The Grand Complication
Vol. 1: The Temple
Thebes’ double family parenting sins:
two daughters, sons. Their complete
memories make my incomplete sight
strong, so inward eyes probed
sing chasms Oedipus’ scabs invent.
Spring’s dark rain gods pierce
darker winter’s imagination. Rivers overflow
moving rivers the frozen ground
cannot absorb. So too Tisiphone,
Medusa’s ugly sister, seeds evil.
Patriarchal Oedipus is in decline.
No more mistaken death, unions.
Now every act is understood,
destiny is replaced by reason.
Brothers alternate statecraft’s yearly obedience.
But Eteocles in power weeps,
sick with knowledge of responsibility
unenforceable by incestuous Oedipal signature.
No father’s brother rules easily,
a king needs a sphinx.
Myth invented war, reason steals
from myth, doubling its evil.
Incomplete power hates incomplete power
so Eteocles blames his brother
for his own failed legislation.
What else can he do?
The only unity possible: blame.
Eteocles makes public private hatred,
his family drama goes national,
Polynices will be forever exiled.
Wandering Polynices sees Phoebus blink,
Diana blossom and hush, then
dart and roll to cover
earth in hard won dream.
But twilight rays double back.
Diana watches mixed pictures mean
nothing. Images left are broken,
their changing form molded useless.
Darkness within, darkness without but
my breath makes Polynices’ sound.
Blind Polynices remembers his father.
He ignores the armed shadows.
Fire. He sees a temple.
It is old, unused, empty.
Straw bed in the corner.
Suddenly darkness touches two bodies
with weary urgency as Tydeus,
small but strong and wet
with travel conforms his body.
New brothers share a dream.
Even the night reveals hollies
framing a central Texas window
that contains a couple’s crescendo.
William revolves and Marion’s delight
appears healthy blush above white.
Now their distance matches yours
and mine. May the cure
come from these various follies.
Kohlrabi meows and Marion lifts
herself up. Checks phone, emails.
“I think I’m gonna bail.”
“Ok.” “Wanna smoke some weed?”
Grabs joint, phone, checks feed.
“No thanks.” Break-up in degrees.
“Back after work with Chinese?”
“Nah, I’m covering a shift.”
She walks to Phil’s bar,
he splits to the Videoland
staffed by kids in bands.
“Meet after at The Complex?”
His apartment, the usual suspects.
“K, but I’m gonna be pissy.”
“What better fix than whisky?”
“Fucking Julia, Ms. Future Filmstar.”
Marion puts in her headphones
and chooses songs by mood.
Gloom: Micachu, Chopped and Screwed.
Understands she’ll never kiss him
browsing her library’s menu system.
She plays Hounds of Love
and then Hand in Glove.
Feel better playlist: LedZep Clones.
William misunderstands loss in variance.
A few minutes of Bongripper,
Dr. John, the Night Tripper.
Frank Sinatra’s No One Cares,
The Misfits, Where Eagles Dare.
Then Trad, Gras, och Stenar,
Cars, Fast Car, Big Star.
Each random song is luxuriant.
William walks by the converted warehouses.
Half open door welcomes bugs to the rehearsal.
Two breaths hold as Garcia stops, blocks above them.
Upstage Gilberto and Jesse unroll green turf,
cover aging red of painted stage. It is warm.
The director speaks: “Alright! The grownups have left
so you can begin to make lazy eye contact.
You are each internally satisfied, worried
about your lover, friend, so offer up your own dream.
Double yourself for yourself and for your selves.”
Each of the four lovers’ laughs at the fifth loosens
the others. But they are quickly professional.
Young bodies diffuse vibration as they settle
into places. Then a slight quiet, a secret nod.
They grope to the scene’s present interpretation.
Jesse touches Gilberto’s wrist. They drop their work
to watch. The voices carry forwards and remain
unheard. What can be seen in the body’s attempt?
If it is not yet joined to distinction how can
descriptive song be well crafted? Moving thought moves.
Rehearsal presents truth in successive glamours.
We turn towards actors’ bodies. Two become four
through attention and in a fifth intentions fuse
currents. Integrity hides in encrusted lamps
whose present surface presents an object’s present:
twinkling presence unified in space performed.
From behind, Deray’s concrete shadow anchors
in diagonal slash the plump silent distance
to the doubled Chelsea, hand to knee, opposite
foot extended in dancer’s flat. The eye connects
her pointedness to her shoulder’s pink joint release,
for Julia’s fond hand unites attraction’s twin
and Julia’s left ear puckered by invisible
smile seen under right eye lifted into right brow
fulfills Kieron, upright, leaning away. Pleasure.
Now see the V reversed through Garcia’s brown eyes
become an M, then two I’s. He stops them.
“Don’t separate so totally. These loves are paired.
The marriages are meant democratically-
a slow dispersal of individual choice.”
He watches them try and fail again. “K, you’ve pulled
in too far but this…” points, Deray’s hand, pocket. “How?”
The actor’s reduction and reversal contains
no arch cynicism in its repetition.
How does Deray know vertical time? Become one.
And in this oneness gestures made strange makes sense.
Hermetic dualists say action joins intention
but in thinking gestures action’s thought embodies.
Deray’s body making now made makes Deray join
three or four or five (more?) instrumental himselves.
Unity does not number a series of states
but states numerous unities hiding from time.
Expression reveals and binds time to history
so the mind, dumb unextended protuberance,
is allowed an imaginative performance.
So myth is made from the body’s jealous mind. Siblings
forever joined each performing still thought we see
moving, moved by a world filled with other objects
inlaid with the same jewels. Why does Deray put his
hand in his pocket and turn his shoulder away?
All the systems we sit for make artists make now
time new time. Children outside my window given
meaning by me are given meaning where they come
from, where they go. It never ends. So this poem.
I cannot help birthing twins myself, space and time.
But these two twins, body and mind and space and time,
born in spring, give me enough reason to behold
and held might quiet their quaternal confusion.
So go the four lovers only known in tandem.
We cannot complete them yet. Are two ready at hand?
As much as the two stage hands want it (to be them)
four hands already compromise beneath the stage.
Leave future lovers behind for the present love;
unity is only seen in number even
if under number is always another one.
But who is under who? Which bottom is bottom?
We discover the play where play is most real.
An ass in the hand of the king. Bottom feeling
Oberon’s bald crown. Two released from rehearsal
release. What metaphor will be found here? Join me.
So much fucking begins…
…Bottom’s head is elsewhere,
concrete and distant as the moving May light stains
held by no form in the masterwork held in wide
focus inform the book. Earlier, couch, reading
Bresson, donkey master, past consciousness present.
Imagine I am all face. Two mobile eyes in
mobile head, on a mobile body. An actor
uncertain like uncertain color made from two
tones superimposed. A film bonds persons to each
other, and to objects, by looks. Not artful, agile.
Actor: It’s not me you are seeing and hearing,
it’s the other man. But being unable to
be wholly the other, he is not that other.
Himself withdrawn. The little he lets escape, take
only what suits you. Don’t run after poetry.
The banqueting house. The long house. The disguising
house. Hung with birch and ivy. Garnished with bushels
of roses and honeysuckles from royal gardens.
The chamber. The wardrobe of robes. The removing
wardrobe of beds. No more surface. Instead surfaces,
seized with the desire of pleasing. To bend his head
gracefully to one side, to drop over his eyes,
almond shaped black deep lids whose lashes, long and bent,
make a brown line over his cheek, to devise tones
that infuse subtle charms into common phrases.
Twenty one masks. A new cloth of gold, black, and white.
Murrey satin made for a queen. Reading, fucking
knights of the body of earth’s ever still movement
mouth each other’s speech so their movement unites
air and matter long thought other now together.
An infinite progression of the trapped, hunted.
Into the breath of related matter is forced
the sensations of romance, collection, and structure.
The breadth where nothing else had. Mint, pea shoots, roe with lime.
See all of this at a glance, desire/body/mind.
As Bottom finishes rehearsal repeats.
He hears the words but cannot see their containers.
“These things seem small and undistinguishable, like
far off mountains turned into clouds. Methinks I see
things with parted eye, everything seems double.”
“And I have Demetrius like a jewel, mine own,
and not mine own. Are you sure that we are awake?”
“It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream.” “He did
bid us follow to the temple.” “We are awake.”
Follow him. By the way, let us recount our dreams.”