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“Facts Are Stubborn Things” -- Revised 3

by  seanfarragher

Posted: Friday, April 8, 2005
Word Count: 917
Summary: Poem came from exercise by Wenonah Lyon at Zoetrope: Write a flash or poem based on one of these proverbs (or one of your own choosing): "There's more to marriage than four bare legs in a bed." "Many a mickle makes a muckle." "Facts are stubborn things.." "A deaf husband and a blind wife are always a happy couple."
Related Works: Fountain of Youth • Hurrah, Hooray, Huzzah • 

“Facts Are Stubborn Things”

Facts shift – hummingbirds lisp as their vocabulary grows
with delicate insubstantial vague effect; -- it is art without history,
out of center, no dictionary for contempt, the lexicon of drizzle
an accidental stampede when rain peers over the broken slat fence
weather washing makeup off her eyes, letting the black eye shadow
stain, but nothing is indelible, not even the beauty of deep red lips
sucking a green lollipop or the hours we rode subways in 2001
carrying a knapsack filled with plastique waiting for signs
of the cross to certify lambs in a casual order

at least we wished to make more certain
the calculus, the proof table of sine and cosine
identities solved to approximate circular function,
to compute differential equations as principle—

Her dark hands extend to judge my hands as they arrange
her diaphanous petals, sculptures that do not mock
the starting gate of words as levers, as layers
of Japanese Noh plays translated by Fennolosa.

--truth, not possible lets down
as mother milk with abandon
we are creatures so small there is
no breast, but nipple, flat equatorial planes, the earth milked
as sweet snakes that cannot determine the exact placement--
terror ripples into the slope of monumental waves

eyes peer, and the subtle twist of clocks
or plunge of a lever brings down, sweet self included,
the dark death of irresponsible explosions,
true loss of spirit, and nothing
learned helps,
yet there is an inquisition.
no fixed mark laser or otherwise
satisfies, --nothing can be predicted
for certain except the deep explosion,
its crater and the monster
clouds of cement powder, burnt steel,
that annoying plastic
layers of tribute, dollar bills,
thousands and millions of gold
preserved but the words,
never precise, translucent
cannot be understood, as the sense they lift drags down light,
melts it lifts the theory of matter into a judicial code that Hammurabi
who codified the "facts" of Sumer as paradigm,
and copyists dribbled
slanted into the clay cups of our hands when we measure
the love of honor and sex as vision making certain
what we bare, naked arms, tan, deceit lined

drift as lap dancers do over the race track and the gamble fails
no words are measured when facts shift package
under the meandering thighs and buttocks
are precise but always cloth covers intent
with a translucent glaze that says it is not sincere, always
there is the chance of drawing the inside straight
pushing the horse into paradise
with a win so certain the theory of numbers is questioned

Perpetrators and addicts line up for interrogation by the next
serial word scrambled as the index of the vortex blinds
one more layer of soldiers fighting with bayonets in France
before the Arch Duke Ferdinand revived,
of course lies draped as mysterious sacraments divine God
as necessary, imprecise
flesh scribbled on the margin of a 9th grade English paper
that classmate Colin stole, tore up mine, and wrote his name in blood
hating the ride of my words, but stealing them,

I was held accountable at thirteen
for all historical blemishes and fake grandiosity that made
his life a miserable swarm of words dug out of skin
like .22’s shot into the moon unhinged and delivered
with the face of teacher Miss Johnson.

She knew the truth of deliverance
did not deny it caught up in the style of words
and insubstantial glare of the unknown
image of truth conceived by truth doctors marking
down law out shifting facts that lead to invisible
truth and fake honor of our unhappy civilization.

There are no words, no maps, and no signs
of the cross to set down facts as permanent wings
of petrified flies held in violent amber by accident
of meaning or subversion of logic drawn on her
beautiful marathon as sculpture of heroic dimensions
here to fore not listed in Robert LeRoy’s
“Ripleys Believe It or Not”
a half-way foolish list of what cannot be known
unless you ride up the trail with empty guns
to link your arms in the unknown, unknown
as a theory of history revised in 1964
by Professors Gaster, Pernicone and Diamond.


2. Identity

I simply cannot laugh today.
I am without any rigorous proof of identity
or delusion except there is no one flaw,
truth or deliberate lie that can be trapped
unless we melt time and make into a stew
that has no flavor, decorations
and terror doesn’t hide in vowels
exposed as beautiful women
when you touch their ache
with your fingers to find how best
you can satisfy your longing
and hers with the twist and pulse submerged
in a river of modern flaws,
broken chairs and ships
sinking too swiftly
in the flood tide
before story ends.


3. Movies that Bang

I speak with the authority of a dirty time lose without
a lead, no rope tied to the neck,
no hand cuffs, but her hide carved
not by love, which I gave, but by power
without measure, substantial and false like Gods grovel
in the white canvas bag,
dirty after being carried so many
thousands of years, and now filled
with broken facts
and the scribbling
tales of charming lambs
without title
to fixed facts
of physical nature --
dreams revealed
that is one small hopeful pitch
for black and white movies
that was never made
or cinema lost when
cellulose nitrate film exploded.


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