How to Read a Map

to start from
get a vehicle/animal
check out the growth
look at the people
put your arms around
one of them
any of them
stretch yourself
it's like old friends
a story sometimes
you tell yourself
then something else happens
now where are you
an intense map of routes
places to find again
or discover
i.e. imagine
through all that
but not there yet
the death
i.e. you noticed it
waits down the road
it's a story
everybody's running
over the hill
what they think is a hill
don't pay attention to the terrain
become questions
maybe not a city
look at them
they are not birds
the signs are not other creatures
try this
the signs are projectile
have weight
just like an arrow
with feathers at one end
and you know what at the other
all-around things
the night sky filled with them
we still think they're stars
but they get in the way of the vision
the trace of thought, the line
grows across the plan
not a city
but a forest
with a big boulder in the middle of it
the middle of the forest
proportion gets it together
in a dance
leaves us in a heat
and the complicated tracks remain
how to get
gah Hahhh
headless moons
from here to there
incredibly difficult shapes
even languages
the place
the land jive
on the other side of the water
the soft, the hard
the softest hard
and more story
more directions
here to there, line
from mind
gets nowhere
past dying
and the returns
he called it
i.e. the truth
path flows through a crowded corn field
near Albuquerque
near Toronto
near Iraklion
south of here there are ripe tomatoes
nothing solved
the side is.


Transcribed as published in Owner's Manual.
This version was revised from the poem's original appearance in CVII 4.3. Edits largely consist of condensing the poem's ideas and imagery. Notably however, the early reference to a boy in an orange jacket is completely removed.

How to Read a Map
appears in