Individual Voices / Natural Forms

Winter, 2006

Brendan Constantine

Big Sky

I dreamt it was raining guns. I don't mean the air
was filled with gunfire, but the sound of guns
falling on the house and through windows
to pile on the floor. I could hear them thunking
against cars, triggering alarms which were all
but drowned out. They must have all been empty,
the guns I mean, because none of them fired
and though I've never owned one, I understand
they can go off on their own if kept loaded.
Toward the end I watched a band of painted Indians
careen down my street, the braves and their mustangs
crying out as they fled the impossible storm. I woke
to a Russian opera on television. This was followed
by the news where the weatherman said a system
had passed over the city during the night but no rain
had been reported. Today would be clear.
And so it was. I worked at my desk, mailed letters,
and later bought a newspaper. One headline read
Lili was a hurricane, whirling through Cuba, smashing
homes and bending palm trees like cocktail straws,
but I learned all that later. At the time I thought
of the morning's music, of pistol whipped
horses elaborating into the great Lily Pons
performing the Rose And The Nightingale.
I could see her, dead as sheet music since 1976,
now recomposed, rising out of the sea perhaps,
to frighten Havana with her white soprano.
Just once I would like to turn on the television
to a report of dead artists rising from their graves
and taking the streets, police and soldiers fleeing
like children when their guns had no effect. I would
turn up the sound, lock my door, and make coffee.
The people who report the news always look
a little dazed, as though each day they learn
again they must make the truth pleasant.
They even dress like they're at parties. I want to
see them in what I'm wearing: an untucked shirt,
a pair of jeans, sneakers, no make-up. As though
they've just been out buying a paper and now
are sharing what they've read. Feathers
and war paint would be an improvement.
I don't know if Indians wore paint very often
or named their children for they're affinities,
the way they used to in movies, but I might not
feel like such a target if newspeople lived that way.    
Good evening, I'm Drives Two Cars - and I'm Eats
Like A Bird - the Six O'Clock New begins now.
Painter Francisco Goya, considered the Father
of Modern Art, rose from his tomb this afternoon
and went on a rampage, defacing buildings
and blocking traffic for hours. Now with the weather
here is Never Looks At The Sky.