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Rhetorica: On Copiousness || Frank Montesonti

Rhetorica: On Copiousness
Yvonne, pepper nor salt, lawyers nor laws, fire nor water, none of these things will reduce your beauty or pick up that spare.
A bowling alley is a synergism, something greater than its parts. The pins set up again.
The polished lanes, conversation of clapping and falling, the little rail that pulls the mess back in. Machines make the greater machine.
To list the personal effects of the moon: one silver watch, one basket of dust, one heart made of paralyzed gears, one ancient yacht powered by lightsails.
And now that I have sketched the twenty chambers of the heart, each with a single obscure symbol on the wall, shrinking and growing chambers, the chamber with only a single white chair. Now that I have described the various sensual moon people who arrive nightly to broaden the dictionary of seduction, I plead with you.
Hand out, to ring your doorbell on your porch in Atlanta. The cloying hibiscus.
I closed
my eyes
“The Peaceable Kingdom.”
In the pear orchard in the early spring we did not fail to enjoy ourselves.
The light fell hard like it slipped off a roof.
The design of love was endless; it cascaded upward like a double helix, through the orchard’s branches, under the skin of the wind, and around the spine. In a parking lot in Indiana, I watch the bats dive through the lot lights, watch them, from the shock of sound only, draw a world.
From the Latin Copia, meaning abundance. To sing in ever-changing, every-varying ways, the same essential thing. To amplify this feeling through the skillful manipulation of tropes. To make it look easy.
All night I dreamt, Yvonne. All night, I did the math of our love, Yvonne. I came up with huge, huge numbers.
Numbers that frightened me.
In the dream, I began to run from the mob, the mob who so resembled myself, the mob who wore my hundred faces so awkwardly.
I want to go back to the hill, the fireworks, the humidity of the night
where I can feel my body move through abundance.
I’m sorry. You are lovely under
your skin as well,
Romantics fear the faithless; dogs the odorless.
I feel unsettled by a completely washed down blackboard.
The lights, a hundred watt, angry. The machine starts to tremble with its speed.
The equations start churning in the walls. I see a Spanish galleon broadsided in my brain. Touched by too many salts, drunk on devices, awash with symbols, too many parts and too redundant. Even the cat a steel gray.
Samantha, down in unruly Florence.
Her love was temporary; her hair a permanent. She gave great graveyard.
We described the moon in the sky copiously, against the sky, and for no reason whatsoever. “Death scares me little compared to creation” she said.
If it wasn’t love it was in its wheelhouse.
But in the shadows cast by the curtains, the dirigible descending through a cloud in heavy flack from the mounted guns on the Florentine walls.
A dream! What is consumed is called fuel. The night, fuel. The sky fuel for the airship. Text for the text.
I’ve known it. I always have.
I want to confide in Samantha. To say, “I am in the dark and I am climbing a rope, a rope that seems to have no end. And the rope burns after me as I climb.” But she is asleep and wouldn’t care anyway.
She has a brutal thing in her that I fear I have in me.
I can’t get back down.
Ceremony centers the worshipper, love the romantic, footnotes the scholar. To open the footnote, go back to that night on the hill with the fireworks.
But I wake in Florence, in clothes I don’t remember putting on, the long scarf, the aviator’s jacket, the flipped up collar and the watch fob. I storm out again. “I become a storm,” I scream, whatever that means in half-dream. I start asking myself the wrong questions
– why do I feel?
I ask– what is the machinery of feeling? Does emotion just pull through me like one big stitch? Then I’m back on the dirigible, shoveling coal in the boiler room, devising ways to reach even higher into the sky.
“Some study their feelings; I, my accounting,” said Samantha, and I know she is right.
When Yvonne says, “I ate my heart today,” she means it in the sense of one god nesting in another. When I say, “My heart is a burning house,” I mean it in the sense of home as fuel, of knowing as fuel.
Youth with the paper bag still around the heart, the pound of sugar in each moment, the pound of cream. I began stupidly and so I continued stupidly. The couch sat firmly in the living room and my fears swam briskly through my head.
The leaves fell in central park. Each moment was pulled away by its hash tag. Yvonne and I, happy again, walking down 5th Avenue. We came across a little lighter can be read in two ways.
When I look at a bright juke box I think of little else but deletion. It remains for me to dry dock the boats and can the peaches. It remains for me to watch the wind vane turn frantically.
Remains for the oceans. Remains for the stars.
But lovers are types of matchbooks, only lovers.
We must fight here in the parking lot, passionately! Argue and consume the car, heater full-blast, the radio screeching like its baby was taken away, the filthy minutes covered in bliss.
Steeped tea and solitary studio, structure and stretch, theatre and thereafter, all of these I promise you in spades, Yvonne, if you’ll just turn up the radio even higher.
The people in the heart thrive when the heart is loud. We must from sound alone, learn to draw a world. Autumn is written in Cyrillic on a tiny scrap of paper. Should I take it out of my pocket and read it? Should I start the whole process again?
The moon will support us. The fox tail wrapped around the heart is warm. The obsidian clarity each time we blink. Each heartbeat a Caribbean isle. White bird, I want to become you.
Sound fills up all spaces.
The cat slept in the warm patch of sunlight. I considered the gossip that I was gold.
Once in Minnesota, in winter, heroism overheated the car engine, and so I walked out on the ice on the lake which was two feet thick. I looked back at the cloud the car was sending back up to the sky.
If you were to strip it all away, would we be just some sort of wild power all blank and undone?

No Mission Statement Timmothy Donnelly1 from Frank Montesonti on Vimeo.

Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope, Winner of the 2011 Barrow Street Book Prize chosen by D.A. Powell, and the book of erasure, Hope Tree (How To Prune Fruit Trees) by Black Lawrence Press. His poems have appeared in journals such as Tin House, AQR, Black Warrior Review, Poet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. A long time resident of Indiana, he now lives in Los Angeles and teaches at National University.