Seven Poems By Lauren Haldeman
I saw your book and I was jealous. I ate your eggs and I was jealous. You told me about
your family—how they rented a houseboat, how they fought. I was jealous of the
houseboat. I was jealous of your abilities in gift-giving when you gave me a gift. I was
jealous of your sunglasses. I was jealous of your armature; your raspberries; your beach
umbrella. I was jealous of your kindness when you said it was OK to be jealous. I was
jealous almost all day long, through the mid-afternoon storm, as the assemblage in the
yard went citreous and cardinal. The only time I wasn’t jealous, I was napping.
We don’t get older, we just
get more detailed. Grandma
eats a small lighthouse made of taffy.
James paints a bottle-shape on the window—
it fills with rain. Holograms of foam
wrapping around the loch’s ledge.
This is the birth house: we wait
for your landing. Here is a
mirror reflecting dogs that the same dogs
can’t stop sniffing. Here is Harry in a
handstand behind the map-shed,
his basket of rainbow-trout
punching the air. Later,
when you put on a carved-bear-head
in your dreams, or find pickled
herring makes you salivate, know that
it is for this hillside
that your blood-sap aches.
Kerosene bottles lit on the dry-dock.
Bunk beds in the owl’s lungs;
the dull lamp of cat-sleep.
The shovel is a bubble in the ground near Talissian.
Your body a banquet of sunshine in this shovel.
It reminds you of how your body dragged ten-thousand
ancestors through dusk-rot while reaching this place:
Sky cloaked on Firs Phen Eugepei’s shed.
You tell your ancestors “See, a now is a now:
Be now veined-curtain or prism or screendoor. Be now
hummingbird that turns from us, weaving
though the yard.”
& they follow the hummingbird to the feed cans.
Meanwhile, Firs Phen shows you a marble she’s found
in the fern-brake, full of radar, foggy with spell.
Your body moves your hand down to it.
(Sometimes your mind clenches but not yet.)
In your other hand: a magnifier. This will be medicine
> of building bundles in the forest’s slight itch of burr,
> of waiting until the bubble blips from the rainbowy soil,
> of letting the marble recognize itself in her lifetime.
For it is said: you pick the marble up.
“From now on, we shall be mortal friends,
instead of mortal enemies,” you proclaimed
and the curtain fell. The crowd went wild.
It was a raucous production—the cast gathered
on the running crew’s track below the prop-loft.
Everything was glorious and dangerous. Your life
smelled of glow-tape and saw dust. You never once thought
of the past. Only your line “From now on, we shall be mortal
friends instead of mortal enemies” did you
remember. The set was now, the set was made out
of now, the set was painted with now paint,
made of now clapboard and now nails. You never once.
Grass Staircase Horse
I left the grass where our penny be strange.
Traded a buckle for grass.
Made a grass-signal with it.
Calm watching grass—felt my grass jacket rustle.
Outside grass was coming. All the movement was grass.
I hung up slides inside the grass hallway.
Likewise, the distillery flashed fantastic like grass.
Grass needles pushed through the dirt’s fabric.
Grass, sparklers, grass, sparklers, grass, sparklers, grass…
You couldn’t shoot grass with a bullet I think.
You couldn’t smother grass with a pillow I think.
Yet grass could smother anyone of us, yes?
Lying on grass, a gloved hand touched my forehead,
(the glove: diagram of a staircase stitched on it.)
A staircase can saw through the air & I know this.
No really, a staircase can saw through the air.
Get 41 staircases: you have the Atlantic!
From one Mississippi, get 2 staircase get!
A steam-powered staircase can come from the future.
Speeding though landscape, the staircase transmits.
Above me, a staircase.
A staircase dragging itself down the hall.
A staircase at midnight riding its horse
from floor to the ceiling (between each the walls.)
I left my horse, called a friend & desired
him to go make the signals that night.
Then I went and I took out
my Boots & my Horse
and rode to the parte where another horse stayed…
Rode that horse over the Charles.
Rode this horse into Boston. I told the soldiers
what was Acting, went to git one more horse.
I got one horse from the known Deacon Larkin,
and set off on this very good horse.
It was 11 o’clock, and very pleasant.
Raven the size of a rabbit.
Rabbit the size of a briefcase.
Briefcase the size of a medium-sized lava deposit.
Medium-sized lava deposit the size of a tick’s mouth.
Tick’s mouth the size of a bulb flash.
Bulb flash the size of a Streptococcus strain.
Streptococcus strain the size a balloon.
Balloon the size of a diamond.
Diamond the size of a drawing room.
Drawing room the size of a stalactite.
Stalactite the size of a spinning firework.
Spinning firework the size of a marble.
Marble the size of a wizard’s beard.
Wizard’s beard the size of a staircase.
Staircase the size of a kayak.
Kayak the size of Ben.
Ben the size of a chicken house.
Chicken house the size of its fire.
Its fire the size of a wallet.
Wallet the size of a commemorative postage stamp of Alessandro Volta.
A commemorative postage stamp of Alessandro Volta the size of a blood cell.
Blood cell the size of a closed celestial cave.
Closed celestial cave the size of an airplane.
Airplane the size of a cross-stitch.
Cross-stitch the size of a clothesline.
Clothesline the size of one-and-one-half-mile long boardwalk.
One-and-one-half-mile long boardwalk the size of a dollhouse.
Dollhouse the size of a nightmare.
Nightmare the size of a breath mint.
Breath mint the size of an armchair.
Armchair the size of The Capitol.
The Capitol the size of a pair of pants.
A pair of pants the size of a torpedo.
Torpedo the size of a dreadlock.
Dreadlock the size of the broadway musical ‘Cats’.
The broadway musical ‘Cats’ the size of a newsboy.
Newsboy the size of another newsboy.
Another newsboy the size of a gravel road.
Gravel road the size of a basketball.
Basketball the size of a pregnant spider.
Pregnant spider the size of math.
Math the size of the Unmanifest.
The Unmanifest the size of a bike bell.
Bike bell the size of air-conditioning.
Air-conditioning the size of that one Latin teacher who threw the desk at that one kid.
That one Latin teacher who threw the desk at that one kid the size of me.
Me the size of a desk being thrown at me.
A desk being thrown at me the size of a whisper.
Whisper the size of a gymnasium.
Gymnasium the size of the Adamantine Sphere.
Adamantine Sphere the size of the Matrix Sphere.
Matrix Sphere the size of a pyramid.
Pyramid the size of a whirlpool.
Whirlpool the size of an accordion.
Accordion the size of a Congressman.
Congressman the size of a loaf of bread.
Loaf of bread the size of your hand inside a puppet head.
Your hand inside a puppet head the size of a graveyard.
Graveyard the size of a paw-print.
Paw-print the size of a football helmet.
Football helmet the size of a cat family.
Cat family the size of a gondola.
Gondola the size of a ping-pong.
Ping-pong the size of a bonfire.
Bonfire the size of West Virginia.
West Virginia the size of grandparents.
Grandparents the size of New Jersey.
New Jersey the size of a donut.
I haven’t had a donut in a while.
Donut the size of a raven.
We tore the cabinets out. The sound
of an animal vomiting.
We pulled the faucet from the wall
& suddenly I thought
of your body. How a knife went
in it, how a knife
was yanked out. There was only one place
where you could’ve died and we didn’t
know where it was
until now. Next to a parking lot
on a sidewalk in Denver, everyone
can only die in one place and you
died there. The sound of teeth
chattering. You died
with your jacket on; we didn’t get that
jacket back—it was too
heavy with your
leaving it. We didn’t get to see
where the knife cut the clothes. We
swung a sledgehammer at the wall.
The sound of coughing. The sound
of a dog being kicked.
Where your clothes were cut
by the knife seems like
a secret. Even the dead want
their privacy, I guess. How dead
you are now. How private.
Lauren Haldeman’s first poetry collection, Team Photograph, is forthcoming from Rescue Press in Fall 2014. Also: she’s a mom and makes paintings.