Dawn Price

Calder Lowe

Train Death, see page B6 

One day after three of us walked down those tracks, 
one day after we stood shielding our eyes 
from the sunís glare across from Vahlís Seafood, 
I read that a man named Miguel had given up
at 12:50 p.m., had surrendered his body 
to an oncoming train as a silver needle of a plane 
sutured yet another cloud above Alviso.

Before he lay down, he had cashed his last paycheck,
divided his money evenly between his uncleís seven children.
One day after his thirtieth birthday, his was an arms-folded-
under-his-head submission, like those naptimes in grade school
when the surface of your wooden desk became the repository
of distant recess dreams. I need to believe particles from our shoes
commingled with his clothes, that somehow, there was connection.

I need to think that same (see page B6) train is out there
heading toward a destination only hinted at in the gaps
between split second lifetimes of spinning r.p.m.s, a destination
beyond causationís grasp, beyond my heart's meager,
interrupted beats, a destination unreachable on tabloid pages B6, 
7, 8, C9, 10, 11, D12, 13, or even E14 squared, beyond
the whistleís repetitive drawing and quartering of the night air.


Calder Lowe


Smashing her fist through a wall is a beginning.
God knows it didnít work in the womb.
All that kicking and punching only left
a bruise on her Motherís side.
What with all that enforced martyrdom,
itís surprising the hematoma didnít 
take on the image of some consecrated saint.
Had her teenaged son been in the picture 
back then, he could have dispersed the bruise 
with a magic flick of his hollow-chambered ball-point.
His trick for removing neck lesions
left by an amorous pubescent girl.

Yes, smashing her fist through a wall is a beginning.
It rearranges the molecular structure of unyielding
plaster and flying hands. It scattershots and fine-tunes
the neuronsí firing mechanisms. The excavation
is necessary. In a twisted way, tracking the same
constellation of stars her Mother did as her Dad smashed his fist
through her is comforting. A self-inflicted supernova 
imploding in a galaxy of exponential rage.
These are things we are not supposed to talk about
in polite society, where an onset of influenza
elicits sympathy, but mention of battering or incest
incurs awkward silences or censorious stares.

The silences are understandable. They issue from unarticulated
awe in the face of the unspeakable. As for the stares,
they serve a divinely inspired and utilitarian function.
They lead you out of cold, drafty buildings, out of the rubble
of New Age psychobabble, out of the ruins of invalidation.
And when you use them to exit your body enough times,
a disappearing act youíve perfected by age five,
there is a reverse Duchampian effect.
All those outraged and astonished Phariseean corneas and irises
and retinas meld together to form ocular rungs of a ladder 
reaching to heaven, to the most radical and final deconstruction of all.