They Will Sew the Blue Sail

A DOWNWARD MOTION | Geoffrey G. O’Brien

It must be admitted that real

Problems require fake tasks,

The door won’t stay open

On its own, a cloud respond

To any of the intended

Directions conceived for it

From below. It should come

As no surprise while hour

Presses hour into daylight

We are our being put

To work idly like stars,

No sleep per se but from

Time to time an absence

Of events. Then one day,

No, not even then.

And yet. And yet not

So much. At most, a minor

Doubt falls from the agreed-upon,

Filters through distraction

Toward notice, is “found,”

Then carried around as proof

Dooms move a few inches

Per year—life is therefore

Best looked at in passing

While horizons flare.

Things go calmer along

An edge, advancing from

The present set of streaks

Along some decaying paths

Suggesting this halflife is

A makeshift cameo

Where dusk does a brief business

And only rarely does it grow

Hotter overnight, preferring

Instead to pulse and dip

Within a patient mix

As inevitable as avoidable

Where nothing matters so

It sweetly does. That and that

Only is why I continue

To develop useless systems

I’ve already had it with,

Had it on very good authority

Then lost it, exchanged it

For this, this was my maxim

Now (meaning then), literally

The word itself when still

Some blue to its air.

Which tempts one to say

I as though a door opened

In a star and houses were clouds,

Clouds studies in the field

Of breathing bodiless,

Bodies versions of flawed dark.

That and only that is why

I pursues its antecedents

Forward in time across

Their various pulses, counting

On you and the others to provide

The reliable surprise

June rain is, then isn’t.

And specificity all

Wait, no, forget it,

But can’t go out like that

So stays on in a way

Which feels like coming back

Again, one of those houses

That seem to lean forward

When you look at their eaves,

Of which the night is full.

It goes without saying,

Then with it, that this

Habit the environment

Has and wears, spirited

Rumor of pertinence,

Is the matter of fact sign

Of being before great change.

And it’s true I’ve begun to read

Again, tend small things,

Draw the fingers of the left hand

Absently through dark water

Of another day whose stars

Are occluded, siding against men

In any issue, fighting the urge

Not to, preparing each meal

As though it were the next.

Things are terrifically,

Both the point and beside it,

To it, so much blue sky

Poured into a staid mold

Above and around, not

Quite among, not exactly

Benign or ill, just

Running an easy indifference

Almost total but also

Thinned out to where

You can nearly see through

To the nominal source. Time

Needs an antecedent

About as much as I

Need my job, which is to move

All things from their place

To their ultimate destination

Where these are identical

Though not to be confused.