Miss Direction Addresses Her Wayward Goat


I know better than this. It’s not right. I don’t want to forgive you. Your words aren’t
allowed to cut the umbilical chords of our stillborn promises, Mister Here-and-Gone.
Can’t you unhinge my flight like a wayward bird? I want you to inhale your nest
hair and pluck the worms from the bed. I want you to participate in the escape.
I don’t expect any acts of worship. I don’t expect any hard-working suspenders. I
don’t expect any flagpoles. All I want is a little fresh wind passing through my tired arms.
All I want is a little uplifted dust, a new environment, an ordinary emergency.
Go ahead and coil up like a snake, but let’s strike only bargains. Let’s infect each
other with radically different possibilities.
In fact, let’s tunnel to the disease and break its lungs in protest. Our grand causes
haven’t fully collapsed yet.
Let’s metastasize. Let’s intoxicate.
See? I can taste you like a fresh inflammation. I can return to the gathering
storm-clouds. I can migrate back to my place of birth. Where you are. Where others
like us are preparing flight lessons we’ll ignore. I can egg you on with fresh promises. I
can fit in. I can assemble latent tendencies. I can precipitate.
I live in the left half of my body and keep the right for special occasions and
replacements that don’t fit well. Most of the time-worn answers were roofed badly, as if
already knowing they would be replaced by mistakes and a lesser kind of dry-headed
correctness that lets the empty spaces look planned.
Stay if you want. Or go. It’s what you can do. It’s not a choice, but a balance.
Neruda dancing on the sand dune’s eyelid. A confusion of intent like Charlie Parker
walking a lobster.
Don’t offer me so much desire. Take some from me, so that I might not fill up with
you but empty out myself.
How did you capture me? Your charms are not obvious but hidden in your desire
for something I am because of you.
Less has inherited more than we were given by diligent labor and ambition driven.
You removed the silence from my footsteps.
Everyone is still pretending to be someone else, O little fool with a broken horn.
Tell me the one about the chubby chaser. He lives in my kidney and betrays me. Like that
time when a cloud was walking me. I was on a leash. The lobster was walking me. A
cloud leaned down and wet my nose.
An oily banal pleasure.
I’m too preoccupied to be beautiful. I’ve been shopping in the clouds for reasons.
I want things in their places and their places in the possible next. There’s more structure
in the grave, but the rodent sleep hasn’t come yet.
It seems there’s something under the floorboards that could answer these wrong
questions. There’s something essential that divides yes into no and gives itself away. (I
have some female tubes and I have some male tubes, but they don’t all do what they’re
supposed to and it confuses me.)
This is what they tell me: There was a portion of something we were saving for
her. We weren’t sure she wanted it, but we were saving it for her. She had refused things
before, but not our things. Things that were given to her by well-meaning people. We
mean to save a portion of what we were saving for her. And we mean to dispose of our
own portions in a manner befitting. If we could dispose of her innocently, there would be
no necessity for our current intentions.
Of course I don’t know what your current intentions are. I will tell you that I had a
greater purpose, but I will not tell you what it was.
I pull on my tongue to indicate satisfaction. It’s one of my observations. My
observations watch me drawing conclusions from events which contain unrealized
I am not as long as you are, but I point myself towards the sky and I can reach
higher because you’re more interested in going farther. Going farther always brings you
back to where you started.
So does reaching higher.
Okay, so I don’t wish to be overweight, but I am. Not so much that most people
notice. They don’t, but I do. I notice and notice and I worry and I fret. I suppose it’s a
good thing I’m just a little overweight so that I have something of little consequence to
worry about. I’d probably find something more troublesome about myself to worry over
if I weren’t so preoccupied.
The baby was never actually due but merely arrivable. A possibility of entrance
upon the events therewith proceeding. I say things like that to keep the sting from the
probability of nonoccurrence. Certain things remain plausible though the instructions
were not clear concerning penetration.
There appears to be an undue influence.
Something wet was rising to the top. Something was mine and I was sure of it and
that made me want to give it away. And something else was there strong enough to bring
us together. We didn’t know what it was. It tickled us and wandered off. It collected us
after we lost it.
It’s like I go walking and I find something just like myself only it’s not walking
and that confuses me. I try to take it home with me. I try to carry me in its arms.
It’s not the best thing to have along when you have to go, but it’s my sky and my
increments and my timetable. It’s my still-could-be.
I’m not of the same arrogance I thought I was of, but a subtler more
self-deprecating arrogance.
It’s true I would like to behave as if I love you, if only to grant the possibility that
doing so might allow the appropriate emotions to slip in to the gestures meant to contain
them. I would like to contain them, but they seem, thus far, to have escaped me. I expect
a certain amount of discomfort, as has been revealed to me in my extensive research,
particularly of the interpretive variety found in novels and movies, which suggests that
my prepared vacancy may well produce the desired effect, if only long enough to have
experienced it and been deserted by inadequate instruction, suggesting a devastating
sadness intent upon making its eventual departure celebratory.
Try to think warm thoughts. Exercise your steering mechanism. Consider the
options. No one expects you to solve the problem all alone. But then no one expects
you to solve the problem with others either. But you could try to generate an acceptable level of heat exchange capacity. Imagine the snowbanks softening. Imagine light staying
as long as the dark did.
I make a heady camp coffee and spread it with peanut butter. I offer consolation
prizes of roots and rooting activities. I exclaim in mock horror at the negligee potential of
the most beautiful woman in the room. Which happens to be me because no one else is
here. Which frightens me more.
You held the cat, which was trembling with cold and wet, next to the flame, and
the cat was taken away by something it had experienced before we found it. That it
welcomed the heat was obvious, but it was frightened too. When you set it down, it
moved too close to the flame and nearly singed its fur. The smell warned us just in time.
Either the cat preferred too much heat to too much cold and damp, or it had simply given
up. I could have said, “Don’t do that,” but I longed for my own actions and I had no idea
what actions to take.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.