ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF VERTIGO
I prefer to pound stakes
through the flapping canvas of my tent
on the outskirts of Vertigo.
It's windy there but possible to walk,
and desolate but nothing more: sleep
populates the desert in dreams.
And when I wake, daring, barely, to turn,
I remember how, in the center of Vertigo,
everything spins, how the flounce
of that feminine city flares out. Those
who have journeyed there agree:
matter behaves spasmodically in Vertigo,
and few can explain, though implored,
why this is so. You'd need a thousand
aproned carpenters to crucify the walls.
Vertigonians learn to live, lacking control.
Plates fly up. Dinner congeals. People
pass from left to right while remaining still.
Only the blind are spared the onus of seeing,
the mute spared the onus of saying.
Vertigo's dancers can spot incredibly well.
In spite of all this, every now and then
I leave my tent, drawn to the rhythms
and flickering lights of Vertigo.
I aim at vestiary protocol and
leave my Bedouin parlor, its rugs
and lamps and squat barometer,
its jars of passion and silence sealed
while minuscule wings creak me farewell
and a whirlwind of volumes tells me I'm near.