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Clark Coolidge
from At Egypt
(The Figures, 1988)
At Egypt




Not a very good day for a cruise to secret chemical plants
or breakfast cups, a kitten written down or
a kitchen hinge that plays "Everything goes in,
everything goes out," bright as pythons
or a blank mind
did you see that dream last night?
it left by morning

When I heard the blown owl
like the Cy Twombly scrubbing that pile of penises?
somehow vanished
like boat backs, or that kid who said "Give me Kif Hiawatha"
or the composer preferring John Graham to DeKooning
a felucca to Banana Island in the slow smooth
flow midday forever time, arrived at in bands
and choruses, their spacial connections

I lived long enough to come to Egypt, spin the object
when it was no longer what it was than a place
of banana palms tea glasses blind muezzins and
Nile green and tombs the stew of the world passes through
to mostly be enjoying and ordering correctly
a concert of various

Feel like Hunter Thompson with my white flap cap
and shades at poolside fleshside ordering up goodies
like who did win the Superbowl?  what matter anyway?
what power energy?  a Gene Kelly oldening
would be the verbal equivalent, already
I'm doing it, the price of things obliviousness

Something is coming and it's not the radio
the momentum of things, oblivion?
oldsters in blue liquid, pipeline to the poolside dials
low water in the Nile, a colossal thing getting loose
knowledge is potential at every point and I'm caught
by natures more than persons
and every thing has a nature

                                                     These are not his
                                                     Headings where
                                                     It's by the pool

But chatter
we have you do better, don't have it, I get back
scarf on, overhand on all, just as set a plan
set a bad, just as born, a letter?
just see that one, back now, redhead, good bait
sheets?  medical as your lesson, that's the best
wasn't that?  a lag bed, lots of Beethoven
come on, money!  wrote to everybody, better in hand
why, you . . . your mother, a hole in it
bended traveler, called up the Dracula, asked for boiled lobster
and and yet?

They say you remember . . .
nobody asked me to recall this, and then
I'd have to forget first to remember it later
then again maybe that someone would ask me
better it's sure in there and nobody asking
risible unspeakable as the gap it takes
an unstriped lizard in the palm pole, reversed
and it did look then like she was wearing a glove

A great race of things could live in these barriers
and in the late day the rocks shade and go on down

                                                     Total thing
                                                     Noise is made
                                                     Total thing
                                                     Noise is made

Tombs are time chambers
inhabit dead and pass on to another
tombs are time in love with a hollow
totaled sound to a cube of silence
tombs for which, communities love width
tombs for which, individuals dens
and the deads leave trace on their walls, stay those traces?
these tombs are inside-out charm boxes

                                                     The noise goes

Black and red heads under the known thing
black head line-ups and the beetle with a red
black and red that stand out on a line
the black line of the puzzle cue, the map end
futures in the black and the red for a finish
goal of the inside, bowl of tall time
integer time when the roof comes in
time of it all when the cones

                                                     And the lit bench
                                                     You read

And the weather better shanks between tall breasts
separate Arab girl stander
the orange lemon that was left in my camera
swaying wind of said shirts
oval laps and portal lap standby

Individual dens by the banana house keeps
charm a house of horses with, sail with
like back gas alley banana port sports
shorts being born from purple pendules
and the emitter glass dust of Nefertitis and box

The nestler wind box, glass with lightbulb tucked
the crush back end of the road

Watch sunset Nileside Luxor water all mineral color
yellow flash opal, a terminal topaz
in gas declension is all this observation
tying daub toe to the sunside's drainside
brain in a watch dome and see deep these colors go

Blasting back through the men leave shoes on rugs
souk sound, open door to inside of the smokes
sort of sock sand to the deeper overall of shrug pastel
hash tap an offering back or the services
shuffle bent of a lag boy wiseguy from Aswan
rooftop late socks a shot of souk sound

                                                     Terminal lover
                                                     Plug this Egypt

Onto the sugar-mud roof and watch the thunder stakes
everything upward over there strumming let it be something
bolt down this sediment sip but light is not blown on wind
prevailing in the overlook boulevard northward beyond
this land that stays each distance the same distance
and what is unwritten to come shall be treated below
saying form is relative past, though in initial form the things work
and a sign occurs when the eyes deal in common cloth

                                                     Bragging an itch
                                                     Down the road

Where we are I am
apparent not at home
jingling goals in the clod stint horse
rack of the recorded seat back
laughing too, laughs at any penetration
have laughed concerning night and day alike
to set it all gone ridden again
all the sound in one ride
back in the belt-clanging horse
shake of general tin things
am where we are, pitched in skin
so leaving tomorrow
morning and the elevator
broke again

Perhaps less fled than in mine country
of mistakes hewn ink known variants
but a thing of cloth has no point
does it list? and the birds, say, are lit
a kinship among those shown as guard
decline and lose the writings on the hill
pronominal as the colors of a bread
decline, and clause the pyramids into a subject survived
lest his plans, hip as a noun unsettled
much less fled than verbs in strength
who is the orphan of this flight?

The red land, our language, in this listening
kinship to the noun on the hill, its heart
among suffixes mistaken, own born writings
into a point independent of color
occurs the sign, the common side of subject
not settled in the book

Thong thoughts in a temporary town
built on implacable oldens, short as alfalfa stops
for god's golfball crazed chicken musettes arrive
at the cold leather and warm ice hotel
where I have paid slice attention
to the very ends of earth

It's pork synthesized steeldrums in the Isis Disco
midnight conga tramps acog in antimony
dreaming on gypsum flats lit in inert gas, a mouth
twisted in this mysterio Japanese Arabian aslant
the future passed while those present paid no mind
amplified in an adjutant's blue jeans crowing in
burnt fricatives and he yanked the turban bandages of
the simpleton alarm boy, then let him go and stole his cap

                                                     Everyone's business
                                                     Business elsewhere

Here, car horns are activity, as balloons would be the TV
ghostal distortions of Satchmo's Hello Dolly, friars applauding
Akhmet and the Barbitones, or Piaf through a pea-shooter
the original planted mask of Blimpy and the Bell River Barbules
and I see lightning flash mirrors back
to the original metal, is the nearest approach
of air to a voice starting a storm?
"Take that baby home"

Do you find that you know it, an old book boiled with oil?
a river elbow is underdreaming the rubber minglers
impress of phones on walls, dive as straight clipped from mass
the dayglo calcium of their apparent stance, do you see
the billows papa punctures? the whole crystal earth
deformation a mere bog slip, copra by the bay
ready to remedy what the tomb-jammers forgot?

Disco bleat, middle tourismo far fetch and cat twitch mix
with baby complaint till you dance despite yourself under the bed
a clothes-washer bowel upwells the garden dark
but nothing will dampen this card lake
buzzy vocal of the Dads
and the invisible sound of Ma Middle

The change of life, everybody wishes
that dotty fellow in the felt suit, to go
everybody gets business beyond though
action on the avacado lizard onion and potato plant piano
till the ruler of bevel-tree comes with his disc and retools adjusts
does continue, another pour from the purple organ
pumps slick sauce through osmosis cans, "oh
ohoh when my cow will pee" septic voice below
could you catch thoughtmosis in Oz?

Mere mention, double vision
perfect blunder strings anyone's pitch along
lights popping off with idiot mambo
of the Marching Morons while real symphony is all
the sound the river collects in a day

                                                     As if
                                                     A crab had arrived

Eve of Luxor a departure, the cats practice screech independence
and there went the rattle of a toad, an uncounted horse clop
the disco still trying one more key-height step
icicle green neons in the jewelry windows, cylinders
you turn from and the Nileside streetlamps go rose

                                                     Can you

Cement crack and finish, earthquake in cafeteria
knowledge of sand eggs stolen down the tube ache
creaking off of the last photon in what tomb now?

                                                     Cardtable to cardtable
                                                     In likeness

The damnable tomb will yield to me on the moment.
I can feel it. Meanwhile, scree jangles. Felaheen afeard.
Carnarvon beside himself. Once ultimate penetration
is achieved, will light out for London with wonderful things.
Rest assured. Yours respectacled,

                                                     Howard Carter



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