emergency almanac - summer 2003
by Anastasios Kozaitis



We measure here from there

                                             To triangulate a trip or two.

We book a sleeper to sway away the time among the cars.





                                                                                     Winds and wheels


                              Whisper a transcontinental lullaby—

                                                            —An elegy for the dead railway workers.


                                                                                          I can hear the polyglotic

                                                                           Melancholic we miss you babies

                                                                                          In a dark demilitarized zone ode:


                                                            An immigrated dirge

                                                            Cracking into lines on the rough palms

                                                            Holding the heavy hammer handles.


Steel dropped down.

               Steel dropped down

                              On to the earth and all its ruddy grooves.


                                                            Speed lost nothing among the dead.


                                                            Before the plainness of plains,

                                                            Before an archipelagic threshold,

                                                            Before a cell pool,

                                                            We roll shut the cabin’s doors

                                                            Rocking away from sleep.


                                                            Janus watches both directions

                                                            As we set off.





We placed the vellum on the table

               And on the ventral chart

                              We dropped our points

                                             On corresponding axes.

                              Theatrical markers

               Impart a donor and oocyte

Somewhere in Edinburgh.


               The loving shock of Cybele:

               Maybe, baby.


                              We will skip from Sicily

                                             Islands  one    two      three

                                                            Before we get to Ithaka.

                                                                           For Dolly carried us out

                                                                                          Of Polyphemus’ cave.

                                                                           She died before we reached the shore.

                                                                           Anterior to the ship,

                                                                           She dropped.

                                                                                          A lateral disposition

                                                                           And we superior from the deck.

                                                            Off we went

                                             Nobodies in Ionian waves,

                              Bluer than the neutral parchment

               Our wake opens.





A journey’s eschatology

                                             Lies buried in a Babylon we seek.

               “We gonna walk through the roads

                              Of creation”

                                             Target every square km

                                             Of a surgically dissected Baghdad.


The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers,

                                             Mesopotamia’s optic nerves,

Wash into An Nasiriyah,

               The watershed where commissure

                              Holds sight.


               Babylon by bus,


               Let the U2s see to it that their bull’s eyes fill with red

                              So that the missiles will find them to break their joints.


               A tumor attaches to the bone of a peninsula.


                                             Between the rivers

                                             The marks we dropped down

                                             Guide us

                                             Toward malignancy.


                                             We end the only way we know,

                                             With an unknown endtime to an ending.