Virtual Self-Portrait Cutting into a Watermelon
for Cat Ingrid Leeches
Thumbs and knuckles all fused down into one piece of wood, the two-inch carved Buddha on my meditation altar eyes me and snickers sideways into my crumple,
leaves my fingers tingling as they spin. The instructor tells us to imagine roots growing down from the soles of our feet, down into the earth. Wonder what that's all about.
I thought this was dog-obedience school.
She tells us to imagine a small, nameless insect on our right eyelids, but all I can think of is food. Finding myself so rushed this morning to make our meeting in the forest clearing, I'd forgotten to eat breakfast. I'd even forgotten my cat, Dirt Bike. My dog is dead, and I doubted if they'd allow a cat into dog-obedience school, but I was going to try. And Dirt Bike is now missing, mainly because I let him out and then pedaled my gyrocopter through the orange vestibule into traffic since it was already past the start-time of the meeting.
So I'm standing here, eyes closed, and it dawns on me that maybe there are no dead-end streets, only streets with unlocked mothers. Houses with fake families, empty yards full of accidental swings that twitch and creak for no reason. At least a pull-toy knows which way to swivel its wooden eyes.
So I sink down onto the discarded church of the forest floor, oblivious to the sneakered feet around me in the clearing, and whimper the opening to my best cry, hoping my parents are listening. I ask myself movie-projector questions like how important it might be to swallow all the particles of my light-beam during an electrical storm. Now the dogs growl as they see Dirt Bike swing into the clearing on his gyrocopter.
The Drum Drums the Drum — Temporal Mechanics of a Gathering Planet
Suggest as I must the sexual texture of drums. Which is not to say push a mixture of sonic certainties, tonic floggings, reddened compression. Only . . . BOOM! It starts and then BOOM! It kicks me up. The next strike again your first, rubberized, a repeat . . . BOOM! And then start over. Pull your wind-up gizmo-self from underneath time. Loosen your groove. Strap in and climb the leafy garland of geriatric infancy. The drum submarines in rounded poundings, then BOISSHH, a slow cymbal, horizon splashed, brassy suspension, Zildjian bell a radial blade, the shimmering insistence of hiss. Herbie Hancock nods, taps his chuck-knuckled fingers on his desk. A girl across the room looks up, catches your eye, looks down again. Her toes pulse to your beat. This is the drum.
Out on the parking lot, the marching band in formation shaping the team's fight song, you become the drums. Pinion your teeth to the risen punctures. Inhale. Sense childhood like the scent of cooked meat, tender on the bone, though you've eaten no flesh in decades. You used to suck marrow from each broken stone. Now the vibraphone with its steely petals, smooth ingots, global rhyme. Parsed legions. Time gone barefoot, sky full of nothing like wasps—This is the drum.
Loose your volley into this circus of duration. Make your drum major flinch, divulge her sidestep caper. Her missives strung from the braids of military epaulets prove she's rented a tent, twisted a cap. Boot heels want. Drum peels make. Crunch of gravel, goatskins wake. Clarinetists rub their tubular ebony into luxurious licorice, close sound holes in warm cutout fingertips, a column of air unreasoned encloses a silence. We die into waves of sound. Beat our infinite drum. Listen— our roots finger their way down, find our bodies unboxing. This is the drum. This, the nothing.
Meanwhile, drummers stoke to explode under our complicated rivers, Herbie's in spoonfuls of electronic moonlight. His plugged-in piano keys crack inside the variable thwack of drumspeak. The teacher drowns in her challenge of nouns, chalking her talk into cursive. She picks up a ballpoint, scratches a check mark in her gatekeeper's grade-book. The bandleader's Headhunters feather down, creep between prolonged blades of grass. Paint stripes on your face. Yes. This is the drum.
Bobby Parrott was probably placed on this planet in error. This Poet's universe frequently reverses polarity, slipping his meta-cortex into the unknowable dimensions between breakfast and adulthood. In his own words, "The intentions of trees are a form of loneliness we climb like a ladder." Poet, musician, photographer, and teacher, he currently finds himself immersed in a forest-spun jacket of toy dirigibles in ascension, dreaming himself out of formlessness in the chartreuse meditation capsule called Fort Collins, Colorado, where he lives with his house plant Zebrina and his wind-up robot Nordstrom.