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Monday, February 14, 2005

The House at Heart by Jake Berry 

for Bridget, Valentine’s Day 2005

Do you remember
how we entered this house
before Time swallowed us?

The house we build inside this one

where I fold the clothes,
sweep the floor
fuss over the dishes,
patch the light and broken doors,
where our thoughts swarm around us
and set the cadence of the day –

Where our voices, dreams and memories,
hanging in these rooms like incense
with their attendant ghosts,
simultaneously kin and alien,
pour light in comfortable sloughs
and let us believe we are alone.

Where you blanket the bed
with newspapers, magazines, and a book in hand,
and I wonder at the miracle of these long prostrations
in a soft sea of linen and disheveled words –
The plot thickens, the heroine escapes,
the book is over. But there are articles to read,
endless catalogs and a season’s fashions to discover,
and the imbroglio of film noir television –
a nurse’s rest from stressed decisions



Where I see fossil eyes in the ceiling,
or, hovering in the kitchen air,
that recoil when you notice –
or they are dreaming you forward
out of the desire suspended
in an impulsive gesture –
the way you move your hands
through a black cat’s fur,
or the scraps of yarn you trail from your knitting
like discarded feathers.


It is the song of these Others
we disregard in our closed routines –
but we wear their faces
and bear their blood
into an impossible future.
They saturate the house’s shadowing places,
of a different order
in the Complexities and traces of black cords
and secret veins that innervate what Real is.

We are bodies here
and we must dance and love
and interweave the shapes and spaces
in a reservoir of flesh –
it’s blind mercies, depths and tides,
that take us down
violated and baptized into a body’s cool gnosis.
We pass through one another wet and hungry,
but no more Real
than these Others shine and gather
in the cat’s twilit eye
or drink our dreams
to taste again what heart and nerves
and breathing means.

This house
where we make our Being
is true
in all its forms and concentrations
of wood and glass and
the objective weight of its furnishings –
but the diaphanous congregation
gives the Real its music,
wrapt inside the brooding serenity
of our all cluttered talk and nesting
in the quiet habitation
of effortless infinity

Jake Berry 2.14.05

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