Message from the Future
for Bill Corbett
In Noguchi's stone-skinned box
an aggressively quiet librarian
brings me a folder
containing a sheaf of broadsides
against the war in Vietnam—
beside me, a blonde in saffron pumps
pores over something in Victorian script,
the letters of a dead man. In fact,
the place is lousy with the dead,
Picabia portrait of Stein staring out
at brittle books splayed on foam-rubber
cradles from oblivion.
Alabaster Xs and Os in the courtyard,
you surprise me at C, "Nostalgia
for the Future;" I do the math longhand
with the pencil Quiet has afforded me:
2013 – 1968 & the old grammar school sum line,
just like on the cover of my book,
0s and 1s brutally slashed—45 years—
longer than my own life. I am here
in the goddamn future. There is autumn in my heart
there are spectacles on my nose,
you write, with the nation at war.
It still is.
I have really come here for Fanny Howe's
Amerindian Coastline Poem,
another librarian scolds me for holding it
in my lap instead of on the grey foam cradle,
"We must save the spine, " she says as hot tears
roll inexplicably down my cheeks, invoked—
People who cry together can't
hear each other, Fanny writes in 1975.
I am three.
I fold the chapbook back into its beige shroud,
got to run to meet Scott at Anna Liffey's
for Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. v. Crystal Palace.
Perfect May day outside,
first spring in Connecticut since 1990,
Alison Mosshart in my headphones
trills, "Time ain't gonna cure you, honey,
Time don't give a shit."
At Anna Liffey's, Palace doesn't score
until Wilfried Zaha heads it in the middle
of the second half; then they just start
hunkering down, "Time is on their side,"
quips the commentator & Zaha scores
again at 88 minutes in; two to nil, Crystal Palace.
Camera pans to a Brighton fan, maybe seven
years old weeping in the stands.
"He's going to get beat up at school," Scott says.
Zaha, on loan from Manchester United to finish
out the Palace season to go there in the fall
& play for the enemy. I'll still be here
in New Haven, you will be in Brooklyn,
as Tu Fu says, The future
Slips imperceptibly away.
Who can say what the years will bring?
MARK LAMOUREUX lives in New Haven, CT, where he edits Cy Gist Press. He is the author of three full-length collections: 29 Cheeseburgers + 39 Years, Pressed Wafer, 2013), Spectre (Black Radish, 2010) and Astrometry Organon (BlazeVOX, 2008).