Thirty Soul Mates
Today we’ll likely witness the first Norton
Poetry Lecture partially delivered by keytar.
Quiz: considering prior recipients—
(a) Eliot, (b) Hancock, (c) Cage, (d) Kentridge—
who might’ve said,
there are no wrong notes, just better choices?
My point being, recent thinking on the state
of the soul mate has been disproven: the
soul has not one, but thirty souls.
For each soul, thirty soul mates. For
each soul mate, thirty souls. For
each soul mate’s thirty souls,
One soul might argue, “Chameleon
is funkier than Maiden Voyage!”
Another may say the opposite.
One could better believe they’re at one
and the same port of a funky humanitarianism
where all things are essentially—equally—funky.
One might say from a doorway,
cat packed in the crook
of the arm, “My darling, but your theories
are too funky for my little flower spirit.”
One may need to learn to accept
such is the discreet motivation to carry a canoe
across the lawn on a so called off-night:
“I’m sorry, if I confess,
I do so not out of apology for what I see,
rather as resolute rejection
of my future as a future
mirror for even the most familiar
to what is most easily passed along.”
Seeking the environment
as a cause
i s a n i l l us i o n
as improbable odds
of one soul fusing to another’s
one sleeping with another’s
the original soul the other’s begun with
confused about the words elicit and illicit.
I looked them up, they are spelled differently.
One means “evoke or draw out (a response or
fact).” The other means “forbidden by laws or
custom.” Can anything ever be patently
untrue? Somewhere someone’s home
must be equal to the sky, equal to one big yes.
When the on again off again thing
is back on again
you’re on the wrong side of
an ex-twenty-sixth soul mate
who lives two streets
over near where you wait at the
muttering into the machine
that never drains:
“Ah, bummer. Mojo.
Missed it by one.”
Don’t confuse obstacle with tragedy.
I feel like I’m the thirtieth line in your
Doesn’t it have nothing to do
with the gender of my gender,
the gender of your gender,
gender of the gender of our genders?
Dear twenty-eighth soul mate to my unluckiest
soul, I dream a day of circumstances
made clear by the incident after light
lunch at the harbor gazebo. You turn on,
but am I wanted at sea? Oh, forever and
one day of yesterdays,
but of course
the presence of one may suggest its opposite, i.e.
“It’s time to unlearn
what I don’t know
from what I do.”
Where I imagine you not loving
my fourteenth soul mate
because her ring tone is “Another
Bad Creation,” which you scorn,
“We don’t always have to be products of our time.”
The bell is about to ring the door
back open, the phone is about to, too
Blaze up in a hardware store,
among the coffee breaks and mint ladders.
But Iesha, you know I
want you so bad, & I want
to get to know you better.
Prim duck, twelfth or twentieth soul mate,
whom I have found among the cotton fiber nannies
of this neighborhood, twenty-fourth and first,
in needless rows of needless polish of needless sports cars,
Where I’m grown but throw at nothing,
I’m but a tear duct
away from ukulele synth sainthood—
you know the ones, you love them as I do,
as I love a German on the berm in a Book of Miracles,
a stereoscope double vision of drums in the village
of Ikoko on Lake Ntomba bending into Lapland
families, awake in their summer morning
teepee hillsides beyond unnatural curiosity.
Opening a burn—a borrowed book—
you will rediscover
a dedication: Dear Kirkwood,
I love you. — Ana
written by your sixteenth soul’s ninth mate—
suspicions fatally align, fall away, warm
as a deep-sea cognac’s weekday disregard,
as for the redness of fires that leak from
the red dump trucks of your eyes.
Light Muse visited you!
Someone sent you a message!
It begins, “Yes, your conscience is correct…”
ends, “I prefer to drink myself
wildly into an early grave.”
A tell-all of your heartbreak, simple
lemon colicky stamina of the city of
Thank-yous and everyone you pass beneath.
I misread “desire state” as “disaster site,”
holographic yet innocent. I’m learning to unlearn
these rejections, thin streams dividing & inflecting
a thing very close to a bird,
alternating I want with I’d love to,
reverse, revise, confuse
twelve with twenty-one,
forget who said wrote the song
the moving heartbeat
origin, forces on the body,
however calculated or notated,
measures in the rate
& pressures of
or, shattering that wakes me daily
the work at sunrise, powering projects of unseen &
human pyramid vaults
of startling, ever starting momenta—
the will’s fuse and shatter unstoppable.
You sit at an office desk in a dream, thirtieth soul or thirtieth
turn kitchen ferns into fairy tales,
laugh and drink to the offers of all your days.
The answer lies unlisted, locked
behind the balance of thank-yous
in the answer
Andrew K. Peterson’s poetry publications include some deer left the yard moving day (BlazeVox, 2013), karaoke lipsync opera (White Sky eBooks, 2012), and Museum of Thrown Objects (BlazeVox, 2010). His chapbook bonjour meriwether and the rabid maps (Fact-Simile Press) was featured in an exhibition on poets’ maps at The University of Arizona’s Poetry Center in 2013. He edits summer stock, an online poetry journal, and lives in the Boston area. Selected by Rochelle Hurt.
This ends issue 1. Read it all over again.