Daniel Bouchard

A PAVEMENT ONTOLOGY

 

Stir.
Black.
Loam in a fist-sized pot.
The bread is warm
and lovely. A thin straw
swirls and leans on
a ceramic rim. Traffic waves. A throat
pulse, Pennsylvania
morning, October in your
room that was months ago.
Sandpiper tag after. Moonrise
over a black bay.
A new summer means
a new address. I saw you
at a streetcar stop this morning.
Rainy days and Mondays, etc.
There are no birds in Boston
like on the coast of Rhode Island .
I wanted to believe it was you.
I think little of highways,
of Pennsylvania roads.
Most of it I remember. Your hair,
your hands, the fact you couldn't run well.
You look so pretty in a dress.
And softly said 'Dear heart how like you this?'

To walk out from the building
the morning after
an intense rainstorm and discover
a car crushed by a last-century tree
at a Philadelphia intersection. Your skin
is warm and lovely. This
was all farmland once.

 

 

LATE WINTER

 

In late winter Thoreau
managed only purple finch
upon the page.
Color in fusion
configures a glimpse
or glare in streetcar window.

Sidewalks creep back over
the road (a kind of civic moss).
Nightclub avenue, steel gate
storefronts; the place changes again.
Next to model streetscapes,
a wide river
on photo grid precision.
Forty years ago progress meant
wider streets downtown.

Light drizzle soaks the square,
darkens mineral bits of pavement
and the sea brine smells like life itself.
Clipped steps of hurried people. A gait
of sanguine insanity they look
so unsettled in so natural an act.
Streetcars race beside outbound traffic
and a hundred red lights brighten in sync.

 

 

A LEXICON IS PART OF DECLARATIVE MEMORY

 

A wildflower
The lily past
Days of anemone yore

Past bloom of your asphodel
Buttercup days of old
Days past of old lily in the valley

Days grace gone cranes bill by
Old flower desire of butterfly bygone days
The golden old tulip days

Heyday roses, geranium gorgeousness,
auld lang syne begonia, marigold
antiquity, remote nasturtium

Peacock garden age
Windflower gloss
Magnificence

 

 

AN INDOCTRINATION INTO THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

 

Closed windows of parked cars glare
Beneath airborne, metallic, peripheral wings
Fine light flashes in rapid synapse, a moment ago
There, a tiny white dot of seabird on the water.
Under iceberg clouds set free in summer
The flashes pass like a silent pack
of firecrackers on blacktop lot, a twenty-thousand foot drop
Where scale increases on this weekday afternoon.
No cars now but a young woman with a camera
To her eyes, what eyes I think, she aims into the
Bushes maybe at birds with a flush of indigo or scarlet
Brushed wings. Not scarlet now but cranberry,
Russet and dark heavy green, the terrain
Between thin lines of gray road etched along the coast,
Purple sea, its sand lipped shore, steep grade,
Surface wrinkled like a skin susceptible to puncture.