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BlazeVOX [books]
Cleaning the Mirror
by Joel Chace
(BlazeVOX , 2008)


i like the little rocket ships 
they satisfy something in me.  they are hopeful.  they believe they are going higher.  
i heard a little song in a dream that went like this:
      look at all the moonlight faces
      moving out of lonely places
i don't know who was singing.  might have been me. 
i don't feel that i'm getting ready for death
though i should be.
perhaps that's all there is to it. 
i am involved in oilcloth, flax linen, redundancies.
i envision the emergency room attendants in fin de siecle costume. fin de which siecle?
the hebrides is not a disease.  the small soaps will take care of it.
a few snowflakes is nothing.  something beautiful, but nothing at all.
i envision his farm with underground tunnels.  the pigs sleep there
but only near the exits.
i understand her wiliness, and she tells good stories.  she almost got arrested in new york
for almost buying an illegal handbag.
these things happen. 
her index of affection is high.  perhaps she read today
in the new york times
that a cache of civil defense all-purpose survival crackers
was found deep inside the brooklyn bridge
a leftover from the fifties
which is now fifty years ago.
of course someone had to taste them and remark them “dry.” 
in the same newspaper a detailed account
of  various forgeries.  no one knows
which will is real (who will inherit the earth) or whether
the person who seems to have signed these documents
had a right to. 
it was early in the morning and there was surprising weather. 
the phone rang.
it was the woman from the flower shop in the dream who said
“i want to send you money to buy yourself a dress.”
this could not be permitted, and yet it was.  the money sat
in her bank account for years.  she considered it at the very same time
she considered not starting a line with a preposition.
the apple blossoms were coming
which meant there would be waxwings.  she tried to forget
about the new dress. 
there were more things in the plus category but she did not write them down.
she wanted to be very careful.
she was particular about which color blue. 
but what does your graphologist say?
she looked at the sky and considered all the options:
“it doesn't make me crazy but
it doesn't turn me on.” 

my trip to iceland 
people like you i'm not sure why 
today is like getting on one of those automatic conveyor-belt trains in an airport
where all the stations look exactly the same and you can't tell if you're coming or going
one time in newark i rode the thing several times around before getting oriented
and no one could help me as they were all likewise confused 
we kept him in a sunny terrarium because he couldn't swim
pebbles the turtle boy
who usually walked backwards because his feet were floppy 
people put up with you kindly
even when you're looking over their shoulders
but they shouldn't do that 
it will not improve your character 
when i got on the ship there was trouble in the hold
a man with an orange shirt was smoking dope with the deckhands
people with wide straw hats were drinking martinis almost everywhere
i was anxious and sent turtle boy a postcard
but was worried that it wouldn't be mailed till the ship docked in Iceland
five years from now 
by that time pebbles might be all grown up 
on the ship there are no arrangements for library usage
or etch-a-sketch meditations
horrendously people throw sweaters over their shoulders
as if they are in old movies
and have no taste
they lounge in deckchairs with their white limbs lolling
using expressions like "in the offing" and
"on the same page" 
i say they are "all a-twitter"
and probably they won't change 

did you die before the end of the world
and did you die by bomb? 
if otherwise, kindly tell us
how you died
because we are hurtling toward death
with very few maps to guide us
the dead are waiting
for us to catch up 
i was hitchhiking, i was
dreaming of the pearl
whether you believe it or not she said
whether you believe 
whether you wear the ring or bracelet
or keep the pearl in your head 
and then she was gone, disappearing down
an infinite staircase
where i refused to follow 
in the field a palomino fox
paler than we’d imagined, practically
floating on air she was so pale
last season’s hibiscus
stranded in the lanai
and pallbearers unexpectedly requested
to pick up the slack
to tote their passive burden 
“life,” she said
“got that outta my system”
she had married a cryptozoologist
who considered her extinct and presented her
with a miner’s light
to wear on her easter hat
to cover all contingencies
he said “i was born with a head outside my heart,
and cannot correct it” 
and she?
she had been rushed through childhood 
she certainly wasn’t in any hurry now 






three poems


diane wald