Susan Gevirtz taught for a decade at Sonoma State but she now teaches at San Francisco State. Her poems often circle around a context that is no longer there. This poem takes off from a conversation about a lighting fixture. It has often seemed to me that her poems are meant to be funny. Not sure.
It was a blank slate and no one could see around it.
"It was a blank day so the sky decanted."
"But not for nothing."
"No, it was motivated."
"An air show of sorts."
"Yes but inside."
"Seen from the floor."
"What appeared to be air an actual conveyance."
"Years in the laboratory -- explanation run amuck. Funded by Al Qaida and the FBI -- their only collaborative project in... at least... five years."
"It's effusion, sometimes called L _ _ _ _ -- the actual word is classified -- can be used to restore or destroy life."
"It depends on installation and misnomer -- Oh, Excuse Me!
"Mispelling a sardine net dragged in the night."
The doorbell again. Angle of approach. Objects where people used to be asleep. The reproach of objects. You are not being watched. Smuggled in. We had heard of it. Even heard you coming down the long red-carpeted hallway into the room of the classified words. Something like footsteps but more anxious. "Don't doll it up," said the host. Meaning that there was no furniture and that would never change. That there was no space for furniture as the room was already saturated with the L, walls decaying from over exposure to it, causing a turning of the room into a kind of musical-instrument-chamber, pulsating, vibrating, played by it, a kind of music-box turned lung, turned high-frequency song, so silent, so speechless, so inescapable, so big. And also filled with the incoming outgoing "guests." We call them "guests," bait and switch, as they can slip by the authorities in pearls, furs and tuxes. We call him "host. We could say "concierge or general or doctor." We could have said "escaped POW's," "friends," "provocateurs." What once was "the mansion," we now call "hotel," "shelter," "hospitality house," "ghost town." The research shows that radio waves increase the effect. This is why you see them lined up, waiting their turn, antennas in hand.