Tom Clark
from The Spell, a poetic novel forthcoming
from Black Sparrow Press, Spring 2000

The Hero Sacks Out At the Millennium Motel

Mysterious is the force that drives
arrogance to call down fate
as if stars fell on the Crazy Lakes
for a reason no one ever considered.
This is the parking lot beyond the blacktop route,
this is the bad translation that loses the meaning,
this is the chasm across which heroes
in their uncertain search must glide
as sure as sleepwalkers
out onto the narrow path of legend,
eager to commit to earth
the dark transgression which will
demand its dark expiation,
to bear the guilt which must
be deposited on a boundary stone
at the frontier between men and laws,
out on the plain of funnel clouds
where dust never settles upon the cold
commandments graven on those stones.

Nivene's Dream

Big sad-faced parallel infinity
I cried into your false twilight
a moon cupped in your creamwhite
hands poured milky awareness over me
more to feed my dream than to drown my fear
my tears blurry with repetitiveness
pearly sand grains scattered over that
whole opening into night like out through
the motion of that two-way mirror
where those planets open into that ocean

                               (that ocean


The Hero's Dream of the Postman and Nivene

Encountering you over Buds at the No Nothing
thinking of you as a melting pink moon
then dreaming of you as an amber-lit person
at the trailer park
the postman walks in and delivers you
another free choice in the deep
                                     octane of language
witches taught you
to imitate mechanical owl screeches
this is what you call singing
robots taught you
to look at you naked
is to
          not forget you

Forget I said those words
funnel clouds are brewing
draw a road
disregard the wolf nose
         that peeks through
that carefully mapped cloud
placed there by kindred elders
forget that dragonfly
may have been human too once
now it's a machine
I tell you
sitting with you in the No Nothing
in the dream
before us a jar of larval no-see-ums
don't look at those eggs hatching pink moons
now you are human too and disturbed
winter wet between those legs
magenta moods of the witches' kindred
words behind the hidden agenda leaf:
the mirror trees

You must forget
                 these trees are not you
life swallowed you
the postman should have vanished too
the dust swallowed him
he was carrying my letter to you back to me
you stood before me emerging
out of those goofy trees with him
("additional postage is required")
on flimsy wings
                           just before dark