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Impressionist


ISSUE:  Winter 1981
I wasn’t getting anywhere.
What good was the book of matches,
watch of wheels, the mechanisms
of my sex? Where was the most
of myself I meant to make?
Mistress of the minded Q, the pointed I
I knew discretion comes to order,
and the million likenesses
add up to one distinction, cells
of color on a riverbank
where the French girl in the light
blue dress remembers someone gone.

My mechanic lights a cigarette.
I’m at the desk, revising
his bill. I take a zero out,
I move the dot. This makes all
the difference. He wants to sell me
speed, I need it like a hole in the head,
I’m heavy-headed, I will buy.
It’s simple as atomic rapprochement,
molecular affinities, I mean the world

to him, he’ll fix my Comet,
I will feed his Milky Way machine.
I mean nothing to you. What matters
is the kind of mud or moon we make
our prints upon. Now I’m getting
somewhere, driving it home.
The roadside leaves are orange,
yellow, kinds of down. The birds
are fat for once or gone for good,
and we end up as individual
as dust, the dust of flowers
in the drawing room,
of mourners in the living room,
it’s dust that fills the eyecup
of the dead impressionist.

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