It’s time to get serious. As in, these Breaking News stories
are getting monotonous, like a meeting agenda, or an air conditioner
clicking on and off, a band practicing one room over, lists of the dead.
I’m sorry and small, while along the west coast, romantic poets
are watching sunsets through clouds that look like fancy bears, or even
normal bears. It’s still fancier than this office I’ve tried to spruce up
by tacking weather pattern maps of the Eastern North Atlantic to the wall,
a publication of the American Geographical Society in the year
of my birth, 1965. Thank you, American Geographical Society,
and all my inclinations at once, like despair’s thrust ankle, as you’re
walking down a crowded bus aisle, or else maybe more fetchingly
at a park somewhere in New York (Bowling Green, Pumphouse),
where romantic poets are whispering in French something about
croissants and formaldehyde—how would I know—I, who went
to a Blue Christmas mass once, thinking it was going to be filled
with Elvis songs, and instead it was a service for those who feel no joy
at Christmas, due to death, illness, etc—“I know you don’t feel the joy”
the priest said, and I replied “when we ask coherence of the arts,
it’s like we’re asking coherence from falling off a log in the forest
when we’re not in a forest.” That’s what I meant to say. What I said
was “oh no” under my breath. No wonder I gave this up years ago.
It continues the argument of space by filling it. It continues the argument
of time by following it. I also want to name things, how it sounds
like something is happening when you’re naming things, or when
you’re looking at something that has a particular name and you know
that name. And here I am, for excitement, imagining this Friday
going to see Captain Marvel, who has the same problem Superman has:
too much power. The only thing to do is fly to another universe
or pull your punches, so Elvis pulls his punches. It would probably
fry anyone’s brain, never a minute’s rest from death or danger or illness.
Boom. Pow. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But the sky’s blue
right now, depthless and blue, pure blue, Elvis blue, like candy,
and people are dying constantly and brutally and/or going to movies,
and I just found out a pack of cyclists is called a peloton. I’m humming
“Blue Christmas” under my breath, as out in space the church is silent
now, a single cough somewhere, or someone dropping a missalette.
John Gallaher‘s forthcoming collection is Brand New Spacesuit (BOA 2020). He lives in rural Missouri and co-edits the Laurel Review.