Michelle Bitting 
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A History of Philosophy

In the beginning, there were a few things we didn’t know. 

First of all, you can’t play two radio stations at once, since music is only there if you hear distant voices at the end of each movement, the footsteps at the very edge of the stage.

And no one ever made a film about telescopes, ghosts, or the stars, even though we both remembered it from the night before.

Even worse, there is no dark side of the moon, only weather.

Because of all this, you realized nothing could save you, not even words like affect, pretense, & subsequent.  Not logic or a field map.  For awhile, you just kept reading Kierkegaard, hoping that a corridor would reveal itself to you.

Days passed.  I arrived with sheet music, poured a glass of water, & left.  When you looked up from the book, even the walls of that little room were gone.


Let’s Talk about Reading Social Cues

That night, I tried & tried to tell you about the meadow.  Even when I mouthed the word meadow, you thought I meant something else entirely.  All around us, a darkening house, the trees, & now the armoire smoldering in a locked room.

Still, we keep talking.  One more time I try to tell you.  But someone must have given you the wrong page of the script, & even worse, you’ve broken all of tomorrow’s champagne flutes. 


Around Wednesday

The kind of room I find myself in this morning, a lot of wood, wooden chairs, table.  A cup of coffee.  An open notebook.  Friends, how do you slow down time? 

I was on a plane last month.  I was sleepy, thinking sleepy thoughts.  I thought it smelled like Burger King hamburgers.  They were told to prepare the doors for takeoff, and instead they appeared to be preparing hamburgers. 

I’m surrounded with books and music is playing from the other room.  I’m having this weird feeling, as it’s carried on air, that I’m breathing it.  When you’re in new conditions, the best chance of success is to take a wild guess and it’s always feeling like I’m in new conditions. 

I didn’t hate my father.  I just wanted to put that out there.


Second Landscape

They’re just saying things after things until everything seems a catalogue of everything else.  First it’s cabbage season and then it’s what’s a cabbage anyway.  I don’t know how to tell you this and even if I could I probably wouldn’t do it.  So it’s back to the water tower at six. 

In the second landscape, you’re alien.  Maybe from one country over, or outer space.  It’s pretty much the same thing at this point, with no public transportation to speak of. 

“Hey, Charlie, I forgot to tell you all these things!  Come back!”  But it’s too late, as we haven’t always known the right thing to do.  “What do these pills do?” they kept asking as they descended the hill.  This grass, also, could use mowing.  


Kristina Marie Darling is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and hybrid prose. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the American Academy in Rome, as well as grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Kittredge Fund, the Ora Lerman Trust, and the Rockefeller Foundation Archive Center.  She is currently working toward both a PhD in English Literature at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo and an MFA in Poetry at New York University.

John Gallaher is the author of five books of poetry, including Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (with G. C. Waldrep, 2011), and In a Landscape (2014), as well as two chapbooks and two edited collections. His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Poetry, Boston Review, Chicago Review, and elsewhere.