Joshua Harmon

Seven excerpts from Landscape

A suicide raid from thinnest branches:
phantom census of provincial ghosts

—so the edge of being
disintegrates blind hunches

and the only thing between us
is subdivided sky.

Whatever mumbled get-go gets
counted against what’s otherwise

only space enough for a figure:
an interval chiseled from decades,

some salvaged discrepancy, wandered
here among other dusts.


So: halogen noontime: a covert life
lives a reluctance and scraps farewell: that

old inside, obligingly, whatever
flush of sun otherwise unmoved:

the day won’t reconcile its recessive light:
a perimeter’s bleed: interface of hill-

side and skyline obliges: dyad
of bodies: where there’s one there’s another:

overtaken day: and day parachutes
and settles: bewildered sun-sick bulb


The runaway habitations: last week’s river-bends, the squeaky hub of landscape. A
horizon persists. If there are limits to what our insomniac preparations allow, the past
rebuilds the sky and I endure the absence of another dilemma. The lesser smudge of
morning doesn’t mean I can believe a vision over valleys, or a man slowly bending down to
pat some appealing story. But a foreign wreckage escapes the same simplicities, faded
emblems of historical accident: the roadside border house lofts unoccupied plots.


What will waterproof the resentments? In a silent northern way, infinity monochromes the
question of comfort. I pin hesitations under the weather: raw tuft, gray ice, a scattered rest
amid an indoor rain. My previously knuckled rationalities catch your mended half-lives, the
process of drift drawn close. Is it gesture we mean, an offhand overlap, some signature in
skies? Darkness brushes up on history: the flickering lamp flickers on. But for the bootleg
of this confused and humble evening, the truer testament erodes a getaway. The land lies
itself to sleep.


A time-elapsed plea: our inventive ethics allow us to put some English on a nomenclature
of need. Massage it a little, hassle these jagged humidities. The country no longer exists,
and I’ll pop the clutch and peel out as declaration I now know I’m on the losing team. Call
mine a drive-by melancholy. The evening’s hollow earth theories bore me. The lace of
being has outgrown itself and exalts these field recordings with a lifetime warranty.


A rustle explains the underbrush in a gum-snapped metrics: I beat around the parking lot
for two hours to find an uncrowded corner. The runoff bled there. Kept going. The sky
rejected a siege of fancies and aircraft. Clouds merely cooled, congealed. They are not
meant as pleasant relief. Further forays yielded no more than expected—mere muttering
doubt, a delicately feral borderlands. Forget watching and waiting, prophecy’s kicks, the
cavernous echo of streetlit exteriors. And fuck this conversation with the natural: I can’t
outlast the outdoors. I’m raising a pennant for a brittle self.


In the blowth, half-jingled, honeycomb
of nascent scrip: witted whereall
night falls bumbling aloud,
a coppice’s uptipped accent
middles, roofliply, in the smattered nulls.
A bitten bark worsts the tongue
of erratic air: overlapping, are we
not foxed to tremble, royaling so?
The list of loosened luck buckles here,
appling the slopes to rue a rill: hemlock
hatches of steeples awry, the energy
refiners: such frail scatter, vagrant elations.

Joshua Harmon


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