I See Rissa in Doodles and Fingernails

Josh Cook

There is the chance that we have long since passed the turning point and now 
there is only one road, the one we’re on, and it’s one way to the destruction whose stones
           we tossed ourselves
and whose spears that pierce our ribs were sharpened by our greatest ideas.
Do we each have that point, long past our awareness and after which no action is truly
and at that point is always beyond our reach to change.
And if I’m sitting here thinking about finishing that bottle because my computer crashed.
(powerless powerless powerless)
Not knowing what to say about change
Getting damn near some real poverty
Sweating in the heat cause I’m still fat and often unattractive
Looking to my hands as if blisters were growing from idleness
Feeling like each idea is surrounded by a world of doors that I can’t open because they
          are only doors in metaphor and metaphor is a limping animal, weak and

I am of the vulgar lot, primarily arrogance
Built of scraps of collages of great works poorly represented in their representation Taking beach sand tossing it in the air and shouting, “Look at this and how I did it
        differently from everybody.”
And then I sulk away as ambiguous as when I started my relaxing day
at the beach
It sounds like the clicking of cans falling down stairs
All are radical reinterpretations of-the moment when you give in to making a decision
           and get out of bed in the morning
And I am the total of the DVD collections of everyone who said “radical reinterpretation”
           in the last six months
I am divided into parts that people pretend to care about
These parts fail and are space, space
Doors that are just frames
Urban buildings without streets between
Explanations you don’t believe when you give them
Taunts of immaturity to others
I am the bird you told your children was a heron, even though you didn’t know what
           the fuck you were looking at.

You water a plant
That is an answer to a question
People who stay in bathrobes is another answer to a question
Digressions lead to bake sales where field trips are funded
Bases are built because gravity demands you stand on something.
Struggles all have food at the end
When everything pauses because nothing is going on
I see Rissa
There is a chance I’ve gotten this all wrong
I am an old man waiting to be old
Who sees Rissa

Another answer starts on your porch
When you’re just sitting there
Cars go by
People go by
You see ants and flies;
Pets, birds, weather
And things are OK
Because nothing you can imagine can prevent you from eating tonight
And you don’t really need to explain anything
You can get into that state you think old people are in
When all the questions get answered with, “well, life.”
And you move on to dinner time and prescriptions and other stuff you put in your mouth
And it gets so comfortable and feels so natural
That you drift off
To where you’re going to winter this year
How much longer you can still drive
And why all of a sudden you feel so lonely just wishing a neighbor or a friend will walk
          by and sit down next to you for a chat
Joy comes from children playing in sight
Everything is consistent like oatmeal
In the morning
Every morning

By the end of-the day you feel like a doodle in a middle school math notebook
You are constant activity
You came from somewhere that matters
You express something
And you are just taking up space
At the end of the next day you feel like a fingernail clipping carefully collected and kept
            out of the carpet
You are proof of life
You are a part of being
You are necessary for survival
And your length will be replaced in a day or two
Tonight dream of weapons that strike no one actors in drama totally by themselves.
           fantastic worlds of assured evil, the crevices of streams discovered in childhood,
           landscapes from porches that change only as mother’s voices do.
I will see Rissa when I sleep.