathers do—never diminishing
in intent to harm or heal as the sandbags fill,
dragging them down to stumble
along Vernal Pike. Their bare feet eventually
getting tough. In one version the Reeboks
take him by the hand and demonstrate
the frying of an egg; in another it's Mooshoes
Veganware buying him Mini-Truckin'
Magazine with its indoor bikini girls,
because history repeats love. My family
is kinda like me, he says before the climax
of the tale. They only read the fairy stories
about money. When you care about something
as much as I do, it'd better be accumulation
by dispossession, the way shoes wrench
style from Filipino babies and in personhood
soak me, unto death or mortal sickness
or going to the woods to live simply,
to confront only the essential facts of Chicago
summers' sweat and desire. Scholars'
attempts to reconstruct the authorial history
have been to no avail. They don't even know
how it ends, as the denouement was typed
in WordPerfect 1997, and humanity's best
computers cannot open the file. Errors
occur. Dictators apologize. Guatemalan
activists are shot in their canoe on their way
home to being busy, distracted fathers.
One teenager's attempt to imitate a t-shirt
is another's entry into an overexposed market.
Scholars apologize. We didn't know,
surrounded here by discourse and argument,
how lonely a kid could be.
All rights reserved to Alex Chambers
Illustrations by Meghan Irwin
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