sporklet 4
Nicholas Grider

from The Book of Former Wisdom

There was an angel and then there wasn’t, there was a you and now there’s a record, the scribe buys stock in disbelief but skips lunch, you’re too late to let the plausibly nuchan black form, and you freak out when you realize whoops, pillars of smoke, stay tuned


shit’s about to get real


[                    ]


there’s also always a previously


there’s בדידות and קַבָּלַת פָּנִים


[                    ]


there’s how orthostatic hypotension stirs the soul, or you could just ask politely, some allowance for last decade’s sedatives still crawling all over your short-term memory


you don’t know where your hands have been nor what they’re doing now


[                    ]


Dear Diary, this small room has several million doors


Reluctance is natural when you’re the counterexample or contradistinction, there’s no need to rehearse being forgotten, the fabric is thin but covers both Eruv and Eretz


you get your Eretz really nervous


ambivalent about recording Dear Diary, I fucked up again


the malachim tell you don’t worry, you still have both a complicated brain and a complicated future, you’re not even following your own instructions


[                    ]


you’re still not several appellants, go light a candle


patience is too human for God, but slow-mo is not


Departure is a color, permanence is a color, gray is also a color, gray is not a color but a length of time such as three gray centuries or four gray Friday nights


“gray is the color of my true love’s soul” stolen as if truth had borders, handles


God is not a color, neither a color nor a calendar, faith sometimes requires a calendar, sometimes requires a V8 engine or else at least sometimes, in summer, fresh training wheels


early morning is a color


a slim template of occasions during which to keep your mouth shut


[                    ]


pillar of smoke, pillar of fire, pillar of salt, pillar of crushed tomato soup cans


happy hunting, Moshe


as if there were still such a thing


Threshold not quite the right word for it, God throwing a stopwatch in a muddy ditch, that’s not the answer, as if there were still such a thing, Moshe, follow along


or you should have listened, it’s something, it’s a reversible truism


the malachim say why not, thwack another blanket and no blankets up and pillar of smoke, black, in administrative sitting room of smoke, black, or thwack and look down and there it is ominous in Disney/Dali gleam, and that’s not the only word you know, kid, c’mon, and do you think you can goose your brain into reproducing the voice


not much having been said, but social calls not a faith your can invest


[                    ]


however, terror is not wishful thinking, and you woke up early today because life


avoidance isn’t worth the forlorn shirttail tug or locked entrance or holy smut


[                    ]


not the kind of choir you know how to join


Or not pulled from the siddur as if this magnificent banality lain across my arms––but kid you’re getting natural at being a person, it’s only a matter of time, Moshe


nothing to do with dreaming, and dreaming is only a grayish shade of blue


it’s definitely not robot or cosmonaut, it’s not even language


[                    ]


all the chit chat about light and as of yet no mention of dawn, how it’s corrosive


how it’s not the right kind of slow


how right now, inside you, an unfolding––an anytime tallis for your prelude to be


your precise perhaps, not your “what is it kid you can’t figure out how to turn on”


[                    ]


neither fever nor bucket hole


You take a side door and head up the stairs into history, in the afternoon it seems ordinary, time the spine around which everything slides, you became a better avoider, history was tactile, you stare at your feet, history an aria of can this still be believed


you’re thinking maybe recalcitrance or reluctance, a rabbinic whoa, you actually don’t know any illusions, the malachim tell you to calm the fuck down, kid, and what if infinity’s exclusion can pay a social call, not like you weren’t warned and dressed appropriately, though infinity is not a radiator, or a radio, or dead air


[                    ]


when you hear the words they don’t sound like language, maybe they don’t have to, no holy writ or homework so you’re not writing anything down


you’re not hustling an abstruse Dear Diary


neither a leading or lagging strand, Moshe


[                    ]


c’mon kid, say the malachim, stop fucking around


Silence includes a fiction


includes several


you can’t get either history or fiction out of your system, or hold still


[                    ]


you sometimes don’t need a library when you have a roar

Nicholas Grider is the author of the story collection Misadventure (A Strange Object) and his work has appeared in Caketrain, Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, Guernica and elsewhere.  He lives with his intense cat in Milwaukee, where he’s a pre-med student.