Excerpt from 'Splash State'
By Todd Colby
The Song Cave
All rights reserved.
Wing Wing, 3,
Morning Poem, 4,
The Library, 6,
The Age of Frost, 8,
I Feel Like My Head is Expanding, 9,
Field Guide to Plants of the North, 10,
Silver Lime, 12,
The Clothing of My Death, 13,
Love Poem, 14,
Poem from Paris, 15,
Sit Still, 16,
Simple Times, 17,
Team Hand, 18,
Slow Joy, 19,
Violet Hush, 20,
The Secret Hours, 21,
My Plans, 23,
The Bone Above the Heart, 24,
You'd Think the Sky Would Run Out of Water, 25,
Sonic Prince, 26,
Action Town, 28,
Splash State, 30,
My Modernity, 32,
Gas Stations & Weirdos, 33,
Laugh Track, 34,
The Ship, 35,
Electric Pony Light, 38,
Agency of Kisses, 39,
Hallelujah Anyway, 40,
Poem for Show, 41,
Glinty Blue, 42,
Soothing Poem, 43,
Who Let You Go?, 44,
Orchid Enthusiast, 45,
Let Us Know You're Here, 46,
My Campaign, 51,
Poem for Fridays, 53,
Electric Blanket, 54,
How to Look Like Everything is Okay in Photographs, 55,
My Dream of Everything, 56,
Hazy Evening, 58,
All Time Favorites, 59,
Look Out There, 60,
Someone Would Like to See You, 61,
Washing My Face, 63,
Can You Feel It?, 66,
In a Nutshell, 67,
Monsoonal Surge, 68,
Go! Team!, 69,
Facing the Music, 70,
Here You Go, 71,
New Practice, 72,
Storm Kings, 75,
Soothing Poem, 77,
For Time & Being, 79,
Liquid Smoke, 80,
Josephine of Pearline, 82,
Numb Gallop, 84,
In Any Case, 85,
A Plausible Miracle, 86,
Slumber Party, 87,
Who Let You Go?, 88,
Old Home, 89,
People Gift, 90,
A Year, 91,
It takes all week to live a week.
There aren't any shortcuts. In today's
economy of needs, we're all poor and vaguely autistic,
it makes you feel zonked like grape juice
poured over a balcony: fucked.
I'm disguised as you, but that hasn't stopped me
from loving you. Show me something perfect
to talk about. I need a hot topic.
My lips are blue. The wind
is actually beating the shit
out of me as I plop on the wonder.
Each day of the week they
can take that away from me.
I could have you, need you, break with you.
I could spend hours with you; eating pieces
of you and making the world change
with you, be humble with you,
and then cradle you whole, eating
from you as the birds eat crusts of bread
around you, wanting to eat from you too.
If ever there was a way to yield to it, I would.
I would grow mellow and sure with it, I would.
Solemn as these days breed stillness, I would. I would
I would. All of it, I would.
Take me, I will let you. And I would. Lift your arms
in the air, and wave them above your head. I would.
Out here in the urban wilds
the wind goes "whoosh" through buildings,
while the sun shatters over everything
at severe angles. The vacant lot of brown grass sways
a syrupy dance, undulating like hips
during a fuck. Heavy with rust, all the cars
creak over the dusty highway.
We drink snow coffee and pace
around our aluminum shed,
glancing at our reflections in
oily puddles to determine the effects
of the environment on our rush
through time. Gravity plays no
small part when we drop things.
In fact, it is because of gravity
that a baby can rest on a knee
without floating away.
By nightfall, the city is dark,
people stumble over curbs and cuss,
brushing themselves off, and breathing
through rags dipped in vetiver
to disguise the smell of the dark.
In the morning, we'll eat the things
that are least covered with gray dust,
stopping between bites to blow dead skin
from the back of our hands.
I have this fear that I might die in a library,
or get punched in a library, or get
my ass totally kicked in a library,
or seduced in a library,
seduced, and then beaten up
in a library and then taken out
of the library on a stretcher;
or that I'll forget how to spell "library,"
when I'm sitting in a library, writing
a note to you that begins,
"I am writing this to you from ..."
Wednesday is such an elegant and refined word,
with a regal d followed by a soothing n. Wednesday,
so serious and stout, yet elegant and refined.
Wednesday is transparent, yet bold and playfully midweek.
Wednesday, is also known as, "hump day."
Wednesday is the name of a woman whose
parents know the playful solidity of the day,
and how delightful those qualities are in a woman's
name or character. Wednesday is the link
between early week and midweek. Wednesday
is not a holiday, but more of a working
day. Wednesday is a point in the middle of the week
when sleeves are rolled up and unfinished work from early
in the week with days that have dreaded names like,
"Monday" or "Tuesday" are finished up.
Wednesday nudges us to conclusions,
and leads us to tempered resolutions.
It is a day of mild atonement, a day of gentle reconciliation
between early and late week.
It is a day that unfolds gracefully,
a day we are usually glad to see.
So stalwart and sweet, Wednesday is reality
tempered with perfection.
Oh, Wednesday, thank you for getting here.
The Age of Frost
This is the first day of the age of frost
when people's movements are coordinated
and not batty and extreme, or motivated
by the desire to eat or consume.
All around the city, people are intent
on calibrating their mood swings with the tender
gestures of cave animals coming into the daylight
with a curious cock to their heads.
People move into the flattering light
and get better at being robust and un-kinked by doubt.
They have all the things they need
to arrange their days in dark work shirts, raw denim,
canvas day packs, and the like. They use laces
on their shoes that signify a certain dynamic
way of navigating through this most
mysterious age of frost. These days
have come upon us with a real force. Soon the people
will cast spells, dig deep, and sleep with people
next to them on thin woven sheets. You can expect
me to arrive on that day with a valid word for your list
here, in this age of frost.
I Feel Like My Head is Expanding
I want to talk to you about your vowels,
and how I want them spoken to my chest
directly from your mouth: warm air.
You might get looped into forgiving me.
Your back might get strained by the wild force
of your heaving as you forgive. Your days are no longer leaden
and fatigued. You mount a stallion and feel the spurs
under your new jacket. Dawn sprays chunky light
into the courtyard, and then it sparkles puppy yellow
and personalized, briefly. I manipulate space
to help the earth roll over or around. By walking
faster I make it revolve slower. Slowing time,
I will visit the weather with bare legs and think
of you as I peer over the river to Manhattan. Remember
how you sped along, happy with your thoughts,
impossibly so? See that brazen silver building sending
a flash of light over to Brooklyn? I'll snap a photo
of it and send it to you.
Excerpted from Splash State by Todd Colby. Copyright © 2014 Todd Colby. Excerpted by permission of The Song Cave.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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