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Still or Sparkling? by Diane Dal-Pra © The artist. Courtesy Galerie Derouillon, Paris

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hearsay

What did you say I said? What? And in that dream
I was married to her, and she,

I don’t know who she was, perhaps she was you,
Perhaps only me marrying a better me,

Perhaps now drilling down into its absurdity
Like a mole in the grass whose head got bit off by my cat

Before it was a metaphor. Like or as? I always forget.
It is too hot and the garden is sad, moving to its final stage,

Never a pretty sight. I too am moving to my final stage.
Stage is also an interesting word, as we think perhaps

Of Marlene Dietrich or Lena Horne or the artist formerly
Known as Prince, they, then, I danced to, with my then bf,

In Minneapolis. O Minneapolis! What did? What did they
Say he said? The garden is sad. It is too hot. The trouble with

Doing things on a hope and some words is they don’t always
Come true. All men are created equal. All

That talking the talk, saying the said. What did he say
I said? And after the final stage? When one has walked

Or been dragged off, so the whole scene is as empty as
The glass by my bedside. The glasses by my father’s bed-

Side were kept separate while he, while we were quarantined
For polio, which killed him, and then I would try to find him

In a dream. Word was that Marlene Dietrich made a pass
At him, and I have a gold-plated knife he stole from the

Embassy in Moscow. Someone used the knife to pry
Something open, so it is damaged at its point,

The way things get damaged by ill use. Do words
Get damaged by ill use? Scratched, torn, stained,

Dulled down to their thinnest shadow, the shadow of
Lies and cruelty, as when you wandered out of earshot.

 

note

Must flower. Sweet enclave. Moon.
So much for not turning up. Their inevitable,
My inevitable. Must have flowers,
Pretty gold dark, never autumn.
Speak without reverence and
Mind your hair. Mind later.
Must mind matter flower, dear not sun?
Then: the beautiful differences: thrall.
This plural, its gap, conscious, bald: a girl.
Figure any of us into this marginalia.
To be noted, deleted, swiped in
The daily illusions of hope. O must flower.
Must allow permeable inclusions.
Blessed semblance noted, as if strong.

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March 2021