by Mark Sargent

“Waiting is addictive.” Javier Marías

I don’t have to do

what ten people tell me to,

I’m just sittin’ on a chair by the fire

watchin’ the time slowly expire.

Inventing the real, if you will,

susceptible to stimulation,

the excitatory traces flickering—

sunlight in wood released and venting

upward into the big empty

which is full to bursting and

stifling a yawn over our

pleasure gestures and craving—

the temporariness…


In the attic is a magpie’s den

where the totems are stored,

inventoried, replaced.

Magpie talks an order-less list

chak-chak, chak-chak, but pipes

when breeding as do females of the

sub-Dorian Tayegetan Tor, who

tend to be confident and perky when

they descend to the Lakonian lowlands

in late Winter for rough wet mating

in the reed beds along the Evrotas.

I have heard them there and oft thought

the need of that call sings to few.

Do other birds even note?

I merely listen, a creature who

pauses to consider: the terrain, the weather,

the lubricant moment, the authenticity

of desire.


For everything is invented, wrenched

from confusion rather than comprehension,

from sensory scramble and the logic of roulette,

but what is the word for it? Sponk?

Ruminate? Gadzooks? Kebab?

“Marriage is a narrative institution.” Javier Marías

Xtreme prolapsus.

Not fitting anywhere,

a herniated squeeze, rupture push

air pressure manipulate.

Who belongs where they are?

And how? How belong?

To be the property of your environment

especially as appendage,

how does that work?

But there’s no truth to it,

what you see about you,

you’re seconds and years late

and everything is altered

from your most recent invention.


Out the window there is a large flock of sheep

and they are staring up at me, waiting

for a word or a song, a puzzle

to set their wee minds a whirl.

Mmmaaaaaaaaahhhhh, baaabatta mah

bada bada baaaaaahhhhh mabah mabah bah!

It’s tough scatting in sheep, try it, and even

if you were good at it the sheep wouldn’t give a shit.

Actually, that’s all they give,

but it doesn’t appear to be conscious,

just dribbles out of their ass,

it’s a grasp to consider it applause.


Take some paint and a brush

and go outside and paint a rock,

any old stone will do.

Now observe as the elements have

their way with the paint.

They ain’t in a hurry,

everything advances the dissolution

and it is all hinged on time.

Now take the ‘t’ outta paint.

The Buddhists tell us that attachment/desire

is the core cause of suffering

and you don’t need to be a lama

to sort the truth of that.

What I’ve found is

that if you pay attention

the sufferings of a lifetime

tend to burn away desire

and leave the rock, the stone

the material thing.

Rock, weather,

it’s not about choice.

I can’t rue what ten people tell me to

so I guess I’ll remain this tame,

sittin’ on a chair by the fire

watchin’ the long slow burn of desire.

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