Mercedes Webb-Pullman

The High Mesa

– the plane of shapes or experience –


I’m wary of some particular minds.


When they hazard a guess I refuse to concede.


My mother has come inside to take down curtains: Blackout.
            I’m outside everyday, ageless
            pushing scoops into water
            on the high mesa
            to separate gold from dross . . .


For some it’s ‘the peak’ or ‘the top’ or ‘pinnacle’ –


She’s not practised at dismantling circumstances.
Wide-eyed, I hear she’s either a 10
or a 1 who always gets it right ... alchemy
black curtains, retorts, flame/flame, flame/flame ...
The moon is perfection that can’t work.


The scoop, then the sand, then the gold riffled from sluice
            boxes in the freezing cold
            of the high mesa –


she sings my nickname:
it depresses me; it’s years since my toilet training; china
bubbles on the bathroom wall, the potty seat
unused in the corner. This gold
has no facets at all. The past tense cheers me. Once
the ice melts I’ll get
to the top of the mesa. The solid
rock band has been obliterated
for failure into sand.


If thinking comes from belief
scooping saucers into water
is not where I am at.


            Growing up is the only high point.
            When I sing, geese gaggle.


She takes down curtains, her many-folded humming, if she
stands head on she dominates. Collecting handkerchiefs. (She
calls me out by my nickname)


Lethargy deepens, it’s over the ears, its silence
means you must start making sense ...


the solid rock band –
oh, even if I heard them
            I wouldn’t let go of her breasts.


Letting go is the last resort of age. Letting go
of highways in the distance – Welcome Stranger (hand hand hand)
– but nothing has meaning yet. Death may be less boring
than talking your way through it.


The salamander hardens if handled
continuously; black asterisks retreat past the ears;
your gold on silver foil like semen and sweat.


            Earthquakes will shake out the sky
            but solid can be worse; waves carve


the rock band into stones;


            realised mind empties earlier (in arms
            against) slices of space,
            girls with precise disorderly feet; cries, maybe
            it spells diploma.


I’m wary of some particular minds. Particularly,
those I once loved. (Belonging to that decade, none of us ... )


Courteous enemies and malicious friends, drunk in the north
with riverbanks on either side ... the rock band’s
portrait is forgotten now; let go –
let grammar go with the south paw, context
with the error;


not even 3,000 hours earlier, a particular
safety, the old tried cure and enjoyment
of moving forward
unconvinced this is
the way to die, despite
not having died before –


to fail what could only be imagined.


I import drums of compounds
            to show her; outside
            sorrow fades
            in precise shapes,
            the road away,
            the same air –
... you never


like yourself much anyway, run into a huddle of others, flee
from time that seems nothing like an instant.


            You dislike them leaving, and when
            they visit you feel trapped in stone.








                                    It’s just that it’s too late
                                    to sing – what shall I say?

                                                – Leave gently, it whispered.

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