Foucault in California
by Bryan R. Monte

How dangerous it is to go out these days
The ground always shifting beneath my feet
Telegrams of subterranean terrors
Molten fissures that will not heal.
Each new shakeout leaves fewer standing
As I stumble through these rolling hills
And afterwards take a silent census
Counting backwards to map the fracture.

Learn to read the geology, I said
How each new era suddenly appears
Sharp and discontinuous, layers of hard, gray shale
Suddenly replaced by soft, red sandstone
But stacked as neatly as books in the library
Until the archive is upended
Shelves twisted back upon each other
Fence posts separated by several metres.

Words have lives of their own
Constantly mating and mutating
They deserve our interrogations
Call me silly and I will know
I was once bless’d
Say something sucks or pisses you off
And I will moan approval of your good taste
Your acquisition of the queens’ English.

Everywhere there is a record and I must respond to it
Whether maculate or inarticulate I must (re)uncover it
I am the archaeologist of angst
The cartographer of crazies
The savant of surveillance
Translating the tremors in my body
Into the eruptions of books in the library
My brain boils with my discoveries.