She’s looking cross-eyed today, as she arranges tea cups on the counter in the shape of Australia. Picking up the one where Melbourne might be, she smashes it to the floor and Australia is now down on tourism by 17%. I try to hold her, if indeed you can hold a country this vast and fragile, but her heart I can tell is in Japan. Later, I pull open the medicine cabinet, and her broken parts are all there in the shape of assorted pills, round or rectangular, stacked like incongruous memories, not touched since we made our last treaty. If I were a true colonist, I would toss each one in the garbage and she would fluctuate between East and West. But today, I’m putting Australia back together.
China was once a huge beast with beautiful wings & heavy heavy feet. China wanted to make friends with all the animals in the forest, but the zebras got suspicious that China could perform aerial attacks & the green monkeys spread rumors that China was a little slow on the ground or that it had ADD when ambushed. Then the lions attacked & the white tigers & the giraffes who downloaded iPod alligator tunes. China ate every animal in the forest. China grew a big belly, burped from indigestion.
China died belly up
Laos is sitting in the corner. Laos won’t take off her Halloween dragon mask.
Laos is throwing candy wrappers on the floor. Fuck you, says Laos, pick them up.
Laos is acting like the spoiled brat you were yesterday & the day before. If you talk to Laos very softly & tell her that mom doesn’t have favorites, Laos will sense your double-track lies, sleek as ballerina slippers, & will be in your face.
In the forest, the forest, the forest of tall trees and ferns, der wald der hohen bäume, I watch Germany bend down and pick the dry petals of poisonous plants. Das junge, das junge Mädchen. The girl, the girl and the sun above, the color of pus that bleeds across the sky and the love I feel is a mushroom that can’t be eaten, Germany, the girl, I can’t catch up, das junge, and the fronds of the tall trees hover over us like floating uncles when they were alive, and the forest is a music box of silence and rolling hills and where is Germany going? She is going is going to the waterfall, the girl the girl das junge Mädchen, is going is going, gehen, gehen, das gehen. Germany is going to the waterfall and the man with the long hat and coattails is following is following. The girl the girl is going to fall into the river to sleep to sleep and the man is the man from our nightmares, the girl is going to fall into the river to sleep to forget the man, the man in her dreams, my dreams, or the ground will open up like a nightmare and swallow us. Der grund öffnet wie ein Albtraum, der grund, der grund. The girl the girl is going is going is gone, gehen. das gehen. gegangen. I will follow I will fall will fall into the river where we will lie as one, and the memory of our mothers’ voices are a lazy lullaby, as a, as a, and the man the man the man with obscene hands and disfigured intent the man the man is us.
In a train station of neglectful commuters. In a room where Rhode Island’s lies about fidelity fit like a condom. Under the ugly rain that erases names. On the day when you tore up your report card, and your mother chased you down blocks of forever. Who got saved? In a Times Square of cool blue street walkers. In the crowd of dust. In the longing of Jesus. Under the tables of corporate compliance meetings. In the eyes of phantom men who mooch off your kind milk. In an old tenement house in the Bronx, style: pre-war. On the street, after you told him no, you have visions of Rhode Island being hit by a car. On the last page, a blank one, of a fairy tale book. In the chill of his car, after Rhode Island admits to molesting your little sister. The moment you discovered your breasts, their wholesale price in markdown, under the teacher’s chalky hands. On the night you noticed you were bleeding not-red. In the dream of roses and Mary Magdalene. In the grey fog of your own breath in someone else’s mirror.
The sun setting while we talk. The smell of buffalo meat touching my nostrils. I could blow up this mountain with two-hundred pounds of Triple-Fine. The way I feel. The evening chill. And we are nowhere closer than yesterday. Back in Tulsa, you said your name was Idaho. The pack horses are still and satiated. Fifty yards from a pinion tree. I love you in pine needles and northeasterly winds. A quart of grain for your true thoughts. How old are you? You wear your quiet lust like a green-hide moccasin. With a Lancaster, I could shoot a jackrabbit from fifty yards. The night will be a coat of grizzly. Tomorrow morning, we’ll slip into the tall grass. Pasquale’s bounty lies directly under a star. But you must hand over sunshine, dripping. Back in Cheyenne you said your name was Alabama. On dry trails, you make me dusty and hot. I love a woman who can cook.
Mumbai is my adopted child. Mumbai is running in the fields with arms like a star. The sky is a blue sari that covers our thoughts. Mumbai has a one crooked eye to the past. She never speaks about the men who sold the body parts of dead children. I will build a village around Mumbai. Nothing will touch her but love.