On a farm in Kansas, a boy was gawking
through the milky glass of a View-Master at
a sight he’d tried to reach by removing earth:
a street in China that stretched deeper
than rows of wheat merging into infinity
or foci planted by Renaissance masters
who’d learned that distance is not a waning
of influence, but a waxing of intrigue;
and that the eye can be Shanghaied
into seeing what it can’t believe.
He remembered a box of candy three knuckles deep
but only the first level was chocolate; the rest,
paper filler. And once, unable to swim,
he’d stepped into a pool that gulped him up –
transparent water with no analogue
except a ladder scrunched by refraction.
Isn’t this better? No short-changing,
no overstepping, but an augmentation:
the colors lush as a porn film ad,
the field protracted as if by inverted telescope.
The Orient, to him, had been a postcard
backdrop at a soundstage for Fu Manchu:
potato chip vignettes installed between
commercials for sports cars, and news updates—
latest developments, to be developed later.
But isn’t this better? Real streets, real people,
real postage-stamp windows concealing urgencies
in the background, with the foreground so extended
that an arm reaching out seems longer than a meridian
and the ground itself expands the footing.
He’s put away the trinket, as the photographer
has put away his cameras (one for each eye,
each askew slightly with the other) and the people
have put away their suits and silks, and returned
to factories that crank out plastics
to be channeled through the gut of the earth.
# # #
Dennis Goza is a playwright and actor as well as poet. Poetry published recently in Clockhouse and Gemini. He published a volume of poems, Tortoise Dances.