Hosting the Stranger

Volume 4 ~ 2011

»Table of Contents

A Time of Beauty

Adam Fitzgerald

Life sits on the sill.
Death waits in the lobby.
Hope is on the chassis.
And among these claustrophobic claudifications
on a brazen sky bronze clouds go by.

Like the time you opened the rug onto a wood sea floor,
and saw a woman weeping in a dressing gown.
Why was she there? And why were we?
The sumptuous raft of our dreaming, shot through
with candle light, polluted drawers of moonlight,
festering a pig blanket against a single wind,
all the torn drapes of the interior, were cast
in a praying shadow mottled with pinpoint.

But gentlemen, the floor is drowning.
The 2:19 approaches, delicate, obtuse,
curved like the hooded eye of the mako.
Who are you, garlanded one?

In the boudoir, a cake fern grows up your blouse
and masks the fiddled starlight of your roped stare.
A memory of your gentry wishes palls the aster.
The great curtains of the dark flung into escrow,
your lips reading out the privations of music:
severed like stone-torso bodies
and gentle aggregations of rains.

Quietly, the hub of evening
parked itself in the forehead of the square
while robed men destroyed themselves in districts.
Meanwhile, distracted and compact passengers from the century
filtered through aisles of dusk, exchanging hands
and waiting for their hats to tuck them to bed.

A naked man with wreathes hunches in the foyer.


Umm Kolthoum

It was important for him to spend time
in the mellowing wind, by which he usually meant
a field blazoned with past thoughts of himself.
Those things grew, inorganically,
     wretched with a slight pulse
     and in need of a watering face.

He took to program notes and love.
Caught in steel trappings, fallowness
and phrase let loose like the Khoikhoi.
The obsessive bright skin of the orange,
     the tangible plush in pages:
     a wounded range of emblems.

Snow bricked his hours. Crosshatching
attached itself to his voided regions. Far East,
back home, a wisp upended the bric-a-brac
from the sea, a chalked table where he sat
     in the cellared room, considering
     panels of despairing white luster.

Nothing could be more aloof than change,
the odd million limbs of What Was To Come
becoming What Was Past. As if overturned,
your wrists flashed with a waltz’s dull lisp,
     alluring the dripping air,
     bare as a killed objection.

The chumming river did not reside where he lived
but folded like a cufflink of blood in the mind.
Parachutes of pistachio smoke, ringlets of tossed
guise, carapaces that sometimes are the irised eye.
     You, flustered by easy shrugs,
     clicked and switched off, renovated

away into the loam of night, building there for no
One Thing, no Special One. The patios mourned
your chic, rich look—the redolent gaze that some-
how a walker takes on, when he mistakes a block
     for a restless maze lining his sight,
     arranging calls of a ready-made life.