Roman Numerals: Homestead


The door opens and Tibetan prayer flags rattle.

You see, when the wind comes in it releases the message.
The gods can’t hear you if no breath exists.

Every time I walk beneath them, I listen to the cloth whisper.
And I realize I’m speaking dreams I never knew I had.


There is a portrait of a cat in the far southwestern corner of my apartment.

Created by a certain Melinda Copper it plays the lute for me in the mornings, evenings, and nights. It has little moth-like wings and is gentle and playing in the way that mimics Fiorentino’s angel babe. On it’s furry head is a pyramid patch. The instrument it strums looks charmed in it’s hands. Pawing at the strings each day, I can rest assured that music is always somewhere in the abode. Sometimes I bade my blithe angel cat with a hello as I go to sit and read.

The feline nods back in recognition. At least, usually.

Lute player or not, a cat is a cat.


The bookcase facing east is overpowering. It’s spilling out it’s lull every waking moment. The shelves are all bowing in their middles and I’ve taken to the top like some elaborate Jenga game, stacking paperbacks to the ceiling and always finding room for more. And so I sense an ache in my lower back.

This bookcase and I are linked. If the writing desk is my brain and the paper stacks and cups with bearded faces filled with pencils my hands; if the walls are all my eyes; if the kitchen my rolling belly; if the bath be my legs and feet and every withered sock lost into the crevasses represent my toes, then surely this bookcase is my spine, holding me upright and always stretching up to snuff lamps and fixtures so I may sit quietly with tea in hand in the night. So happy in the dark. So blissful in the silence. The Witching Hours come and go and still I gaze into the inky soul outside, living out a daydream. It is at this time the bookcase is most alive, full of conversation as every hardcover flaps it’s lipless mouth and all the pages commune about, and so much sound it makes it shakes, filling all the air with talk. I like to listen to the books.

Then, when dawn creaks, I moved beneath those prayer flags, and head out for a dewtime walk.


Candles burn here. Quite a lot.

The brew of scents is a palette from which the open windows draw in their fill.

Winter stops this indulgence. The soup piles up.
I swim in cornucopias of smells and wispy smoke pillars; piers floating over beds and tables.
A plateau accumulates above my desk, and the chair my grandfather’s father used to sit in.

This chair, forest green, and solid like a boulder on disagreeable shopping-cart wheels, is the most uncomfortable thing I have ever sat in.

I will never part with it.


There is a windchime I keep in the northeastern corner of the bedroom.

It is still as bones in catacombs.
And when I look to it, I think:

How long has it been since you last tasted the outside?


The patio garden is a trifle, though to have it empty without a bearing bud to bloom makes my head collapse in disgust. It cause problems every year. It wants more dirt. It has too much dirt. The rain is falling off the overhang and flooding all the seedlings. It has too much sun. It has too little sun. It’s starving for water from the sky but all I can feed it is the drink that comes from the tap, and it doesn’t like that. It pushes it away like a child shoving their vegetables far from their reach, with nose turned up.

I want rain clouds, it bemoans.

We don’t HAVE rain clouds, I begrudge. Now take your tap.

All the plants shiver in repugnance, but do it.

I haven’t told them yet, but I am planning for a rain barrel in the spring.
I’m sure they’ll be pleased.


Walls are:

Three African masks. Seven paper cranes spilling like seven droplets from the ceiling. The Vitruvian Man, unblinking and looking irritated. Twelve Zodion wheeling in the heavens. A map of the world. Another map of the world. A map of the Mediterranean. Albrecht Drüer’s Wing of a Blue Roller. A poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with all thirty articles yapping at me every time I purchase something frivolous. His Holiness, the XIV Dalai Lama, simply looks on with eyebrows raised. Tsk tsk. An instruction guide to sign language. An instruction guide to harmonica. An instruction guide to magic wands along with the Theban Alphabet. An instruction guide to ocarina. Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. A painting of The Floating City, this impressionistic vision of Venice by Unknown Hands. Two fairies. One holding a pony as velvet black as Nyx’s womb. The other standing upon a tree limb, her buttocks facing me. Calendar. Celestial calendar. Woman in a black drape by Austin. The eighth paper crane, made and given to me by a lover; it doesn’t fly. It’s pinned above my desk.

A poem, saying plainly:

Let the more loving one be me.


There is a stone critter that sits atop my desk. He’s a fox.
He’s the last of a collection I once had.

The shelf gave way, breaking free from the wall and tumbling down in a BAM.

Every piece broke.
Every piece.
Every single one.

Except him.


I own four pairs of spectacles. I can never find a single one.

I stumble around the apartment, shouting, “Jess! Jess I can’t find my glasses!”

He finds them. All four of them.
Every time.


Papers are everywhere. Pens are everywhere. Books are everywhere. Newspapers are everywhere. Magazines are everywhere. Nonsense is everywhere and then some.

Everything, all of it, tingles with love.

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