Flint fragments, unwanted stones
kicked to the curb by half-flat,
fat speeding tires. What does history look like
from inside a clogged pipe? What would
the American present look like
if sifted through purifying carbon filters?
The Stone Age in this age, the Flint, Michigan age.
Stone tools, cutting tools, edged blades
for removing flesh from a carcass. Smacked
against steel, spark, excite, to ignite
the old factories long smothered with vines,
re-claimed by trees. To breathe
sooty exhaust again, to hear the shift-ending
whistle again. Time doesn’t roll backward,
sediment doesn’t roll uphill.
The media might have stopped
covering it, but if I were you,
I still wouldn’t drink that water.
Folie à deux
Twittered together in sickness
and in wealth, sea salt sanctions,
sea green clouds exploding
over red rocks while a waltz
plays a onetwothree onetwothree
across the landscape—dune
primrose viola, rock daisy
violin. One two tweet. One
two tweet. Repurposed
in this landscape,
large-headed oedipal twins.
Either might accomplish
what neither of their fathers
could. Crack of thunder
two three. Acid rain,
two three, two, one….
You = need to control.
Mow the lawn,
Arithmetic of your force
in this world, a sugar-filled ass
imposed on nature = mass times
velocity of this whoopie pie
(or insert sweet tasty
yum yum of choice)
÷ by the square root of
the ∞ voice in the back
of your ∞ head, a voice∞
that every second big bang
explodes a new universe
of intrusion across
your mental landscape. Mow
the lawn. Control the earth
and when finished
kick back with a beer-ski
and look up to name the stars,
control the aeronautics
of the blackened night sky,
infinite clusters of expanding,
galaxies. Control the cosmic hum
of the universe’s vibration, its wiggle,
vibrating at a frequency
that might sound
like a humming bird’s buzzed
nectar quest, a brook
flooding in early spring.
Mow the lawn. Mow the lawn
while that voice chisels as at it chatters,
mocking you. It knows gravity is gravity
without you. Rivers
accumulate flood waters
without you. The sun burns
and illuminates the solar system
without you. And the universe – (minus,
minus, minus) you
still = the universe.
Rodger LeGrand studied writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the State University of New York at Oswego. He has taught writing at the University of the Arts, Temple University, North Carolina State University, and at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently he is a lecturer in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has five collections of poetry in print—Seeds (2017), Millions of Ravenous Creatures (2016), Hope and Compulsion (2009), Waking Up On a Sinking Boat (2008), and Various Ways of Thinking About the Universe (2005). You can reach him at www.rodgerlegrand.com.