Quince
 
 
 
I miss
the hypodermic benediction
that brought dreamless sleep.
These dreams I can't control; they are
               jagged,
                            disordered
as a pack of shuffled cards, or the spill of textured bearings
into red dust.
 
Three miles above the surface, hills and hillocks and dunes
and the concentric volcanoes,
all layered and caked with fine, sunset grit,
take on the aspect of the rippled surface of an ancient marble
that an old man brought for luck
tucked in the flap of a utility suit. Like a stone peach,
in a stone bowl in a painting
in a book on a digi-drive.
 
Alarums. Acquire target: peck
*pow*
a burst of silent gravel
like a fruiting body
out of an ant's head.
Alarums. Acquire target: peck
*pow*
 
At home we eat oranges against the scurvy,
and apples mealy from the heat.
Sometimes there are grapes, each an explosion
of pallid juice, but sweet, a little, enough.
 
But here, I can revel in the memory of fruits never tasted
when the interface lulls me back into that place
between wake and sleep
between targets and the jagged dreams.
Quince, syrupy and pale yellow,
greengages ripe at fair-time
kumquats sweet and gloriously bitter
blood oranges tangy and clotted
apricots seasoned as wine, musky as sex--
the fruits are not necessary,
only their names.
 
One target, just one
can will wipe out a pod
just one can hit the nexus of tube and rivet
and all burst forth like a drop of blood
blooming in water.
 
They say that when you are tempted to let one, just one, pass
just to see what will happen--then it's time to go home,
to leave your catamites and concubines,
your tagger-girls and twilight-boys
the crimes uncommitted you savored
the sins you pretended to taste.
 
This time,
I'm keeping the quince.