Peter Jay Shippy

Short-term Stay in Furnished Room

People walk through sunlight. Their heads pile up. Their legs Disappear. A snowplow hisses Then falls to distal space. The coffee maker makes coughs. An airplane rises towards Mars Or Paris like a voice In a conga. In the parklet Across the street nannies look For daystars. They stick out Their tongues. On Lexington Hill A green copper dome glows Like a bruise. A tern meows. I make maps of places I wish To visit where I know The extras that get mown down Will be drinking, after The filming. I'm in the outs With the dressers of the esteemed Salon. A man in olive Overalls sprays the paintbrush Bushes with coyote urine. Beauty is nature's mask. My ideal station is possibly A hotel on Finland Road. When the curtains glow I pull Them back, take off my lid And reify. The essence Of our props veils their truth. This is grace. Pass the cup Before the principal note Is played. Two atoms may collide And separate, never To meet again. They pass A cell. Sparrows done On a shoestring saturate The pear tree. On the steps Of the library girls In measled skirts take the weight Off their feet. They pass A phone. Correspondence Is spreading. An armored Car, like a woodcut, like A medieval rhino Jumps the lip of the curb Outside the people's bank. Certain objects are linked By entanglement. Snails and pears. Snipers And kitharas. Horns and stones. A 90-pound octopus May pass through a hole In a sea cave wall No bigger than an apple. See? Jewel cases and Iridescent beetles! Under I hear children Home for the holiday Or away on vacation. One Is a witch, one is cow- Boy, one is a vampire, One is dead. A mask Is a border between? A source and a surface. Every room holds a house That no longer exists. I drag my fingertips Across the window glass. Maple moth wings mix With helicopter seeds In the sill. If the design Fails to autorotate, Adjust the paperclip. The radiator looks Like the skeleton Of an ice-mummy's Best friend. Its verdant breath Is peeling the horsehair Plaster, revealing A dispatch: color of A speckled turtle--wholly Roofed in bracken shell-- A thick case--sized like A juvenile elephant-- But low on its legs Which are stout as oak trunks-- Invulnerable--a keen horn For a nose, which it sharpens? On blush church stones. The guards share a smoke Then drive to their next vault. From the other side Of the hallway I hear My neighbor, a singer: Under the bougainvillea After the Moog is asleep.... Particles that entangle Remain deeply connected In spite of the distances Between them. Saltshaker. Pepper mill. Dumb scissors. A hawk on a flagpole's knob. A spate of sleet opens Yellow umbrellas, like A fleet of shrimp unbolts A cephalopod's fins, Yes, colophons are falling For my gal and me. My tongue is grass, my lips Are goldenrods, my teeth Are positioned to dis- Allow access to my insides. My eyes are peony and Cool to the touch, dirty As the moon. After The moon is asleep You and I can creep Down from our rafter.... My fingers are covered In white dust. A taxi stalls In the intersection Of Denmark and Norway. In the playground The kite makers are cutting Bamboo and unrolling Mulberry paper and eating White radish kimchi. Iridescent jeweled snails. Elements that entangle Fix, severely, despite Space. Even when split By the width of the unit- Verse their union stays in- Tact. These particles Are profoundly attached. They share existence. "Hey! Why are so many Second violinists flying The coop?" asked the man In the lobby, yesterday. He didn't turn away from His newspaper. He sat In the leather chair, with His trumpet case at his feet Like his best friend. His hair Like dendrites. His suit Palazzo red. The veins In his temple were forget- Me-knots. "Not that my Conductor has sympathy For me, these days, or even Tea for me these days. Makes you wonder--like, How many hours did My father devote To playing piano In his local cinema As against his less glam- Porous gig as an astronaut? Was mother really? A music-hall starlet Or just a physicist?" I shrugged as the hotelier Handed me the mail That sits on my deal dresser. In the roof garden Across from me, camisoles Glow like polestars On the ocean. Bells ring And school children fill The playground, one voice Lighting another voice. An Indian sultan Walks with the King of Portugal. They discuss the ghostly Lexemes upon which Reality is built. Coney catchers Cover their pointed heads In pillowcase sacks. They look Beautiful. In the commons The translators meet To plant their walking sticks In the mud. The bell rings. I smell the tree in the axe. On the wall, a photo Of the old elevated train Passing through the heart Of this neighborhood, These houses, over the black Slate roofs, shaking the picture On the wall. I hide my bones In a pulse of sunbeam. Curtains go up, down, and Here's the score: live silence. The El Cortez Hotel, Reno, Nevada