A n d y S t a l l i n g s

From Paradise

A feeling of threat
accompanies a sense of
money. The road is narrow
and feels like a jump
over a buckle of land, lined
with ivy, bordered first by a
gulch and then by train tracks
and an enclosure for the local
milk cows. We moved to a
back apartment. No one had
that exact memory, like a
photograph found on a
sidewalk and slipped into an
album from early adulthood.
It was fantasy, spoken like
fact. Yet the small, private
beach was not a respite at all
from the crowded public
beach that surrounded it.
Hair on brush, fog on glass,
an unused booster seat on a
stack of telephone books.
Perception leaps to the
forefront of consciousness.

Is there a way to avoid
becoming complicit with
corporate culture. My
prejudice for strong feeling
coupled with strong sickness.
There are different ways to
take a walk. They checked
the scalps for ticks, and while
the children fidgeted and
whined, always told the same
story about a blue pony who
lived down the street but only
visited during sleep, and was,
thus, a dream pony, capable
of astonishing shifts of shape
and behavior, though always
the same shifts. TV spread its
light through the room,
through the fields nearby,
where they cooked on
camera in a fake commercial
kitchen. What was missing
from this graininess. It
advances by the perpetual
incorporation of difference.