Mark Cunningham


"The sea grows dark. / The voices of the wild ducks / turn white." When I read Basho (tr. Robert Bly), the November horizon turns pink, then lavender, then slate; the ocean waves glow nearly fluorescent, and flecks flash overhead; already ghosts roam the stubble. A melancholy settles like frost under my skin. I remember Daffy Duck falling off a cliff or bridge, and Bugs turning to the audience and asking, "I wonder if he remembers he can fly?" Plap. Daffy makes it back a few moments later. Each time I ask myself if Daffy's coming back is failure or success: is he coming back obsessively for more abuse or is he refusing to be defeated? The answer depends on every event of my life to that point or, since I can't remember every event at once, on those that come to mind—today, it's getting a ticket for turning left from a left turn lane without my turn signal on, tomorrow it's winning my case in court. Whatever I decide is leftover from what came before. I go over and over my field of events.