Ben Doyle

I Have Too Many Scarfs

Well. Two is two too many in the sizzling mist of the distant
deliquescence. A hysterical girl with white braids and freckle
constellations gave me this tape of a thousand cowboys yodeling
for a hundred and twenty even minutes––some kind of convention.
It cuts off, but she promised to make me more beside the freeway.
Can I get that in writing, I countered, mostly serious, the motorcades
plowing my survey. Sometimes I can read lips but I cannot
read her lips (drowned in the speckled lagoons of her cheeks)
but from her lack of gesture I gathered she could not hear me.
She drew a pen from her holster and a blue pad. WHAT?
she scribbled in a practiced hand & handed the tools back
to me. ––can I get that in writing?, I wrote back, really needing
to get these tires changed. The freeway yodeled (screaming bridge)
like a thousand lonely cowboys in unison, or one very large one,
huge heart gone nova from the vacuum of the scrub-plains,
the moon-glaze in the cattle’s eyes, numb forms hustled
through the dustbowl towards that green run in the distance,
dormitorial, always further than yesteryear, always smaller, nothing
really, or one small dude yodeling chords like a monk into a mike
through a stadium-size PA system with some slapback off the wall
erected merely for aesthetic purposes. Do they mean to conceal
the SUV’s from the city or the city from the SUV’s? Something
there is that definitely doesn’t. Art is always––a guess––obfuscation,
of the blank, the mute, of the normal noise pollution. You cover
a texture with texture, a text with text, someone moans. The black
jack was curled like a panther inside the plush trunk, the four-way
was like a plus, the spare like a real wheel. The bridges screeched––
bridges. Not like there were any bodies of water out here, vermiform
stratigraphy of freeway, highway, artery, footpath, untied cloverleaves.
WHAT?, she wrote under mine, with an arrow to my that.
If she is capable of calm, she may be comely, we will not know,
her chirography says so, she has one speed: queen of capitals.
A hypothetical singularity of one bit of that tone––the one I wished
for more of: tender, spooning intensity, the crux in her double-V’s––
waved its black flag. We had been married for, I don’t know,
twenty-two minutes. One can I can recall, dawdling dented
from some kite-string, the fat chef on it licking his gray spoon
with a tiny tongue & winking at a pot of redness, side dish UPC.
Flagons from the front bumper responsible for the blowouts. Promise.
And another was wax beans. It was worse, we had jammed
some traffic behind us & it finally superseded the moment.
For sixty minutes, no one did not notice us for twenty minutes.
Obviously, the noise should have died, it didn’t. It was louder
this way, out here there aren’t state inspections. “An Animal State,”
I told somebody on the telephone, when I had recently moved
away, or there, “an Animal State, where one can own anything
but a wet heart, where suicide is silly and marriage lasts months.”
Listen closely, every yodel reveals itself via inflection as question,
then she slid her loop over my head & kissing said & shed collateral.

© 2005 Electronic Poetry Review