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Allan Peterson

Forgetting The Future


Email appeared in my dreams the morning of May 20
along with the unspoken
legislation of multiple meanings, the context being the qualifier.
The onion, the clink of knife
on the porcelain plate, the oyster-drill dead on the beach,
a live one in the shallows seeking snails.
An equation in which equals is the remainder filed in the nerves.
For a minute I had forgotten the future,
which instance was a penetrating shaft-like tool, which a fabric,
which baboon, in which the address
of the resolution I long for is: lush acre dot calm, into which
no bush hog drills
with its paraphernalia of axioms and axons.

Among men I am supposed to assume the shared knowledge
of jumper cables, the straight slot screw,
the hex nut and the means to an end using tools and ordnance,
how ample inspires the wire
and the circuit makes a noise, the long electric city
waiting in the map for discovery.

But there is a picture under which the printed word describes
the carved ivory of a man writing
on calfskin steeped in lime with a bird whispering in his ear,
more like me.
How far sideways can it go, this urgency of translation,
and what is lost like heat from an engine
from what he is writing. I think the bird is telling how the way
is found from Pergamon to Tyre and
on to Delft to nest on the chimneys by looking at the stars
and flashing lakes.
How sometimes you can fall asleep from obligation,
sometimes from rockets and water,
sometimes the screen fidgets with a message so unlike you
from within.


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