Author Joseph Heywood
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Sisu
[June 29, 1994]

1.
Third year on the doling swank,
the off-road time and walkabout,
a down-shifter at midlife,
I spend my days in glooey mudge,
hiking redishers and the nettle fronds
nor-by-norwest, the old way,
disdaining digitalic doodletraps,
my nose for orange water,
the bubbly-tumble brookling of knives
Notigpekago, Place of Skulls
boned clean by centuries,
our common future.

The wickiup forest hinged by sky
for bumbershooting, earth
phloop-drifted by sand-winderings,
rotted afoot, snow-sunk, arisen,
become a perfumery of pungent humus
clinging like plastic wrap
on an endomorphic wanjrur,
Julip-air you can drink
like your own slippy sweat,
dog days under scattering horsetails.

Warbled one morning among
the Hmoung and with the Kirtlands
up by Mack Lake, ducking two-leggers,
getting counted as a breeding male,
seeking meaning in the over-passers,
down know-my-own chindits
nicked secretly by surplus machete,
like me, self-sharpened
in my own holster,
bargain-bought snicker-snack
from Kim-Kim the ROK, squared-Kim,
Kim-and-Again, Fellow Traveler.

2.
Swam-dawdled in the Ocker Sea,
western fringe of Ozland, redsandland
graced by bread-pincers and Minnie Munchers
cast off from Pomgolia,
swam with a willow woman, tanned,
in the Rubenesque line,
a trash-talker, lust-fisher,
nakedly ladled brackwater
on her sun-cooked freckles,
heard her chant the nellygang
of want-peter, bugle the rogering call
most close to what you hear
North, fifteen thousand miles,
I reckon,
in the rye flats east of Elk Hill
near Vanderbilt.

Addicted carnally, she was quik
to say, and life, having lived
fatly once as a banker's chattel
before fling-flunging herself
off the assets of the ingot juggler,
on an architect,
pinched in congress
outside the connubial contract,
committed by the White-Whigs
of the Hi-Highjudgehall
to pharmaceutical naps,
left to lounge
cat-eyed and empty
in a backless paper robe
among rubber walls and
other churlish girlies, sister chuckers
ruled pots before the mast: 
What woman shucks spendy-cash,
the sheer cush of the money wall
for something trivial as freedom?

But chucked it she did, straightaway mite,
had her lost times, same as mysteries’Aggie,
hours first, then weekends,
up to months, the addiction
of lust rediscovered,
flung her fling and all,
she was full-on
before me and she became us
to live raw on roo and woo
at the edge of Oz, Planet Earth.
Lasted its time, free-agented,
no promises, we hung in the west
at Monkey Mia, independent contractors
swimming with bottle nose porpii, browning
like oiled chicken flesh under Ozian sun
wild-winders, gotten off, getting off,
conspicuous copulation,
sand-skating the fringe world
with sulfur-crested cockatoos
and snake-smackers, kookaburras,
under the thump of didgeriedo,
the night-laughers watching us
joined as Shakespeare
put it, beasting with a single back,
sweaty, content.

3.
Neoprene sucky-stuck to sticky-sweat legs,
I foot-pick through henna-colored
water, acidic precipitate of cedars
the color of blood in a drizzle,
looking for my sapphire gal,
six racing feet of blue blur,
she sun-dozes over waves
of skunk cabbage,
hung like my willow woman's
randy-dandies, blue bunting
strung through limbs of barkless dogwood,
a windfall in half-life of rot,
certainty for her, she lifts her head
to sense my passing, gives tongue,
hisses with satisfaction of shared solitude.

The air here, below, saunaish,
steamy as El Junque,
pressed close, sulfuric,
vapor-making,
even the scrub oaks sweat,
leaving the wind above
on the ridge
second-guessing
a master second-guesser
intent on German browns.
I insist myself on rivers
and life when it suits me.

4.
Chingchungkwan, central island,
Chang's then,
western stone-clouds eat our
metal birds, a war world pure
as nine nines,
I watch a noseknocker somersault,
see the mushroom of black fire
burgeon, the pilot crispy-crittered,
still strapped to the rocket seat,
well-done China meat with tendrils steaming,
his eyes on mine, flashing.  Why?
The wind.  Zen of bad luck
to land short in concrete moguls
at high airspeed and angle of attack.
I think.  More risk in speed than lack,
the violent smack, not the stall,
the cause of death consistent,
impact, except when cooked by
Zen.  To not live is the bad life.

5.
I have seen men gravitate over moonsand
in quicksilver suits, and Elvis,
before he left the building, waddling,
snake-snacked my way
through the Middle Kingdom,
drunk the blood of kraits to keep
my peter perky, squid guts with
bone chips, played for table stakes
and won, dream now only
of the Snowfly, a secret caddis
that rises in the Notikpekago
once a century
when the snow is thick as crusted sponge
and the smell froze out of life.
Hoarfrost on my glasses,
my nosehairs thick as breakie-brittle,
I depend on anticipation to warm me,
wading upstream through steam serpents
roll-casting the heads and tails,
a searching pattern, an old story.

She says, twenty-thousand ins and outs
to a customer, you're using all yours
tonight.  When the snowflies hatch
I sit on a rock and smoke,
thinking sometimes we pass through
the point before it reveals itself.
My father dying, raises up,
asks, how do you know, the Virgin Mary
and all?  Somebody's map, I say, about the
best we can hope for,
that and the thing inside that acts like
a compass and goes by the name of hope.
I crave the cold and snow
and wet coupling on hot sand,
wanting it all, what the Finns call sisu,
refusal to bend
to anything,
ever.


 
 
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