April 20, 2005

I will see you soon my friend if these old directions still direct

Four poems by James Tate:


Half of the people in town passionately
want a new parking garage to be built in the
center of town, and the other half just as
passionately do not want a new parking garage.
They have argued over this issue for three
long years now. It is front-page news in
the local paper every week. The two sides
are no longer speaking to one another. The
luxurious silence is punctuated by gunfire,
but even so it beats their petty words. The
mountain lion, thought to be extinct here
for more than one hundred years, is seen
downtown on every street corner, yawning or
scratching its ears.

Frontier Guards

I'm surprised to find you here, I said.
Likewise, she said. I come here every night,
I said. I do, too, she replied. Well, I've never
seen you here, I said. And I've never
seen you either. How could that be? I said.
When we drink we become invisible, she suggested.
I thought it over. What would you like? I said.
Hold my hand and we'll disappear together.
Shazam, she said.

New Blood

A huge lizard was dicovered drinking
out of the fountain today. It was not menacing
anyone, it was just very thirsty. A small crowd
gathered and whispered to one another, as though
the lizard would understand them if they spoke
in normal voices. The lizard seemed not even
a little perturbed by their gathering. It drank
and drank, its long forked tongue was like a red
river hypnotizing the people, keeping them in a
trance-like state. "It's like a different town,"
one of them whispered. "Change is good," the
other one whispered back.


Gabriella was lying on her back naked
on the living room rug when an antique toy
airplane came buzzing out of the sky and landed
just below her breasts and taxied to the edge
of her pubis. I had been painting a wall but
immediately put down my brush. She was smiling.
"That was an incredible landing," I said.
"Perfect," she replied.
My arousal embarrassed me.
"Just for you," she said, "I'll do it again."


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