the actual earth


in collaboration with Lancelot Runge


Mad Tower

the marshy hinterland, the train

heaved its vacant-minded passengers

to tumble like so many rag dolls

a boy noted tops of heads over high seat backs

he turned towards the window and watched

a crumbling infrastructure, a faint blurry foreground

and a slowly wheeling background

large electrical pylons rose tan

pitted concrete footings to loom light

dense into the clear blue sky wires crisscrossed

haphazardly in every direction hung, thick
and jointed, anchored by massive rusted turnbuckles
vacant lots bore sign of demolitions
clear paths grazed by machine behemoths
devouring derelict shot towers
dead tires in the shallow waters of the marsh
detritus so thick he wondered

if the marsh was not rooted in soil
but in the castings-off of the world about it

floating aloft a trio of birds, predatory

circling in tight arcs to the south

their wings were long and graceful

they traced the gentle vectors of their
descent towards that unreal wetland

a well-tended discussion
oh hi this is, but then to never have

a fraction of printer mechanisms and
light tapping tipping of timid torrents
he leaned back and then; or



a hollow crack, an ersatz belch, an electrical panel

a gilded shower of sparks to light the dim recesses

poised as if an icon; gentle symbolic blessing near to chin
eyes closed, head wreathed in the hot gold of electricity made manifest

a whore come to relieve the desperations of a leprous underground

curse softly but smile


Mad Tower II 

most other electricians found working

the dark dank sub-cellars to be beneath their station

Tomlin reveled in the sweet smelling oils

the satisfying pop of electrical sockets perpetually failing
her grey-blue electrician’s garb
the echoes of the board resounding about her shoulders

the thick bundles of wire that hung vine-heavy

the labyrinthine service platform
became especially hot without a deck

It was only a moment for her to caress the panel
with her knowing and nimble fingers
that the work was done

electricians bristled at working in this space
and fumbled with the work for nearly an hour,
and this was accepted amongst Local
Tomlin, then, had plenty of time to wander the deep

absorbing the puddles of condensation

from the unit condensers, covered in thick algae

she absorbed the steam that slowly wound

through the catwalks breathing the putrid air
deeply into her lungs grateful for

a sense of anything other than the constantly moving

slightly cool air of the tower above

it was unfathomable to her that anyone could stand it there
for more than a day at a time without respite

wallowing in the tower’s perfection

bordered on pathological

a sense of awe consumed senses so entirely

that any deviation there-from was utter blasphemy

Tomlin does away with portions of her psyche
that call her to tear down the sacrosanct edifice

under the glacial folds a picture

is drawn twice, the same

but othered by itself

a policeman guards an empty


abandoned in the

night, in the day, in the always-bright

scattered rocks, many, neither


the actual earth

the gravitational pull of other people

the gravity,

the grave,

to be grave is to be dead,


she laughs in a land of overbaked bread

waiting for the faces of slumbering

giants in the mountains

leaving the lot of men

to leap arm in arm

into the sea of the sky

and let

mossy purchases be their lazy graves

nimble land but

not generous

allowable grievances and refusals

craggy woods, drown on

sharp rocks

in pools of vapor and



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