Pencil Dust

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Indomitable as a sovereign species

progress draws its discordant lines

straight through the rhythms of my days

move…

A bucolic bovine sound?

Or a swarm of ooooooo’s

persistent and indicative of shove?

five toothbrushes

pail of sponges

caustic powders

poisonous sprays

My disciples of progress

grooming the delicate interstices of

refrigerator seal

baseboard cracks

faucet edge

I wash the wood and plaster body

My thoughts anointing and releasing

each surface that held the poems, the remnants, the family,

the guests, the conversations, the discipline that twisted time

into sailor’s knots and tied dreams into a body of words

able to float in this deluge of constant progress

This particular move (one of too many to count)

This wood and plaster body

that held me disciplined within panes of glass

where I grew words into lines, into paragraphs, into pages, into life

enclosed in winter and summer solitude behind the glass

Erasing all outward signs of a life

We have nothing in common

this place and I

We have nothing now in common

except the fine pile of pencil dust

intentionally left behind

scrumbled raw into the grains of wood

in the floor of my kitchen

Finished, I set the keys on the counter

leaving progress

behind

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The past few weeks have been a scramble. In mid March my landlady informed me that she is downsizing, selling her house, which she has run as a Bed and Breakfast, and will be moving into my apartment! In a city with a 1% vacancy rate, after 3 years tenancy, she asked that I be out in 34 days. She also holds my last month’s rent and a considerable security deposit. She apparently needs to legalize the fact that she has three units behind the house that she successfully rents by the day, week, or month through Air B&B. This is illegal in this city unless the owner lives on the premises. If caught this may incur a $500 a day fine. I think she still may not be in full compliance because two of the units are unattached, but she’s getting closer to her cash flow.

I beat the deadline she set by ten days. Sanctuary! I am now back in the garden….

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Noh mask: Acrylic and graphite on black paper….  j.h.white

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