in response to Tommy Noell’s
Return from Falcon Prison
asphaltanamnesis, or reaching always

after Damon Stanley’s sinking anyways

for Tommy Noell

where the highway meets offramp where
the offramp meets Smith Level
past the underpass before
Richard’s Trading Post Antiques over
splitting asphalt dawning
bamboo crumpled guardrail
gravel Tommy's smile

always; such as
widening slowly
asphalt of offramp
into highway's concrete

is different
than what you
might've thought;
reaching slowly
reaching —

Tommy fell three stories
cutting down a lollyby pine; now,
walking a mile to this corner
a handful of days a week
to help pay for food & his hip surgery.

onward and outward,
forcing surfaces and depths —

the highway flattens
itself, inofitself, into

invisible streets:
the shortest distance
between zero and infinity
in either direction

the highway curves
itself, inofitself, into

Tommy Noell's right eye:
the tangential point
between zero and infinity
in either direction

at the NC‘54 exit-ramp, Tommy smiles
waving to everyone as everyone.
Tommy Noell smiling in his chapel
of bamboo shade and goldenrods —
whiteandred pews peeking
out from under guardrails,
planting the motion of fire in dream
rivulets with joyful silence

... a giftuvgod ...

and where these visible streets
cut across, nearlyalways invisible
streets meet, slowly reaching —
contracting into a line through
your vision, then a point,

a fist, but
Tommy smiles
filling his deep palms
with skin and rain,

living with
the friendship
of strangers
as family
differently than
what you might've
thought what
i would’ve guessed:

being blessed
being itself as blessed
as anything else

… a giftuvgod ...

two white tigers
blinded by the crushing
radiance of their empty eyes
crossing his dreamwaters
whispering 84,000 names
into a black wind!

can the asphalt
forget Tommy’s
probably not.

but the streets reach and always
widening pretty streets. i’m
asking you; can Tommy
Noell’s laughter forget
this flat hot asphalt?
remembering being split
through ice & tread —
could you explain
pretty asphalt? could
asphalt's laughter forgetting
sun wind water grass reach
through Tommy —
you, me?


reaching through the asphalt
over through pretty asphalt
laughter through asphalt always
wide laughter through hollow asphalt
is between his alwayseyes the highway
widening with laughter. reaching asphalt
frost-split and confident

is Tommy’s laughter. through
his feet — the invisible streets
reaching. between Tommy’s
eyes prettymuch asphalt
reaching through asphalt
flattening light

the street spreads like a fingerprint
underneath your feet
Tommy's puddlethumb

… a giftuvgod ...

there's grass growing thick
betweenthehighway there's a blackriver
through Carrboro's police station
between your clouded eyes a blacklake
there will be grass covering this highway
seed syllables scratched
through fallen guardrails the reaching
grass holding shadows of your oldmind
as black rabbits ring bells reappearing
in the dreams of dead children...

yet Tommy stares clear
through morning frost pathlessly
walking by opening the sky's silence

and Tommy lounges spareacigarettesmile
Tommy Noell leans ‘gainst
this bent guardrail, building
different castles in overarching
sky over this dependable underpass with
unintermitted laughter;

i don’t see how he could ever die

‘cause Tommy relearned to walk.