Figure It
                                after watching David Blaine

The plan

Was to be lifted

By balloons

And vanish

Into the atmosphere,

But the real end

Of endurance, as we know,

Is the thing

Without escape:

Shackled to the gyroscope

Or buried in the tank,

Ice-block encoffined.

The body wastes like

A hermit thronged about

On his desert pillar—

The body

Like a glamorous clock,

Like publicity,

This willful suffering, which

Encourages in the spectator

A delicate propinquity,

Learning in the nearness

Only that

To last is better than the lesson,

Not a prelude

To victory,

Not unemployment but

An agon

—time and self—still

In a small space within

A huge space.

Some would call it

‘Doing being ordinary.’

The thing is to


Holding the breath past collapse

Until monotony passes

Into wonder

And no one is thinking of something else.

Suggestion Box

the pumpkin bread is awesome, not at all

stringy or gummy, like some people say

grease the melodrama with subdued violence

last house before the tracks:

I heard you were growing pumpkins,

and you are!

post photos of the pumpkins

to preserve them from misrepresentation

better yet, do a quick paint-sketch

carve the material into

recognizable forms

lift off the lid with tongs

how about a round of applause for our fine actors!

you can make better use of your time

if you focus on one thing, then another—

wait, two things at once—

wait, let me get back to you after Halloween

it’s crazy here

Station Fire

Where the green exotics end,

houses spattered up toward

the fire-ridges and into

dark cloud and dark cloud into

foaming white cloud towers.

It’s hard to concentrate.

It’s hard to go to the store.

For nearly a week

the airwaves, as well as

the forest, horseland, manmade structures, crackle

and none of it,

just when we are undoing ourselves,

can be set aside for later examination,

this fire, expressed—it seems—

out of the clouds like a raping god.

On the second ridge the flames,

miles-long, close ranks.

The fire obliterates the cause

of its form, leaving

landscape scraped of decoration,

immodest, then untouchable,

hiding in its nakedness.

We climb up the Arroyo Seco:

steaming half-life of fire-decay,

the smoking undergrowth fending us off.

A deer, unstitched,

picks her way across the charcoal

toward a patch of green,

the definition of ‘gingerly.’

Beauty obliterates thought.

What is aftermath?

A capacity for shared stunning?

An unsounded note rolling down from the ridges,

damned weather everywhere,

the actual, the undescribed?


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three poems by Eric Rawson

Alison Scarpulla

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.