[sort] by Mark Cunningham
Like trying to find page numbers in a fashion magazine. He’s not really a mountaineer; it’s just that there’s a mountain under him. I think she said we are complete in each moment, but I may have missed something.
She said, “I produce belly button lint; therefore, I am,” but tests showed the lint was made in China. Now that I have a bar code tattoo on the back of my neck, I have to pay $2.37 every time I try to leave Target. By the time he finished telling us how he had the genius sleep pattern, we were all snoring. Re: grandeur: turns out I emigrated—thanks, phonics.
I’ve been to the Parthenon—in Nashville. The handles for the ladder at the end of the dock were side by side, but their shadows on the ice lined up one behind the other. Classic as timeless vs. classic as old. He said he wouldn’t be caught dead living in a trailer and, indeed, that the body was cold when we found it on the couch means there was no “he” living there to catch. I keep hearing the “or” when she says “mirror.”
We built the apartment complex next to a swamp, which is why we called it Rushing Spring. First there was hot jazz, then there was cool jazz, and now everybody is lukewarm about the whole form. The ambassador objected to our calling his country a banana republic—everybody knows bananas go straight to your waist. He said his name was Jan, pronounced “y-a-w-n.” She said she couldn’t go to sleep if I was going to breathe like that.
Mark Cunningham’s books are 71 Leaves (BlazeVOX), specimens (BlazeVOX), and Helicotremors (Otoliths).
A note on the poems: The term “sort” comes from John Locke’s “sorts of substances” with our understanding of each substance made of collections of ideas that are “supposed to flow from the particular internal constitution” of the substance (from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding 2:23:2-3), and from FedEx’s “sort,” the twice daily receiving and routing of packages at airport hubs.