Score for Exits | What We Hear is Mostly Noise


poems by Allyson Paty


Score for Exits

Through the smell of the man left sleeping the deadlock

lifted from its socket and returned the bag caught

on the fence like an appeal for parlay it is white.

Through the office carpet all the flies caught dead

in the light fixtures the window onto the alley

one pedestrian is collapsing her umbrella.

Through the doctor his tools his work on the table

is me the new body of words he administers

his hand is implement the nurse’s a stroke.

Through no evidence of flood save the price of greens

is high next week my friends will be married

in the vineyard I will sink through the grass.




What We Hear is Mostly Noise

Any last words? The already dead open
their mouths, unleash a staggering prairie.
For as long as there is such a thing
as wind, the bluestem waves goodbye,

call it beauty    call it slurred & useless.
I turn & mute the grass, gentle as crumpling
a sheet of tissue. I face my own
figure, reflected & diminished at the base
of a high rise. The facades in their silence
do not look down at me
do not look back at their source.
The blank towers
born from the city’s unending
sentence, they do not look back
at men & their cranes,
& don’t believe in the ore,
the blast furnace. They look to a ransacked end
the steel frame a carcass
picked clean. Ruin where a visitor
may stand, may say of our work