“Understanding means seeing that the same thing said different ways is the same thing.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein


Chapbook ordering information:
Transparent Tiger Press
1685 Cook St.
Denver, CO 80206


David Ray Vance David Ray Vance

The Swimmers

High fever, we ditch the red-crow sleep awash
in fleshy dung lust slide into shadowlands
where concern us pinched mouths black against
desert, a mile every two days ambling roof-class
to Khartoum, sun pins our ears and to a man
we imagine contouring snow into elaborate flakes.

It is pointless to speak of how sun sets
or clouds drift, to name dunes as if sighting
boundary; no one remains to trace the route
to witness what passes, the remaining miles
the forlorn landscape, the camera abandoned
poised upon the tracks.

Stranded weeks awaiting parts, sand in the lines
this dusty relic, General Gordon's revenge
the Mahdi's legacy, that what happens happens
slowly if at all, sucked into Sudan sand
all progress a vast emptiness, the steady glide
of stars, this lovely dance of equinoxes.


Toward metabolic peace
a body at rest remains the sum
of its parts, pronouns
and adverbs, irrelevant relative
clauses and/or indefinite articles
pressed into the page
way moon pales late fall
apogee and gravity but theory
in a lightning strike
like moth wings in tin-snips
all those revolutions.


Dance, the honeybee dances
rhythm & rhyme its own symbology

to flowers' nectar bees to make honey
dance and sing distance
and angle to sun, heredity

bound in pulse and limb as we dance
sing and spin ourselves to God
and Allah

truck wheels turned onto desert floor
on to another day

exalted earth fired into clay, a pot
for Chrissake to piss in
vessels our hands possess, a parting
pardoning lyric.