by Ryan Buynak
I find my hope here without fire nights.
and shadow eyeballs.
on the edge of your forest.
this is the place where teachers disappear.
ferns grow invisible.
brown grows black.
and guesses grow grey.
for things like ladies.
forgotten frog friends live in sandwiches.
and I am late for work, all the time.
if. if. if. if. if. if. if. if. if.
you are a century cliff-hanger.
I don’t know a good goddamn salad day.
your thing captures my thing.
the backyard is now west and full of mudbugs.
attention is careful.
I keep my eyes on you.
you watch your way.
street toes and cacti.
I am still a fool.
so are you.
become your favorite.
0 thoughts on “white batteries”
This is a mood piece built on isolated particulars that may not consecutively connect. Each line–each detail–is separated by a period, even though some go on to make a sentence. There’s a point to this: each hits like a hammer on the reader’s head, as it probably did the poet’s, making a distinct impression. Look at lines 6-10. They’re connected but discrete. Ominously, uncertainly.
The poem is “the place where teachers disappear.” We can’t be taught what it means except by the moody, disjunctive consciousness that has set the lines down. “For things like ladies” is instructive, however, telling us that each thing here may be considered a neutered object, an alienating feeling or event.
Half way through it gets into a relationship, but warily. “I keep my eyes on you. you watch your way…. I am still a fool. so are you.” I see this as the poet coming closer to the reader until the first two items mentioned–“white batteries,” “cold catalogs”–“become your (our) favorite;” if the poem succeeds. Which I think it does, because such things we couldn’t favor. We share that dislike with the poet. In this case, the poet’s thing “captures” our thing. What’s the thing, the mood? Uncertainty, doubt (“if.if.if.if.if.if.if.if.if.”) in all instances.