Excerpt from 'Splash State'

Splash State

By Todd Colby

The Song Cave

Copyright © 2014 Todd Colby
All rights reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-9884643-6-0


Wing Wing, 3,
Morning Poem, 4,
Lift, 5,
The Library, 6,
Wednesday, 7,
The Age of Frost, 8,
I Feel Like My Head is Expanding, 9,
Field Guide to Plants of the North, 10,
Scram, 11,
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,
Butter, 22,
My Plans, 23,
The Bone Above the Heart, 24,
You'd Think the Sky Would Run Out of Water, 25,
Sonic Prince, 26,
Memory, 27,
Action Town, 28,
Fun, 29,
Splash State, 30,
Tonight, 31,
My Modernity, 32,
Gas Stations & Weirdos, 33,
Laugh Track, 34,
The Ship, 35,
Done, 36,
Dawn, 37,
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,
Home, 49,
Wings, 50,
My Campaign, 51,
Salute, 52,
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,
September, 62,
Washing My Face, 63,
Jigsaw, 64,
Head, 65,
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,
Endings, 81,
Josephine of Pearline, 82,
Sleep, 83,
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,


    Wing Wing

    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.

    Morning Poem

    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.

    The Library

    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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