Mark Wallace



Four untitled poems from The End of America, Book 8

Overblown metal detector flycatcher rat man
                  clear plastic shirt flapping

         in sandy beach air, focuses his
                  housing-demon infused dementia—

I'm washed up
                  in some gargantuan
                           factory fresh dream

         visioning equality
which benefits my
         side just a bit,

         see-sawing through the practical
                  terms for
                  adding and splitting

No one wants to be
         the lonely old woman or man leaning
                  on rocks carefully
                           arranged above the beach        adjust to the right
                           angle to feel poignant

People trying to escape

                  being that one, no other

         the possible always skirted
                  with impossible boundaries

in which so much
         can happen and so
                           much can't

                  Vast electrical charge
                           bone, muscles and skin

         that thrives by wearing
                           itself out
                                    the familiar spark
                                    its own flaring
                                             up and vanishing

         What can it do
                  even to mention it

         Wanting to walk there
                           with you
                           to know it too?





Home is where
                  I hide out, guns drawn
         waiting for Adobe Flash Player

                  or a phone call to slip
                                    abstract money out of my abstract

                           image of myself. Tried to define

         a tree and realized
                           I don't know much about

                  whose terms I've been
                           borrowing to steal some fire-

         breathing into a complacent
                           system just for getting

everything over with.
What would Captain Kirk do?

                                             In this space
                                                      ship I should be saving

                                    The people inside
                                                      who try to explore

                                             Still I'm asking what
                                                      it costs to imagine

                                    any universe burgeoning

                                    beyond the limits it knows

I don't mind you living
                           in your body
                  except the ceiling's pushing lower

         inside this little mini-
                                    van filled with overpriced
                           non-working gadgets.

         Fresh peaches
                  in the morning won't

                  and not much else

         This offer, its managerial savvy

                           from a couple guys in cowboy gear

         may fund armies in the golden
                  triangle international
                                             funds exchange
         I've still
                           lost the beautiful moment
                                    touching my forehead

                           to the stars

                           that weren't much more
                           than operatives with a budget

         who taught me how
                           to set up accounts

                  and watch the money

                                    come in in smaller

chunks than would even

                  be worth defending






Seeking a little
                  restrained horror
         with a noirish Southern California

                           real estate scam

suitable for reframing a private
                  crumbling vision

                           Community Resource Center
                                             in a drop down

                  last chance menu

                  before the highway goes double
                           wide right through the breastbone

in-bred sonic isolation
                  that roars good when it catches

         your dreams with their pants
                           down around your neighbor's ankles

How badly do you want
                           to live

                  to feel your skin pressed against

                           the vanishing surfaces
                                                   big fog

                  pushing in over the empty
                                    rebuilt beach front

mansions and three-room condos
                  could be metaphor

         the aging body

                  without ever saying

how each is caught
                  up in the other

         Alone another form of connection
                           that regulation attempts

                  to label in an ownership

                           My breath, your eyes,

         tidy quiet suburban afternoon
                           inside a swath cut

                  by carefully organized

Take a little cancer sample
                           your tongue's underside

                           officially permitted

         replacement for a learning moment
                           about anything going on

down at the speedway, bets are placed
         Exxon in five, no mojo for Kabul

Up on the hill, grasses blow
                  until they're kindling-dry

         and some thirsty boy


         lights them like he thinks he's the universe






New countries get old
                           fast as legal rights

         can be stripped
                  out of any gung-ho document barreling

through people-funded government that funds
                  those same corporations you're

                           stuck in the 5 p.m.
                  traffic watching, cars hurtling from the glass

                  windowed, late construction functional
                           office park       inflated product thinking

         in dying moist light
                           the fog looks exactly
                                             like smoke
                  from burning buildings

                  Stop a moment and pick
                           your teeth, clean the sweat

                  off the files you find yourself
                           holding regarding a

         who's allowed to go on
                           serving parents and teaching students

These lotteries a little short
                  on people        Bundled cash

         may itself be the ticket

                           for pursuing yourself
                                    branded, resting

         on laurels and easy deals
                           that inflame a West-East

                  split whose discomfort
                           is comforting, graspable

                  like the notion that we're
                                    each the center of our own

                                                      epic, the epicenter
                                                      of an earth that comes

         landsliding down the mountain
                                    wanting it that way

                  Hold on, there's only one
                           of each of the others

         on this two-month tape
                  playing repeatedly

                  in the so-inclined heads

                  gearing up to run
                                    a world straight

         against its own best dreams