Eleni Sikelianos



This Industrial Room or Day
(Day — Night / Here — Out)


A soft fleece wigs the aspen
      A velveteen shade lovingly staffs the grasses
Clouds do dark work upon rocks
      Hussy buds     totally naked     flirt & fidget on plums                    

                                                                     Huddled are dumb
houses licked by sidewalks —  If I stepped
off and through or across, I would bump
into physics   I guess   I have
no idea who lives here               The ante meridiem sun

is thugging
it up over the tiny seed-sized inhabitants.             Hands become handsome

boats in this talkative
city of aerie ropes where the sun now
tunnels and pockets emblems
of whatever river exists here.     They call this
precipitation.    City of sleepy sleepy
No eye-candy or imports                                    And not a statue
to be found that doesn’t make some sound or thrum when
breezes ruffle against stone                                           

                       On the other side
of the country, a light ataractic rain falls inside the White
House, a thunderstorm of stripped
thought                         Throaty

calls of car engines came in this
afternoon, back
from their southern
migration, choking
on cauterant air                        

            A fire might be alarmed by a red
box bivouacked on the wall in this
                        smaller square (they call this a "room") in bigger squares of slavish
            things.  A rat can chew
through concrete and steel.        So why
            can’t these windows
open into sipping air?        Bones become
concrete, under duress.  I'd like to
            pirate myself out                        perform surgery
            on a town —
            lift off the roofs, stitch them back, rearranging
            streets, arteries, veins                           

                                                               Now the palest


            legs of the most

earthly woman ever
to wear socks have
just sliced past the unforeseen and deepest green
juniper                                                              Listen: sparrows

sweetly racketeering, crashing
into trees, wingy des-
peradoes.                      A spider web threads

through sunlight.            You can hear the wheels before you see them: small
bike tires kissing each brick.                               Thunderous
noise of Human Walking:           keys clank                     feet creak, etc.  and then thought
working quietly inside the house of the skull, coordinating muscle which engages bone,
then worrying about [roadside bombs, coffee] etc

            A leaf scuds across concrete, its
            brittle sails coughing.

            The FBI agent steps out of the room, takes a call.

                                                                                    There is
a park in this city, but it is not intersected by a river; there is a zoo
but I have not seen it; there is a garden, but I have not been there;  I do not know
if the old men sit on benches under lamplight at night; if young ones
seek lovers in the deep growth at the park’s heart.         This big square where we find ourselves

is flat & boxed
then humped & ragged
to the north; there are huge mountains rising
up that give way to
dust & sand.  There are soldiers hiding
under a hill with secret signals, a red button and
weapons.          To the south, the after-hours
ghosts haunt the Wal-Mart
aisles.                           In evening's hedging light surely

there is a valley and there are grasses, a lot
of democrats, republicans                       I don't know how to think of it
without mentioning the Mississippi          the malfeasant
president           which adjusts the shapes of this
place & wings us
accordingly                               The state

line wavers under the
pressure of thought &
hardens under politics, squiggly
ghost child gone
colorful and bad        .

            And so stare decisis enters our common     
     tongue          around the bones of history          language
            ossifies                 grows brittle with its
objects & thoughts                                 Let the flesh
     loosen, fall
            off                                            & I will awake in a coffin-sized
                                                            shell, outer
                                                            body gone mute
                                                            inner life rioting like a murder of crows



What rolls toward sleep
in nychtitropic precision
as we ourselves roll toward the dark
& the leaves & the plants
take up new positions
for midnight — How might
this mirror the shapes a
sky or constellation makes
as it winks in the mind
of a beholder? Workers tracking
the days on Mars are losing
sleep.  On this wall are switches
that determine how light or how
dark is our night  — all our tropic
bodies move toward the light.     We'll make   a bed

in this city on which our helixes
will rise and bend and I will not want

to change this day
& its sad contained it's   still its
I mean, there is rain.