BathHouse Journal

Ted Pearson

from Crosscurrents 

    The door to the future is in the future. History teaches what
happened when you got there. This to remark how subtractive ten-
dencies can lead to an art of rarefaction.


    The after-party is in eternity. Erotic misgivings seize the day. 
While downcast eyes invite speculation,  the planet dances to the beat
of waves.


    Congeros are strictly hands on. Sight follows sound, and then
we’re born. Daydreams limn the symbolic order with stories quarried
from thinnest air.


    Rhythmic changes transport time, emblems of my desire.
Making me subject, over time, to forces that seek to author pleasures
I once could barely imagine.



    Where reasoned doubts overturn convictions, love demands
a leap of faith. The translation falters when words go astray, but these
annotations mean the world.



    In dreams, we sift through sheaves of arcana. Cultural capital
can’t be exchanged. Hothouse life is not for strays. We count our
breaths at break of day.



    The bard survived on hand jobs and swan songs. There were
too few requests for tales of the tribe. When a stone drops in a still
pond, ringlets race toward shore.



    An obit is a rite of passage. Upload your beats and come to
momma. After the text on dust and ashes, and an urn will commemorate 
the way of all flesh.



    In a Pyrrhic victory at gray dawn, erotic memoirs reclaim our
youth. It’s only later, when something is missing, we resume our
flight from the grave.



    Dear negativity, how many words you’ve spared me. Which
is not to deny that we’ve shared some bright moments,  but it was 
darkness that made them visible.



    Errant selves engender queries. Concepts spell out rules of
thumb. If we knew now what we couldn’t know then, you would
think we had learned from experience.



    Known pleasures are out of season. The mannequin’s affect
is hard to read. Where studied poses exceed your grasp, slap some
paint on an extant lack and call it “My Old Flame.”



    As bands played on makeshift stages, history traduced a
decade and its lore. I remember places that I’ve never been. Where a
welcome was never lacking.



    The numbers in my head are real numbers. They order what
little is left of the much that I’ve long since forgotten. No less certain
is the plenum of ghosts. Real numbers of them.



    Source codes lead to ensorceled codas where order and
method are shibboleths in life’s most secret closet. A virtual river of
data courses through a techno-rational terrain.



    Language is a knife that cuts both ways. Age incentivizes full
stop. A muted horn plays “I Can’t Get Started.” Tough questions
stay where you put them.



    Headlines embrace the standard deviation. Facts take a
holiday and then go native. High on the lintel above the Hellgate, a
sentence is under erasure.



    The Queen of Contraries seeks redress, but her legacy is pure
negation. I’ve forgotten the phrase where she first appeared. Some-
one’s been dreaming my dreams.



    Take a number and wait your turn. Everyday life is a matter
of faith, that constant practice, each next word, will lead to what
might be otherwise.



    The patrimony sends forth its heirs and assigns, its errors and
wrecks, its books and lore. But how does one tell these tourists from
their spots? They could be anywhere, and are.



    Ancient oaks shade ancient realms. Canonical fragments are
again made whole. Remaindered gods link arms to buttress the ruined
ramparts of futurity.



    Politicos vogue at gold-plated dinners. Oratory implicate
vampires at dawn. While profiteers waltz on workers’ graves, the 
chorus sings of bootstraps.



    Scant miles from the high desert, a breeze stirs in the royal
palms. Memory substitutes the rustle of surf, breaking and ebbing on
Ocean Beach, its white noise leaching through the windows.



    At first, my mother tongue was tied. Then, the ensemble of
differences met to enliven the streets we walked on. Now, we occupy
the present persistent. A timely tense. Out of nowhere.



    Every sentence is a new sentence. Each bares all, if only to
itself. Phonotactic clusters are a kind of populace. Not long after the
universe began, decibels traumatized the streets.



    Lyric form is nothing personal. I is an instance of saying I.
The poem of life is but a timeless moment reinscribed in the flux of
its existence.



    Language speaks through us because it can. Poetry and Eros
deflect death, even as they embrace it. To produce knowledge. To
adduce meaning. To tell by telling what is told.


    The work site is where work is done. The work cited is what
was done. The conditions that produced it persist as traces that serve
to underwrite the text.



    The suicide vanished in her bedroom mirror while we
smoked buds to Scriabin. Now describe the restlessness we feel when
no one is around.



    Meanwhile, Orpheus is sent to the minors. To witness and
adjust. To drive the car. Off the beaten path. At land’s end. Remember-
ing is rarely. Innocent.



Ted Pearson‘s most recent books include  The Markov Chain (Shearsman Books, 2017), After Hours (Singing Horse Press, 2016), Extant Glyphs: 1964-1980 (Singing Horse Press, 2014), An Intermittent Music: 1975-2010, (Chax Press, 2016), and The Coffin Nail Blues (Atelos, 2016). He co-authored The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography (This/Mode A, 2006-2010) in ten volumes. His essays have been widely published, notably in Poetics Journal and a two-part conversation with Luke Harley appears in Jacket2. Pearson lives in southern California, where he is adjunct faculty at the University of Redlands.