For the hell of it, you go and come back, take dictation from an advanced being, and go to the bathroom with a shed on your shoulders. It's heavy, and your Dardanelles won't budge. You lift everything you see in search of more, and instead you find less. There are little Japanese figurines in the corners, laughing at you with your eyes. You'll be getting all the varieties every week. The Bob Dylan isn't shy, he's adorable. The stance is wide, the girls are everywhere, white sheets and The Goddamned Sound and the Fury. My mother was a fish. He likes sex, you can tell. She's out here. He's watching Diego. She's writing. He's William Carlos Williams and Cubist painting. She's writing. She's dealing with a pain in her neck. She never tells where it hurts and keeps her bullet safe inside. Good morning. The humiliations have been spectacular. She kissed him in the middle of dinner, in the middle of Geography. He's having no luck with the ladies. He's capital, just capital! He's catching up. He finds New York brief, another round, misses doing things you wouldn't expect. Cheers to our noble profession. He drinks, for the first time in a long time. He does business in Europe. He didn't know it was for sale. His wife's lawyer won't leave him a pot to think. Excuse us. He would very much like some wine. He drinks a martini with an onion in it. She doesn't know why she picks the wrong boys. She wonders what is wrong with her. She's got the wrong style. He'll fix her. She looks at him. He is very good. Yes, yes, it's okay, it's good. They are in the pool. He assumes they are all well-off. He should take something up. He's smarter than he's ever been in his life, and his brain is more agile. His muscles are remembering their skills. Her father will take care of you, he likes having you around. You're beautiful and you don't take too much. You're not possessive. You can be with anyone you want. As you can see we're very tired. You don't want to sleep. He gave away our room. She's twenty one. Her father makes love at the other end of the pool. He gives her a bottle of gin. There are riots in the street. California was spectacular. The people were what was wrong with it. He eats mints to mask the scent of gin. He's making it rain. He's letting them open the kimono. He's surrounded by white linens.
And he makes them, and makes them, and he makes animal sounds, he makes animal sounds and the day is, and the day he makes animals sounds the day runs into ruin, as the sounds run and he makes it, he makes them run, he rolls them, rubs the river, the day changes, he makes the day's changes and it makes him, it names him, the animals name him, they go to him, he seeks them, they turn to him and he turns the day, the day runs with him, makes him something, goes toward rivers, makes changes.
His sounds make changes, make them bread, make them with eyes and long uninterrupted swing sets with horns where eyes are, horns above lightning, feelings in the deep, in the war, he makes war with animals in his mind, the animals don't befriend him if he makes war, and he makes it, he puts his face aside, he runs with the combinations, he retools things, makes everything run in the belly of animals, of scared people he knows, of walls, and he resigns.
He goes to the basement, he keeps his tools there, he makes sound there, makes words and elephants, big elephant words that carry him in his war with words and animals and walls and the frayed ends of his liver that he wonders about in his medications, he sweeps aside things with his hands, his hands roll the grass up and take everyone to the river and to the train tracks and to the prison cell.
He shadows his hearing under snakes, he envelopes crying, his tears tear his jaw down, he slumps, he feels horror, he goes to the people, they cry around him, they take his liver out, he looks at it, they are afraid, he is afraid, they feed him to animals and his liver regrows him, he is alive again, he is not angry with people, they took care of him, they did what was necessary, they eliminated the ardor, they followed through, they made him whole again, they fed him, they gave him a sense of when the time would be right for him to go on a journey, he went, he came back, they thanked him.
Everyone was having lunch, they sat him down, he told his story, they ate his story while they listened to him speak, there were bones making noises in the rooms inside their houses, the war was in their houses and the man told them of their war and they ate lunch, they had lunch next to the man, gave him sandwiches and salads and soups and they saw something of a feeling coming out of him and he was alone in that he could not feel them seeing that something was happening to him, he was alone and they were together and they felt him give way, he felt himself give way, there was something to say and he couldn't say it, they listened and he said it but they could only hear their own hearing.
Them feelings, they thought, them feelings he's having, it's the war, they thought, it's the war, and they asked if he wanted to leave them and he said no, and they stopped eating and asked him to sit down again and he took his arms and did something with his arms, used them in a way they could not understand, he made new words, made words without sounds or symbols of sounds, made unconnected wheelings of arm words and he left them thinking he might come back again, then the sky allowed for his passing, the light covered his shoulders in orange and he was washed clean of even his name and feelings and any other forms he used when he was alone, now he was his own together with the dawn and the rich animal sounds coming from the river and his newly formed words, that only he could understand.
Matthew Rotando's first collection of poems, The Comeback's Exoskeleton, was published by Upset Press in 2008. He has edited one book of fiction, non-fiction and poetry about life in wartime Sri Lanka called Slippage. He has published poems in various magazines, both on- and offline. Currently he lives in Tucson, Arizona, where he teaches poetry workshops at the University of Arizona Poetry Center.