The Grave of the Great Alley of Clarity Cats is an anthology of poetry written by Mike Giardina, originally prepared as a thesis in creative writing, at the University of California, Davis. Please enjoy these experiments in abstract, postmodern poetry.

On arrival in a lot, of no civilization, and plenty of letters,
why is there a line, a sentence of stairs, writing my body to your front door?
You were a great editor, dear. You saw the candle callers, their straining
necks, their overwritten body paragraphs, underlined in red pen, under lying
lives. I remember your Long Island iced teas, laced with sandal wood & clove,
your delays, your cute little turquoise sandals, your menagerie of trinkets,
that scooped me into a lonely sea of thoughts, of seeing limestone walls, and
seas. Even today, a phrase of your boiled water, still floats my letter, raises
me high, then molds me into a nice, jealous, on… and on… and on, of many
little centers, until I fold into the quiet elsewhere, where a slow drawl of
marijuana minglers roll. Without you, I’m merely a judge of still water, who
studies behind the desk of a story, crafting metaphors, mere buildings that
crumble in the aftermath of flame, and slay me for a hearty laugh, on my slow
and steady race to flee from meaning. And then…  and there… you stood. So,
I wrote to you of Italy, and its standout caricatures, it’s slowly sinking
gondola’s, on which I will continue, on and on, as long as I remain not one, but
many iotas — a whole man who visits Seattle bars to contemplate dropped domino
letters. Who am I becoming as I age? Well, I find myself eyeing someone,
nineteen, on the island of remiss, where I will become, for her, a voice, the
show, the overall, slowly over, and eventually resigned, no longer the senior
editor of days, who deciphers the slush pile of hours, ridiculing the no longer
chaste. Then new hobbies. Maybe I’ll be the editor of the Amish. He must be very
old, and know familiar sounds. He must know these issues, and use the same
analogies of time, to store all these and other letters. But, wait. I digress.
What’s that on your shirt, dear? A faint, flat symbol of the state, of the
already known? Why are you still here? Together, we’re on trial, we’re run
`round, and forced to get along in a shared span of ten-or-so years, with stop
after shuttle stop on which to stand our divergent hopes of becoming water over
land, without a bridge to cross, waters mixed through sieves, siphoning words
into ciphers. To avoid unspoken fears, I will buy you faraway land, so you can
live where the satellites sleep, and travel to a time before the calls and
letters trickled in. But even then, you’ll still know, yourself, about the
letters your daughter wrote. You need not stand. The day is too late to face her
memory now. I know what you’ll say. You still want the car, the factory, and the
sale of the house. You’ll want the end of days, or maybe only Mondays, for all I
know. You’ll stand in the dark, alone, waiting for a day to face her, and her
limestone visitors, if ever they should come again. So with that, I am less than
a man among his traders, and his trades. Down in Salem, centered, my flow has
suddenly ceased. My thoughts return to your evening dresses, your jeans, your
tiaras, and those burly Buddhist raiders of swing-timed bass. I understand that
all is based, first, on the use of, followed by the steady loss of, the one.
So, remind me once more, and now, of this year’s work. I don’t remember
everything. I remember the women who remained jailed despite our efforts. Why
so many, still? They stood around a little too much, then on top of each other,
with lawyers, and then that older brother, a white 42 with sleeves and an angry
$18.00 issue. As for your daughter’s life, well she was—as water—under every
plan. I’m convinced that every issue forms first around old Elvis records, and
she always started less tolerant, so thorough, slow, and beyond, not like you
and I, the man and woman truly entitled to this earth. Does anyone care about
your daughter anymore? I see you have a lot of worry, having voted to keep these
limestone walls. Well, what? As you know—I’m gone. Leaving this rambling middle,
and eventually end, I will find that where I was, was simply a pool of standing
water. Other city ripples were her issues, and upon collision, this: our house
of blues. I’m less than a man in a burnt-down ranch, while you’re sleeping in
the penthouse suites of Santa Ana, thinking of falling 95ft off of your simple
human scribbled letters. You can have your share of the study. I am a very happy
friend, a “someone else” who rides towards blue houses. You are merely used
property, used properly. And you learned to give her very same favors, a serious
loss. When you go home, I will know there’s a ‘not going on’ everywhere. Your
frozen batteries are cute, but have gone into the dumpster, immediately. So,
too, your harem: running, routing, sailing, faces, and bodies. Your women are on
loan to a simple scandal, and are seen for what they are: petite lettuce leaves,
cups, forced to sleep with angels, until both bodies land on Vegas thrones,
limbs protruding from their case, slow to understand the role of this house,
bed, stage. This is always so hands on, which remains my only issue with
letters. I see anything nowadays, and fearfully slow to the state, where policy
chefs lift up vagrants with burly blue shoulders. This is merely satellite talk
— on a plane to Paris. You are a little reminder of the ‘this has been all is’
sound. I only write to the only. I only listen to the gently seasoned.
Your previously read letters, read aloud are the error. You are gentle in one
eye, and a little nostalgic in the other. Your right hand is of sound state
(as a result of letters), and is already an entire force of where I refuse to
stand. Our environment is boring and sick. And so on. And formaldehyde. I am an
ancient mariner and juvenile delinquent, shuttling about, arriving before
leaving, battling with time, running my shoes with all that is Italy. Run on,
in mind, and run. I’ll learn to be blind, for longer and longer spans of time,
until we love one another, on the other side and presence of the is, the other
present. Only there, we will be gentler to ourselves in new time, extended hand
in hand. Until then, you are a heavy lead, and well know that I have the one cure
for your disease. So, you crouch in bed, waiting only on me, crying, knowing
that I am an airline and you have the disease of ‘getting there.’ We’re still
doing it, aren’t we? Just for the sake of using. Together, we hear a familiar
voice, resilient to the weekend’s silence. We avoid the sound of restaurants,
shops, states. We almost win. I’m a gentleman and, as a liaison overly arrested,
I worry less. But that’s your strategy, I think. You manage the hold, the grip
on medium heat. We let it even out, the errors, and guess on the rest. We, as
artists, are the staffs of Time, standing on our daughters land, standing still,
to stop steel cold, and steal back cold November days. We are the silent
speakers of what it has, what it has been, what it is. We’ll stand each on our
own, to mind every loss, like patients lose. And they do. I’ve found the old ones.
They have evidence of an artistic virus, that earns your trust, then loses you
beyond the page.

This poem originally appeared in The Grave of the Great Alley of Clarity Cats, an anthology of poetry written by Mike Giardina. The complete the anthology is available below:

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