Red Storm Days

Twenty-four descriptions of the hero:
Apollo with a crow on his shoulder,
Hoarder of depressing fortune cookies,
Visionary pioneer of dreaming,
Fiction for theater fashioned from skin,
Multitudinous manipulator,
He who sees how civilization ends,
Saint Julien l’Hospitalier,
Starter of fires on a freezing island,
The last one standing in line for a ride,
Admirer of nature’s elegant forms,
The sort of person who roots for Grendel,
Brightest star in the sky that can’t be seen,
A simple man with a creative soul,
A complex soul with a destructive streak,
One who holds doors open for old people,
Collector of cornhusks and citrus rinds,
Man who has walked the world’s perimeter,
Living if ever there were such a thing,
Quarterback in a dream of defenders,
Self-Portrait with Chinese Lanterns and Fruits,
Knower of things too obscure to convey,
Some forgotten landscape made into flesh,
Shopping cart piled high with frozen dinners,
Lover of love who finally finds love.

Twenty-four lines about his beloved:
She has hair like the hair of a sleeper,
Redolent in both scent and sensation,
Night closes its eyes whenever she sleeps,
Her dreams are questions for the firmament,
The millennium’s decay is her pain,
Her tears are the shape of morphine droplets,
On top of geometry she stands,
With the mind of ten thousand gardeners,
She eats breakfast and all symbols dissolve,
Religions were started for less moxie,
Her world of nations is a tale of hope,
Her heart a dazzling betrayal of time,
The first sentence in a book by a friend,
Eloquent beyond perfect description,
Only atomic glass could hold her gaze,
Her eyes that gleam with sunny sorcery,
Her voice is liquid music more than sound,
Her touch a paradise or deadly drug,
Her body demands new dimensions,
Her body filled with narcotics and peace,
Wherever she sleeps housing prices rise,
Her daily routines presage days to come,
The future ends when she says yesterday,
No words in which her beauty could be put.

Twenty-four components of his machine:
A series of heavy-duty pulleys,
Undeveloped film with photos of stars,
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge,
A map of the world covered in black ink,
The faded t-shirt of a pro sports team,
A stereo that plays Taps on a loop,
A large soda bottle filled with toothpaste,
One old typewriter on which the “I” sticks,
A microphone used in a horror film,
An embroidered Mexican tablecloth,
A Purple Heart from the Vietnam War,
Sheet music for Symphony Number One,
A chess set with only pawns and bishops,
Enough nails to secure a coffin with,
Two handfuls of mud from Hiroshima,
A disassembled human skeleton,
Two hundred and six gilded pedestals,
A vacuum-packed copy of The Vedas,
A small copy of Rodin’s Le Penseur,
Several old coins suspended in wax,
A wood table somehow made of metal,
The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe,
Sand used for a Tibetan mandala,
A plaque that reads “Fear all things equally.”

Twenty-four descriptions of the future:
Champagne after a trip in a carriage,
Discontents without civilization,
A bizarre light will unsteady the air,
Waiter, Vietnam, vitamin water,
The ink in the pen of time will run red,
Disfigured leisure to harbor regret,
An introspective rollercoaster ride,
Thereafter, hereafter, and nothing else,
An art museum’s final exhibition,
Immaculate emptiness full of blood,
A series of waves breaking forever,
The moment just after missing the bus,
Shadows becoming the things that cast them,
Animals roaming the streets of cities,
Insects emerging from holes in the dirt,
Movements and music and burning and storms,
Tournament of removing masks at night,
The last line of Samson Agonistes,
Ecstatic withdrawal from the present,
Pieces and echoes and shards and regret,
The king will die sitting on a toilet,
A dog will die curled up by a campfire,
Silence beyond silence, sound without sound,
The curtain of finality will fall.


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