Five Poems by Lindsay Turner

Five poems by Lindsay Turner in COMPANY

SYSTEM SONG

Lindsay Turner

All systems go and some places broken

Mars the red planet in the sky behind the houses

Mars the red planet whose sign is

The system says it comes closer to the earth in November

 

All systems say go and take your things with you

Leaves make noises behind the houses

In the system there are parts of it that don’t feel

They carried her up the stairs like a doll

 

The system painted itself on the grass in the field

The system was painted on the grass in the field

They carried her up the stairs like a doll

They painted the system on the grass in the field

 

Do the parts feel strange when you wake up inside the system

Are there parts that don’t feel the system and which

The dead leaves looked like testicles but I didn’t want to say it

The system doesn’t make too much noise in the grass

 

The parts in the system still don’t feel anything

I saw my leg in the armchair but it didn’t look like me

The system was broken and there were bodies in it

The systems were working to take care of it

 

The systems were working to take care of it swiftly

The systems said get out so I went out quickly

The systems broke so I went out to look at the sky

The planet isn’t really red, more like butterscotch

 

All systems go and what did you think was happening

All systems go and it really happened like that

All systems broken and the systems taking care of it

The red planet visible over the dumpster but far

 




SONG OF THE TOWNS

what they have in common appears only after you’ve been to some of them: at the end of the day we were all very thirsty, except for the baby, who’d had some water earlier

 

what they have in common appears as fatigue  you shouldn’t have on rising, must something be wrong, it appears

 

 

*

 

 

dust in the air over the triangle of the boulevard and two diagonal streets running into it just after a rainstorm: the only piece that fits in here is shaped like a catastrophe, nevertheless small ornaments hanging straight in the air, in spite of

 

sawdust, what dust from the paint, what dust on the lettered walls, red lights flashed in dust at night and a kitchen window dug into a wall so old it shone, nevertheless the dust is new in this house,

 

utilities sliding into dust,

the water takes in the rust:

these forces don’t abandon space

after it’s been abandoned—

 

 

*

 

 

Water water everywhere

 

But thinking does not make it so

 

The grave officials say,

shore up the bottom line.

 

 

*

 

 

pests in the town, bêtes d’orage in the wheat, storm of them, a propensity for small spaces leads to global explosion even after quarantine, the town’s been huddled in the wheatfields all this time and the plane knows what and where we know, the problem of the bills that came with it, civic expenses like plans and fireworks, the problem you see is that someone has to pay them, difficult to detect

 

 

*

 

 

Since forces don’t abandon space

although it seems abandoned

 

too smooth a tradition, too easy to realize and put them in, something to soothe the city failing while we were talking about it, talk about a waste of energy but still there are these shapes to be filled in with something

 

the town celebrated as empty as the other towns, the pace of slowing-down appears with increasing speed, shutters close faster again, singing forces through abandoned space,

 

 

*

 

The aging system means a race

to profit from abandoned space

while leaving it abandoned space

since forces don’t abandon space

although it looks abandoned.

 

Thinking does not make it so:

the lot abandoned to the race,

the curse is that it’s here to stay

and all the grave officials say,

            we thought you had abandoned—

 

 

*

 

 

The shutters open on the shutters:

the industries of fields and bugs

are silent forces in the space.

The series starts to overwhelm

as it takes shape—

 




SONG OF ACCUMULATION

I was in another state when it happened

long since left out under the sky

I felt the glass grow lighter in my hand

I thought, I should pay more attention to what’s strange

 

so long since out under the sky, at night

some white streaks then just nothing

there’s an office for change and there’s one for savagery

you think “pristine” but it just means not yet accumulated

 

you think “pristine” but it just means uncluttered

like a new office where there isn’t much junk yet

or how about we reverse that, afterwards there’ll be less

 

there was stubble in the field and a throat that rattled

out under the night sky shouting, “I hate men”

then there was less than stubble in the field

when the leaves blew away it was mostly mud

 

there was a yard but there was less than grass in it

when you say “less,” please explain what you mean

in another state, an office for savagery

 

an office for change another for savagery

I was in another state, trying to get things done

there was less than stubble in the field and still something rattled

you think “possibility,” please explain exactly what you mean

 




INSURANCE SONG

You’re covered against forms of untimeliness,

covered against excess guilt or expense.

Theft of some things is covered if they’re yours,

you’re covered if you fuck up your hip.

 

You’re covered against mold,

nothing to do about the smell of it.

you’re covered against mildew,

nothing to do about the smell of it.

 

Your coverage extends into coastal areas

where you won’t go just to see the scenery.

Your coverage extends even after your death,

covering business surrounding your death,

 

covering things you wouldn’t do anyway,

covering when you weren’t there when you said you’d be,

covering when you wake up thinking it’s morning

it isn’t and it won’t be for some time.

 




ACCOMPLICE

this is now

the anxiety you never chose

in the mountains, mountain ash

find the verb for what you lost

 

in the mountains, mountain ash

red berries flashed out in dry brush

find the verb and suffer it

with someone else—

 

find the verb & suffer it

drove through where the paper mill

suffer the anxiety & the election

of the fools—

 

in the air the paper mill

released it all into the air

sunlight tangled in the air

& down the mountain—

 

has anyone checked up on the air

did you think you got to choose

does anyone ever get to choose

            & still end up together

 

drove through mountains in the drought

suffer through the verb together

this is what you didn’t choose

& what might outlast