carl kelleher



As tonight arrives


If when tonight arrives           with friends
or with laughter ebbing to evoke you      
   even with burnished or burnt offerings
       & if upon wondering then
the advice of our dreams usually being         
            what people make of you

if now death seems    
again in the red leaves rising silently back to teach you      
 just to be near      
& almost be alone
   in all these changes now around us

it’s really about beginning with
the tenderness of our hair & someone else’s words &
so that  you would remember how all of
your friends have arrived & then disappeared though
they had been or were
some charming
the power to make
all of us do literally anything
whatever they would
it gives you
this terrible feeling you’ve really done something finally

& so also in all these funny green outside
lamps & fast clouds
disappearing lastingly into
lies & seems to recognize no one at all
to smile & know not what these evenings are
or even could be about
in every way now except one & those of your marvelous
tears are a but a cold black pond now
& we get this way too




The Perfect World


One woman with one leg
Is walking out of a café
That doesn’t exist;
She places a pair
Of dark sunglasses
In front of two eyes
Staring at ten people
Dividing on the corner;
She will fade in
The multiplying crowd
And vanish next to the next
Crowd of ten
That hurry to meet
Ten imaginary people
In surprise,
The same ten who,
In their dreams last night,
Were building two buildings
For ten real people
In random intervals of five.

One man plots one graph
From X street
To Y building
With ten prime numbers
On the front
Of the side
In which one hundred people
Look out the window
Into one point
In time and space
Successively subtracting itself
And adding itself
In the same moment
From one place that is ceasing to exist,
To one thousand
Moments that aren’t
Even possibly thinkable now,
Because it isn’t real—
It isn’t fake, a whole
Half, a double, or another,
Not a factor, a power, or a root:
It’s nothing,
Simply because the one woman
With one leg
Hasn’t appeared yet.




Furniture Music


To forget what you love is important, certainly; no one could get by without doing this.  Like when it is snowing and the conversation stops, you walking to an open window letting the light out, like forgetting something and remembering it was unimportant.

But are snowflakes a kind of music, or like many little leaves, or like small hands waving back to you, as if in leaving, like when a love goes?  Certainly we will all walk in it to forget, and this lightens us, it reminds us of what is unimportant, which is a conversation no one can get by without having.

For getting what you love is important, but no one may buy it without undoing its importance.  Yet certainly a little music may help you when the conversation has stopped.  Or when it is snowing, and a lover has come to the window: remember to open it, but do not forget it’s unimportant.  Or it may be a kind of music when you’ve turned out the light, or like many little leaves we all walk on to forget, and this no one can get by without doing, or having it done.  Certainly all our loving is mostly forgetting.

Or is it many small hands that are waving, as if in leaving, letting their love go, but remembering it was important?



CARL KELLEHER lives and works in Olympia, Washington.