Recessionary Bliss by Joshua Robert Long


“Recessionary Bliss”

 

I:

 

obscure mind

a heartless drum

a harrowing notice

payments have been delayed, sir.

 

breathing in and out the same

the noise the same

the view from the window

the leafless branches

the sun shining

through

just right

like a spider’s lace

there through

the window

 

damnation pays

bills

a heartless drum

a harrowing notice

we have not received your payment, sir.

 

historical lines are standing

a standing ovation

is now upon us

through the flicker

of thought

the candle holds still into the wind.

 

breathing in and out the same

the noise the same

the view from the street

never seemed so much like porcelain

on a tray

 

and we’re high out here

down here

below the limelight

 

a heartless drum

a harrowing notice

the payment is in the mailbox.

 

II:

 

a reasonable fee

undermining

while

mining the time

like it was

a job

for cowboys

 

exterior walls

all facing inward

now

all minds coming

back home

for the turkey

and the rolls

 

your payment has not yet been received on our end, sir.

 

harrowing blood types

hollow interiors

paying

back

the

debt.

 

III:

 

as the tile turns colder

in the winter months

and the rain

ceases

or turns to snow

or ice

or both again

 

as the frost

accumulates onto

the walls

and then melts

off again

turning to moisture

in the afternoon

turning to mold

again

in the summer

 

as the breath

blows into

the room

colder than

night

warmer than

blankets

 

as the coffee pot

howls

another two or three

cups

overdone

 

as the lamp flickers

faulty wiring and

all

 

as the cat chirps

a cry

whining

for breakfast

 

as the heart chirps

a cry

whining

for life

 

as the lover

stays

sleeping

in the bedside

the only one understanding

the state of things.

 

IV:

 

we have already notified the state of your situation, sir.

 

and haven’t they

yet

gotten the point?

 

as the cigarette rolls

between

fingertips

a harrowing lifestyle

still

 

there are stillborn

dreams

inside

the head

 

there are momentary

hazes

from slipping

cotton

in and out

of the gums

 

the cracking

of skin

the air

around the fingers

bleeding

through the

water

 

another cold shower

 

we are prepared to notify the attorney general’s office, sir.

 

yesterday’s garbage

today’s dinner

 

and now the chicken

no longer

holds a crunch

or a proper chew

as the chomping

goes through another

day or more

 

and in this moment

when congress

said

that pizza was a vegetable

born out of romance

 

the harrowing drum still pounding

the jazz trumpets

all walloping into

some strange new form

 

the old women down

at the laundromat

have become

fear

have

felt

the strange

prangs of

fear

 

change is afoot

and here

the frost

still

exists

still breathes

and grows

upon

the walls.

 

V:

 

recessionary bliss

is upon us

at least now

in the spring

 

there are still leaves

blowing circles

across the yard

 

and the landlord never pays attention to this

 

the telephone doesn’t exist

it only comes now

in the mind

like so

 

I cannot allow you to delay any longer, sir.

 

VI:

 

the lover

now demands

change

 

pace

and heart

now

similar

 

as she walks

her feet

bring noise

as she stands

on the edge of

the noise

she makes

much sense

from the little left

who believe in her

 

the lover

wants out

wants outside

wants

the frost to stop

wants the phone

to stop

 

again, the phone

no longer real

no longer

a reliable

friend

sitting next to you

at a table

somewhere

in some part

of southwestern

Ohio

 

and still the voice calls out

 

sir, the payment we received was insufficient.

 

VII:

 

an army recruiter appears

he breaks

the hinges

on the door

 

the buzzer no

longer sounds

 

the electricity

has been dismantled

 

there remains an atomic idea

in the bedroom

 

the lover is nowhere to be seen

 

still

 

sir, a third party has contacted us on your behalf, your account has been credited.

 

the recruiter

never makes

clear

his intention

 

until his pants fall

down around

the ankles

 

a harrowing drum

a door without hinges

a life without frost

still nowhere

close

to here

 

as the mountains came down

around

and the flood walls

failed

there began

a silence

 

no dignity was left

 

simply a shaved head

bound

and singing out

 

freedom

 

VIII:

 

in the field there

was torment

talking about

lives

and lines

were drawn

 

there was no more

cubism

or intellectual

stimulation

 

only triggers and points

of intrusion

 

the locals

never believed

in anyone

rightfully so,

supposedly

 

when can we expect you back in the area then, sir?

 

speeding by

came

a sound

 

silence pulled

at the heels

and the heels

were already weak

from the bags

of hot lunch

 

and then

there

amongst the fallen

the loudest

noise

of peace came

 

and there were lights

 

no more telephones

no more reminders

 

and the lover

 

she was there

walking up with ice cream

cones in both

hands

 

IX:

 

back in the

frost

 

the leaves

were still gone

 

though slowly

a harrowing drum

though slowly

a silence of silence

 

the buds on the tree

still cold

yet growing warmer

somehow

 

the cold coming in

and out

 

the lover

by the window

 

waiting

 

all was resting

on knees

 

there was a thunder coming

out through her throat

 

and everything

made silence

seem like the daylight

 

please return our call as soon as possible, your account is 39 days past due.

 

X:

 

now

in silence

 

still without a telephone

that still

rings

 

the frost

still present

 

the lover

curled

softly

between

blankets

brought home

from the wartime.

 

XI:

 

here now with hope

never realizing

parts of the

time

 

sounds of shrieks

nightmares of silence

 

developing into

calm

levels of dependance

 

beliefs began

appearing

 

side-door memories

wallowing

in their own filth

 

around then

belittling herself

the lover began

to ache

 

other parts of hope

still look back

onto this

 

and more parts

feel ever

differently

than the light

 

sometimes she

would escape

herself

but other times

not so much

 

rage

amassed itself

in her hands

in her feelings

for the past

 

can you say when you expect him home, madam?

 

life moving

too fast now

all blank verse

in feeling

all free verse

in action

 

the leaves turning

slower

than the color

of shoes

on the sidewalks

 

imagining a life

without him

imagining the silence

of heaven

 

birds perched on the fence

outside the window

 

everybody on the run

and obsessed with

premonition

 

so many noises

and just one hope

as a whisper says

stay strong.

 

XII:

 

as she walks away

from the window

a piano

hits a

high C

as lives compare

themselves

there beyond

the streetlamps

 

closing her eyes she waits for trumpets

 

a last kind of heart

hits the heart

as the plane lands

 

enough of this is left

and enough of this

knows how

to pack the bag

 

hostility buried in

bones

coming out

with it

all over

with it

now

 

no longer is there

a generation of men

simply ones infinitely-bound to boyhood

 

continuously the stars

crying down

over the roofs

and through the

woods

 

peace coming back

now

 

coming

along

down the highway.

 

XIII:

 

like actual men

words are never

spoken

 

simply

 

demons are carried

along the backs

of men

 

letting it rain

letting it rain

letting it rain

 

it’s strange what highways can remember

 

the person you are trying to reach has a voice mailbox that has not been set up.

 

XIV:

 

to mime

is to figure

out

 

and home again

the lover can

rejoin

in the sight of him

 

the frost vacant

the frost as vacant

as his eyes

 

the bedroom

atomic

in principal

waits to be

seized upon

 

and the trumpets still blare

 

we have you set up for monthly installments beginning on the 21st, is that correct?

 

no more

from the folks

downstairs

 

the ceiling as quiet

as dawn

 

the angels slow dancing

in the arms

of sinners

 

occasionally the lover is

reminded of herself

and shit begins again

 

telephones ringing

and shit throwing itself

upon the front door

 

through our communication with the bank, it appears the account in question has been closed.

 

from silence

returns

a harrowing drum

 

and so as the autumn

begins to

lose the light

memory is reminded

that frost

seems

less optional.

 

XV:

 

the lover

packs her

suitcase

 

something pearl in color

containing

much less than

she brought in

 

the road ahead

of her

much less visible

than the frost

 

she knew

things were going

on

behind dumpsters

at the end of alleyways

 

she knew

things were going

on

in the middle

of boulevards

and behind school

desks

in the minds of children

all over

 

and

then

 

she walked out of the frost

 

counting each

step with the

passing of

headlights

 

the streetlamps

seemed inviting

 

her heart felt less

frigid

 

though

 

still warm to

the touch.

 

XVI:

 

stealing

what remained

of her

 

the lover

fell victim

to the silence

 

telephones

no longer

lingering

in the air around

her bedside

 

the thoughts

turned

rancid

soured

as if milk

was left

alone

 

weeks turned

to months

 

the levies began

to crumble

around her eyes

 

there was a space

empty

 

parking lots

seemed inviting

 

there was a bottle

of gin involved.

_______________________

Joshua Robert Long lives and sleeps in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He is the author of Translating The Avenues and Mixtape (both by Walleyed Press). He also regularly shares his work via joshuarobertlong.com