charles tarlton

ALLUSORY

CARMODY: You have your one good idea, for example, to make a short movie about an old French woman looking out her door. Do you just stop there? Why not another one where a man looks out, or one where a woman sticks her head in?

BLIGHT: Well, yes, and so on.

~

If you knew the routes and schedules well enough, you could buy an Oyster pass and see every street, row, arch, arcade, square, crescent, court, mews, and woods of London. Ride each bus to the end of the line and back, switch over, grab a 17 or a 91 and climb to the upper seats. Cross the Thames, thread the narrow byways of Soho, or shade your eyes against the glitter of a Regent or Bond Street.

his proclivities
were fatherly, loved discipline
but lost his temper
punishing and turned switches
on bare legs, coat hangers

between empty tracks
that reached on parallels
to infinity
I heard his mother calling
and calling and yet calling

I lived in a town
where the days were dry and hot
in a time before
air conditioning came along
and we sweated ourselves to sleep

We were about to catch the Eurostar for Paris. I had second thoughts about traveling at 186 miles per hour and crossing under the English Channel through a tunnel, but the tickets were bought and the reservations made and maybe there will be a restaurant car or maybe I could pretend to sleep. Anyway, I have always loved trains.

memory runs into
a stone wall of what I need
just now, so I lie
say I used to be taller
and had so many more friends

could a little boy
the one who really first
experienced church
really have grasped it all
through such experienced eyes

such venality
reflecting priestly pique
at slow old ladies
or voracity, how he
hurried to get to breakfast

Suppose all the writers up to now had fully covered everything, said all there was to say. And, further suppose you come along, doomed to re-experience all that they had known, except for this–you had to know much of it through the lens of their writings. The question here is this: do you apply your ironies to your own experiences or to those writings?

if I stood beside
the child I was now that I
am an ancient man
would I understand garbled
snatches of baby talk

could any man speak
children, see through their eyes
feel glandless passions
and report back to the world
what the rest of us forgot

I could see then just
how it had to have been, I know
things now make that so
remember tastes I can no
longer taste, vanished lightness

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