the Emergency Almanac text / art double issue...winter 2003 / summer 2004

Bryan Tomasovich

Clouds Empty Light

Clouds Empty Light

Face it, a good many of our dead return
in the distance clouds travel in a year...
the cycle of a cloud-year, not mock belonging
to the land, like my believing
I've come home to stay.

I groan under hard work
that makes me lucky, while the billowing dead

hurry to the Lake, pedal, burst, and conflate.
I do not think the clouds will empty to earth
all their light before I leave this town again.
My homecoming...

the opposite of hypocondria?

                                            I lean
against the old brewery and the light surrounds
us not from the sun, but clouds. My brazen
brain is related to the old grandfolks
who once lived up the street.

Now evening
denies the clean shelter of human sense.

Rising clouds and sunset umbrage, how they filter
the light and where is the glint but ribbons
of old trolley tracks embedded in the road?
On the old brewery hill once the streetcar
bent the corner around.

The dead in clouds...or spiders in cobwebs?

An alleycat yawns and his mouth is a picture
of our hearts; touch him where he's not mangy
and hear the inflated leap of a "snake dance."

Light from clouds, anabiosis that rinses
the angry chores from the river, it frees
me so I can ask what it does foretell.

Steam shovels haul poison silt locked to the dam by generations
of papermaking. The dam is deconstructed now
and in the future the river will rectify
the spillway, the burble gurgle river replace
hurdy gurdy dam.

Constantly (under clouds today) the river is
redirected and the rain loosens
its most symmetrical hard work while

a lone fisherman

casts and cranks his crazy songs to the catfish;
each monster pulled from the water he calls
the daddy, the mommy, the baby and when the torque
of his cheap aluminum rod exceeds certainty, the metal
snaps and gouges his hand
he calls the fish "granddaddy."

The lone fisherman speaks a lot of new immigrant
language then, pets the cat I followed
to the river; he strokes the fur with a bloody hand.

"Always something aching" he explains the cat to me
in English while he feeds
the namesake guts to him.

A glint of garbage rises from the offal of the river
fish; the dead constantly empty light to earth.

O in what vernacular, and what
                                  to explain next?