Bio Note: I work at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and make my home in Tucson, Arizona. My work has appeared in Poetry, jubilat, Boston Review, Indiana Review, Tupelo Quarterly and elsewhere.
Basin and Range
1. All day I have been trying to decide if the cereus blooms are for profit or not. Now the bats fill up the coming darkness like electricity in a wire, and the darkness reminds me that the ground is just an average pop song living feels like our bodies are needles traversing the frequency 2. What I have wanted for a name: blue that outstrips its bird what air does inside a trombone sometimes the stars scramble and you lose all your sailors bougainvillea bloom as a prosthetic for a brain 3. Sing me the song where the small animal that is just beyond the edge of my iris starts to dismantle a mesquite pod undoing it the way one word can dominate the solar system of a sentence, outshining all the other language, rearranging the normal order by the seduction of what we can make a mind attend to or how the taking apart can remind us who owns oblivion, can create a right relation between the song and the precise moment the song leaves the body forever, once you now for a moment, part of everything. I suspect the problem with the problem of memory starts there, but I am still in the middle of my life. When we touch, I sometimes later look at your shoulder like some kind of signature I am astonished to see came from my hand.
Letter to David
Dear David, across the window from where I am typing this, there’s a porchlight that a moth is mistaking over and over for the moon. The moth did this last night, too. I’ve never wanted to get inside something as much as this moth wants to get inside the light, in the center of it, throwing itself on the glass again and again, smashing against the soft glow. I wonder if this not-wanting diminishes me, makes my life a little smaller. The moth makes me think of the way my old neighbor used to stomp up his sidewalk during the winter, taking the snow off his shoes, or repeatedly trying to crack the world in half, exhausted and done with it all. What is worth getting in the center of: sunflowers, a train whistle, the peculiar fidelity of grief to both consequence and song. The desire to act like a coast on the inside. The man who invented the piano must have been trying to recreate a bird, and I’m telling you right now David, if there were anything I would want to be in the center of, it would be the small, preposterous red heart of that bird. We have to assume that the first fiddle in the world was likewise made by someone obsessed with crickets or what a frog’s throat does to the center of the night. Obsessed with what might happen when something is used on itself. I’m suggesting animals teach us one way of being in the world. When you rub two hayfields together, you get Ohio. In the ridiculous dream I keep having David, somehow you find enough water to make the only hayfield in Southern California, teasing the timothy into the desert with your fingers, teaching the bees to sing a clover, and I come on my father’s ancient orange tractor with his decrepit wagons, sweating all the way across the country, and we bale your hayfield together, turning the abundance into small squares that we organize and stack in barns so that we don’t forget the places that made us. I only know how to make poems, David, and most of our lives have been what to make of them.
©2020 Tyler Meier
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