Ghost of a Trance

By Nathaniel Mackey b. 1947 Nathaniel Mackey

—“mu” sixty-first part

 
    Gray morning, blue morning, a
feather blown between. Mashed
  earth incumbent, gone up from,
                                                             never
      more naked if ever to be naked,
        brink what it was to be on...
  Where next we came stick-figure
    people greeted us. Abstract
                                                       was
abstract, also something else. Line,
    shape, extension each other
   than itself, of number we’d have
       said the same... Aspect arrested
     us, riveted we stood... Stick-
   figure epiphany held us in our
                                                           tracks,
       everyone’s bones in full view...
                                                               Gray
     morning, blue morning, an unheard
string between. Bad heads’ morning
   reluctance, ennui’s next-day dispatch...
                                                                           We
       were chill, shiver, exegetic sweat, backed-
     up interpreters put upon by sluff, none
of us could say what was what. Pale
  admonishment poised upon lack,
                                                               like
     to unlike, pale strain recumbent, re-
       combinant, rude amniotic straw...
   Took leave, leave long since taken,
                                                                  awoke
       to what would otherwise not have been.
We contested birth, we wanted to be pre-
  andoumboulouous, done-dead gnostics
                                                                           again...
     Sound bubbled up, it kept bubbling, sonic
   residue, sonic remit. A fickle sonance,
fraught sonance, warning we knew nothing,
    stick-figure entourage otherwise issue-
  less, beginning to be remiss it seemed...
                                                                           Erst-
 while ecstatics’ lapsed enchantment, trance
     gone none could say since when...
                                                                    Ghost
        of what lifted us, ghost what lifted us,
                                                                             erstwhile
      enchantment between... Fell back, full-out
  extended. Pilgrim someone called me, I said
    no, then I said yes... Brax was on the box
was what it was, toned uncertainty Stick-figure
       counsel all air, edge, angle, down from where
                                                                                          we’d
      been and we were again where the Alone lived,
          adage, had it not been so abstract, it might’ve
        been... Long day of the abalone-shell sunset...
                                                                                            Stood
           among redwoods expecting the worst... What
        was of note and what abjured nothing. What
                                                                                          was
      all, none, one, all the
   same



                   _________________

      It was a ghost of a trance. I was a
guest of the trance. What went on we
  blamed on the ghost... It was the
        ghost of a trance, each of us a 
                                                               guest
    of the trance. No two times were the
                                                                       same...
       When we hit a wrong not we said
   nothing. When we hit the right note
      we said so what... Tell my horse,
        we were told, fluke solace, horse
                                                                    we
       were mounted by... What was done
        was done by the ghost, gray morning,
                                                                             blue
     morning, eternity be-
   tween



                   _________________

   Told my horse we would gather at
     Nod House, down drinks at the
 no-host bar. Dirt was in the drinks
                                                                 we
  drank, planet sludge. Double-take
told its horse whoa, told it unwhoa,
   back and forth and back without
       end... Talk spun our heads,
                                                         told
     our horses ride on. Unresolved
  which to insist on, stick with. Could it
       whoa unwhoa's ramble unresolved...

     Spinning heads made us feel we sat on
                                                                            swivel
    seats... Double-take talked us in,
                                                                took
us in



                   _________________

      Sat again at the same table, no two
        times the same, twinship long since
    gone. Leaned back, the back legs of
our chairs broke, Nod House Nub's
                                                                 new
  address... A straining look made our
        faces look raw, made our skin flush...
      Dreamt each other's dream, donned
                                                                         each
        other's costume, hosted one another,
                                                                            one
        stepped in as
      one stepped
    out


Nathaniel Mackey, “Ghost of a Trance” from Nod House. Copyright © 2011 by Nathaniel Mackey. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Nod House (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2011)

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Poet Nathaniel Mackey b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Time & Brevity, Activities, Travels & Journeys, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse