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from "Oracle" [by Loren Goodman and Aspen Matis]

Loren Goodman Aspen Matis

 

Loren Goodman and Aspen Matis have embarked on a collaboration in verse which they have titled "Oracle." It is a singularly fruitful encounter, often taking the form of a question-and-answer session. Sometimes, watching a dance number in a movie musical, you can tell that the players are having a wonderful time -- knowledge that enhances your own appreciation of the proceedings. Such is the case here  -- DL

 "Oracle" (part II)

May I ask where you’re from?
My mother will not tell me.
May I ask your address?
Please do, go right ahead
Can you make out my accent?
My suspicion is you’re not French. 

Are you a scientist?
I’m not a scientologist
Are you a magician?
Well, I have a Magic 8-Ball.
Would you describe your eyes?
Full of laughter, abyss-like
What are your plans?
To paint my apartment lilac.

Do you have an ambition?
I wish to be painted
Could you recommend an artist?
My stranger is a great one.
What color are you after?
The one I could never chase down

What’s good for sore legs?
Pressure, but not too pointed. 
What’s given you soreness?
That fact that I’m double-jointed.
Do you believe in acupuncture?
My roommate is a believer, but I’m afraid of needles. 
Are you by chance a doctor?
Mostly by chance, with a little hard work

What should I do when I feel afraid?
Move closer to the border
Between sleep and hallucination, but gently. 
How do you recognize love?
Close up or from afar, with patient intensity
Can you advise on this further?
I am no expert in these matters, but I think
Crevasses and faith and blindness all relate,
Or so goes the conventional mythology.

Are you still in Paris?
No, I’m on the horizon
Do you have any travel plans?
I want to touch the ocean floor, but not in darkness.
How do I get to the horizon? 
Horizontally speaking, I think you’re already there.

Are you familiar with Jacques Cousteau?
Only with his red beanie and his smile.
Tell me something truer?
I’ll tell you the truth, if you give me the dare
What question will you ask next?
The most important one of all, the one inside
Every other: do you know Cal Trask? 

I believe he is related to Adam & Eve
Did he go to Cal Tech?
No, he wasn’t a college boy. 
Think I should trust him?
Thou mayest.


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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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