The Convergence of the Sacramento and the American Rivers by Frank Dixon Graham
To Matt, Whom I’ve Never Met and Do Not Know
“But generally speaking, it is
always more difficult to write
for example, than one in one, as in philosophy.”*
by Crystal Anderson
Say I press my face against a blue whale.
No need for sculling beside it. Mass can ride
the underbelly. Say we we’re diatoms
and turn our world to a sulfur
color while riding our whale.
We’ve managed to miss the dicrotic
of the whale, of the water,
anything as long as we don’t float away.
Euphausiids are going to get caught.
It’s inevitable. Their transparency
Keeps no secrets and while they filter,
They give themselves up,
Swarms of honesty inhaled.
They don’t come out alive or
The same. Ever.
This whale is not the most gargantuan,
but it is pretty blue. Still, this one
will be the only giant some know.
The only whale you and I know,
my diatom neighbor.
As this mass in aqua dives,
moves purposefully, those alive
and attached naturally go
along. The whale’s belly
doesn’t get bigger, it just seems that
way when you’re less tiddly and
realize that people walking down
streets in all this yellowness
see you. There are moments
where we can’t even hide
behind fluorescent screens.
When song seems to escape
our whale through its holes and plates
we, too, make dialogue with meaning
that continues beyond the finish
of interaction. Perhaps the inverse
Apex of the dive “is the depth of darkness
Not wanting to be said.”*
*From “Sartre at Seventy: An Interview,” August 7, 1975
To Matt: Not Everything Can Be Said
by Crystal Anderson
I carried an opaque whale
into your study. It was a magical
puzzle of sorts, cooking off materialism,
snapping its moorings. It was a sack
of imagery on my back. I tried to speak
from behind the whale.
I offered up nothing.
Experience has changed my language
into a rubik’s cube.
What good does transparency do at 26?
Let’s be like Frank*.
I won’t speak of jumping
Chinamen or pretend I’m a boat
in danger of sinking.
We both know the earth
is full of people and not one
of us has started the Transparent Revolution.
If we did, we would remember
to use our blinkers, would trust
the news and the critical element
of our dialogue would last
after our fingers stopped typing,
after our mouths quit just saying,
and listening carefully became habitual.
I don’t leave my apartment
unless I have to. $550 a month,
the shower is standing room only,
the ceiling leaks and 20 feet from my back
door run the tracks. It is safe.
On February 16, 2008, I got my oil
changed and my blood jammed hard
through my system. I sat in the Jiffy Lube
waiting room not reading Camus. The book
was open and 3 other people also waited.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, 22
college kids look at me as if I need
to say something clever. One of them
majors in astrophysics. He does not speak
often, but he writes in concrete language
and sonnets about things that are not science.
I tell them Ginsberg is overdone and tell them
Joy Harjo’s lilacs and cocaine are the center
of her Santa Fe. I do not count
how many times I crash over my tongue.
The you I know
lives 8 hours in front of me,
says he gets to stand in front of Jesus,
will look out of a window at least twice
in one day and mouth pleasantries
out of necessity. But the you
I don’t know is my impenetrable whale
and neither of us live
in a see-through society.
I can hardly blame you. There is still
swimming in a glass of vodka,
a burning sort of transparency,
and I wonder if you are less
of a casanova than the you I know.
But not everything can be said
and not everything wants to be said.
Most days you will see and read people
that you can’t speak frankly with or
at all. Your surface is a narrative,
but we will have to work to understand
the you that is free verse.
Both poems were previously published on Pulverized Diamonds.
Crystal Anderson is a writer and educator. She holds a BA in English/Professional Writing from Baylor University and an MA in English/Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of California at Davis. She currently teaches writing at The University of Phoenix. Her poetry has been published in The Rattlesnake Review and The Suisun Valley Review.