Jacqueline Lyons

Not a Vague Province



Where I am very early in the morning
           and sometimes late at night

Waking to the quietest hum, no matter
where the door, chair, light from somewhere

How often do you come here?

Every time I do (dance, dance, dance, drink, drink)

           too far to walk, an hour for a cab

Passing a bottle of tequila
           at the “It’s Nearly Africa” party
                      the Chilean poet whispers in my ear
                                                                   “Why are we here?”

Fellow traveler

Heaven is a place       where nothing ever happens

When I bring my friend coffee in bed
she rubs her eyes and asks
           “Am I in a hotel?”

One “here”
           a place where people vote against
           bilingualism and a new library

another “here”
           where everyone rides a bicycle

where wild fennel grows along the road

           collecting it one startles a sleeping deer.




How long do you stay?

Until I leave
until a CLOSED sign grows familiar
           something to correct then forget

           leaves fall and stay fallen

I extended my stay in one place
because of greetings
           that included questions about origin and destination

                      happens exactly the same

At the airport
           “Tell her where we were. Tell her where we were!”
           “She knows where we were, she knows where.”

                      a place where nothing
                      nothing ever happens

           “Where were you?”

Exiting the parking garage, $5 due, the attendant says
           only $2                      if I win at rock-paper-scissors

            paper wraps rock

                       (I lived three years in an enclave)

I tip the attendant a dollar
                                             Exit West

and we’ll dance all night long.




In middle-of-the-night open and empty aisles
daytime bar crowds, enough for sound and heat

Alone              among

What time of year.

Time of time

           a full round of counting up and down the light

reds                or greens

place makes more time, or less,
faster or slower, not counting

           getting there and back

No place without its weather

A cello player in an open plaza
ribbon-curls the winter air with sound

One place became forever summer holiday

miracle, anomaly
           and a place

                       allergy, slumber, single bloom

           a place where all this happens.




How long did it take you to get here.

In the house where I was small
           I imagined       more                          room(s)
                      (a second stairway)

recently arriving at a different “here”

           a long time coming

On the first day
I found a piece of paper that said SKY
           and put it in my purse

A series of stops and starts     and occasional
           flow, fluidity
                                  stoplight crosswalk tram
           that together have velocity

A fence down the middle makes two smaller places

The sign said   No Trespassing
But on the other side   It didn’t say nothin’     Oh, This Land...

The traffic acting exactly like a charged sky

Familiar squeal

then a silence like something sucking up all the sound
           then the crash

The brilliant scarlet sunset that led me outside
hugging myself and smiling

           an effect of a devastating forest fire yesterday
                      two states over

After the crashaccident           walking away
past alarm to where the air
           was unwrecked space where I was

everyone calling to me, saying it was too far to walk

           and I kept walking.




How did you travel.

Well and by foot
           and sometimes afraid

the body not flailing while falling
           trying to right itself to land

I came to know a new here by walking it

           Forty months traveling within the same city

And again a crash, a crash at the intersection
at the intersection where the cross traffic
           the cross traffic does not stop

Cars, on the ground, so close together
raised a little off the earth

in stopped traffic I look up to see

in rooms I’m not daydreaming, I’m looking out the window
           at clouds
                      which are        in all ways

From above, my hand large beside a mountain range
           over a river’s pattern of meander
                                                                     Green Space

In a place sometimes wronged by drought

           I felt right as rain

on this block, no church interrupting the sun

           next block, instead of grass
                      pumpkin vines and corn stalks, sunflowers and tomatoes

           raised a little off the earth

sometimes, again, a crash                    then nothing

           then, again, right as rain
                      right as falling                right as RAIN falling from the SKY

           some things living where they fall.



Return to Volume 5.2






All files © 2005-2012 Blood Orange Review