Lewis Has Got The Universe in His Hand and Won’t Let Go

Lewis Has Got The Universe in His Hand and Won’t Let Go
by ismael ricardo archbold
The way the sky won’t mix with the ground,
morning refusing night even so much as a nod;
the flowers are drunk, harassing the chihuahua
as it lifts its exquisite hind leg; the wind snaps
its towel of grit & allergy, crack!, upon
squirrels’ behinds, cats’ whiskers, pondscum.
Middle school girls trade in phones for Wildean
wit, clouds refuse to touch the horizon.
Wedding bells swallow their clappers;
penises get lost in the laundry.
Everything falls sideways
as kids tramp in their daily ritual
of stomp & yell; another round of
smear-the-queer; boys garrison their courage,
hover above the ball lazing in the mud,
the one they found behind the shelf of biography.
Lewis snatches the ball, bolts his fear
behind a mad dash towards the volleyball
net with all its catch & disdain: a couple
of kindergarteners giggling, a dog snarling,
two snails making love, a hummingbird
who thinks it’s a dervish.
He cuts a mean left, the wind bleeds something
yellow and he charges up the knoll past
the merry-go-round. Detour: Red Rover
is sending Jesse right over. A leap, an
imperceptible phasing of bone past bone,
Lewis clutches the ball in both hands,
makes for the tennis court, where the girls
scribble oaths to their past electric selves,
slave over the diminishing returns of
centuries of favours, gear up echelons
of culture & taste, spit.
Someone konks Lewis over the head,
he sees Debussy behind the bathroom
window palsying something furious;
a girl pulls down her panties and declares
Spain her choice of pudding; another
points at Lewis as he curls up: he’s
allergic to tacos and the mere mention
of anything remotely Romance-
languaged gives him the shivers.
The sun & Mars refuse to agree on what
to have for brunch, decide to take a snooze
instead. This is confusing because now there
is no one left to tend to the memory train
when it arrives at the end of the driveway, so
tomorrow’s nostalgia won’t grow, roots
of congratulation deviated towards funereal
power outages; the television laments
its unrealized potential as a hypochondriac Jewess.
The dead won’t talk.
Clearly something amiss is there, hiding,
beneath the human boy pile but the little guy
won’t drop the ball, not while the girls
comment on his choice of swagger.

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  1. Reminds me of Berryman’s ‘Ball poem’ except i like yours better cause it fills in those quirky prepubescent maladolescence… It’s good to see a poem that has done its homework. I like how words, phrases, ideas, images mince together in this longer piece that dots its ‘i’s and crosses the ‘t’s. Poem deals with higher concepts…the world, the universe, our place in such, etc. yet remains ‘workin class’ with use of slang—the mark of a true bohemian! My applause sir! I’ll be re-reading this all week to enjoy the beautiful poetic details playing hide-n-seek in the niches of stanzas. Thanks Mr. Archbold!

  2. I noticed a link to this on the poet’s MySpace the other day, and had to read it. Glad I did.
    A microcosmic, wonderful read. I was tempted to pick each stanza apart, but I won’t. Every stanza could oddly stand alone as a poem – well constructed tiny spheres of words; yet a theme of play (i.e., nature, role play, competition, desire) in the “straight” world is the common thread that sews each stanza together into interesting, poetic patchwork. Lewis’s limited control of that world but determination to seize control in a moment is touching. Thanks, again, Mr. Archbold.

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