viernes, diciembre 28, 2007
You’re the captain
Of team obvious—
A necessary job:
Reduces the obviating
Tendencies of the
Upper echelons, allows you
Impunity to stare
At hot blonds, consume more
Than you deserve. I’ve got
To go try and find
Demeter Whispered Die Meter!
Nowhere But Here To Get To
Not a constant
No bland nor time for
Jaded yet I am—
I have so many
Things and so
Few basic verbs—
Between when I’m
Ranging being or dead to
I like being
“Out of it” but partly
Fear this stance—
Is fighting for.
I don’t want to read the things
Nor the script of not—what brings
Many’s my goal. The dark blue
Sky vasts through
Out the window; how far is
An owl hits—
Hooks—bleeds—swifts home—hungry chicks.
The earth’s pap
Someone ruthlessly tap-taps
And I slap
Money down—night caps.
What’s the etymology of albumen? An advanced answer is a
Question. The ocean view versus garden pondered
By someone who can afford either.
Is there a truest I in this body I’m unaware of?
I suspect an answer will be in love—lies to itself it likes sleeping—dreaming
Wagons loaded with watermelons, their flesh shot through with arsenic. Someone
Whispers in a language I didn’t know but understood, and took her to get a beer but she
Got coke and demurred to barely being there; we couldn’t talk; she bowed and left into
The third pull of my second bottle—warmer than the first but me less thirsty. A hot
Breeze quickens my emerging buzz—the sunset seems amniotic; birds chirp in
The branches of trees like people frolicking at the beach—simile as affirmation of difference;
I’m suspicious of paradox—by degrees which don’t complete a circle.
I’ve never seen one but plane trees erected my emotion. When I’ve Looked into the ocean
I’ve never thought a grave; I have felt blood runs my brain: pulses
Bob Marley’s "Stranger on the shore," littered with rubber-sandals, tennis shoes,
Lighters, Batteries, bottles.
Adam Strauss lives in Las Vegas. He adores the poetry of George Herbert and would love a career writing pop songs.
lunes, diciembre 03, 2007
my injustice was the only way I knew how
try and save us
there in the rain
kept falling and falling
like a dead Santa down the chimney
of a very rich girl
a heap at her feet
toads came out onto the golf course
the college girls put their professors to bed
and headed out
in my sleep I kept asking
"are we there yet?"
the apparitions at my bed
munching milk and cookies
shrugged their shoulders
"do you think we're your dreams?" they asked
my heart is full of rubbish
my false hope is a tenement
made from cheap cement
they of course answer "no"
as I walk back home
to your letter
about never coming back
this is not nearly enough
my false hope also sings
all the work that was left means nothing now
why finish a city that dies because of a woman
there is nothing in the other rooms
my heart is almost completely full of rubbish
but there is nothing to burn
nor any need of a fire
I couldn't save you
of course this is all lies
and who are you
you who needs saving
in my democratic hallucination
this tremendous weight on effort
"but where is this effort?"
bring me something
a mouse in a bucket
a farmer with a giant rabbit in his hands
"you can't eat the GNP," says the farmer
"wanna bet?" answers the giant rabbit
resemble an impossibility
once priding its incredulity
wedded to arrogance
calling itself caution
"be suspicious of your heroes,"
says the giant rabbit
among the cabbages made of corn
any courage today
is turned immediately into corn
given a side glance
a bushy white mustache
there is nothing for you here reader
go home to your family
the majority of the cars in the street are white
I say "the cars in the street are white"
the rabbit says "the cars are made of corn"
someone else says "the cars are blue"
these are all lies
but mine has the most truth
like that fucking motorcycle
it has the most noise outside my window
has been decomposing
in the Santa suit
at the bottom of a sewer in Mexico City
I am swimming
in old food
the logical conclusion would be to stop
or at least get a job as a famous scientist
with giant tits
the man on the television
in my dream
speaks of his 4 year old daughter's vagina
stretching and stretching
apparently kids do it
and you don't call back
and I avoid her calls
with too much shit hanging
are drunk again
"she's the one," they a cappella
my neighbor tells me his wife
he tells me with a kind of mad look in his eye
"she is sick…what do I tell the kids?"
there are dreams that are more horrifying
upon waking up
these are not the dreams with
ghosts sitting at the table
picking through old bones and jewelry
or appliances working when unplugged
nor are these dreams about the beloved
grey haired, weeping
you lose your voice
a knock at the door brings 6 men
now you are in a bare room
with flamenco rhythms in the floor
sitting unable to move
learning to write your name
which appears as two convex lines
there is no teaching you
you know your name by heart
is this your name
looking up shyly
nothing is true
but everything is permitted
Peter Golub is a frequent contributor to Zone. He teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
lunes, noviembre 12, 2007
jueves, noviembre 01, 2007
Nothing is older than a speck of dust
Or taller than a blade of grass.
Three people God wished he never created:
Darwin, Marx and Bertrand Russell.
To liberate women is to liberate the mind of man
From ignorance that enslaved women in the first place.
It’s when I’m ready to leave a place,
That I want to speak my thoughts.
Our worst enemies are hiding
Beneath the faces we love.
I thought of you and wrote about bread,
I thought of bread and wrote about people,
I thought of nothing and wrote about flowers.
Whisper in my ear Andalusia,
Sunlight trills in my hybrid veins.
Russell, there is a viper ready
To strike the bones yellow.
Bazaar and my soul is defined
In the babble of throbbing streets.
Trinkets and I hear your heart sing
While day spins into arms of night.
I took away the dimension of performance from the truth.
When an actor dreams she pokes fun at the audience.
Sleep is relative – the face of the sleeper is not.
The actor is dreaming of beads – perhaps.
The actor prays that death may not catch her
Drowsing eye unawares. She is afraid for the face
Delectably naïve. For her the stage is an absence.
No one dare contrive the truth. That would defile
The totem. It means disaster to the existence of the tribe.
My brother eagle circumambulates the clouds and my
Sister crow is earthy as a worm wriggling through the soil.
The thing I cannot imagine is the mind of a torturer.
I suspend action to let myself into the solitude of
Drifting thoughts. I’ve the anger of a victim in me.
I’m the victim of a life I could’ve avoided living.
The torturer is not an actor because he contrives
The truth without believing in it. Torture divorces spirit
From flesh. The torturer is at war with the stage.
Evening lights take me in the direction of the wind.
The time zones of the past are framed in missing
Spaces of the present. On a red hill night came as nights
Do stealthily eclipsing the day’s madness. You’re not asleep.
Like all actors in the grinding mill of the imagination the
Day permeates every cell of the night. Was I weeping
At the thought of my death? I braced myself for
An end no more real than the life I lived.
The timeless body is queen of illusions.
The space between standing on a road
And dreaming of pavilions –
No fool that knew the queen would return into
The cave of time. You cannot glamorize
The perishing world of senses except
Through the gaze of the queen.
Untranslatable as the dark is the
Queen of pavilions.
In my dreams but never in
Reality the queen is a trespasser in veils,
The dream is reality – I don’t
Need walls of prisons to persuade me
That I’m serious to the point of
Ill-concealed bitterness. What is written
On the forehead is not the same as what
Lips utter with the conviction of a born dreamer.
Death forgives in a way that life never does.
Love’s nests are built by the art of putting twigs together stolen from birds.
Migrant laborers return from spaces where they work for survival. When they speak of returning home they mean lying in a love’s nest until morning.
I want no home for my own. I built my nest in your heart that flies from hill to horizon back to the hill. Your love nestles everywhere. Homeless is that heart of yours but that is my home.
In the fatal embrace of lovers we discover our homes in the warmth of each other’s faces.
The nest shelters from sad raindrops falling on your eyes and my head in your lap. The bodies of lovers never part. They remain in nests for lover or beloved to come back into the arms of the other.
Love is your body that crosses mine like pencil marks on a page gently wiped out by an eraser. On the page of my life is your body. All the pencil marks add up to the point where they eternally diverge from one another. At the point of divergence my life becomes one with your body.
I need your lips on my neck. We coil into one another. A tree with branches opening to the sky. The sky filling the bosom of the tree. The tree nestling against the sky. In your belly is a button. I press the button to reach the home I come to sleep.
I imagined before it happened. I make my nest in the thoughts of the sleeper. The sleeper is one among infinite other bodies. The sleeper is infinite in one body.
I hugged the body with the strength of my arms. Will that body remember me when I’m gone?
I felt each part of the body with my lips. Will that body forgive my lips for daring to feel?
I composed music for lips on a soul inside a body. Will music produce the passion of a palm tree when lovers meet at dusk?
I was alone inside you sharing the loneliness of your innermost self. Will you make me a slave of that dark region that does not allow words to enter?
I battled with jealous ghosts in fear that I might lose you. Will death spare my soul the memory of your caress?
I ran from mirror to mirror in outstanding places for the hem of your shadow. Will your shadow smile into my eyes with pity?
I wondered if a word is what makes something beautiful or something is beautiful before the word knows it. Will you let my words pass over your body like dew from the sky?
I drank from the cup of bitter sweetness the waters of a tap made for the mouths of children celebrating their long gestation in the womb. Will the cup teach me to endure moments of your absence?
I longed for the littleness of a bonsai that I may be in the room of your heart. Will you expand your heart to accommodate a stranger that speaks in the tongue of the intoxicated?
I turn in bed that night may pass and morning break the monotony of a restless body. Will this body be patient when it sees you uncoiling from the hibernation of a long night away from dreams?
I dug the grave of my early youth for words I used that came to end in a romantic nothing. That was how the world of light looked to me. Darkness is thicker than light. The smell of sweat in a glimmer. I am in love with a vase I’ve never seen. Blood is water mingled with time. My blood disseminate to the sea. Mingle into the blood of the one I love.
Prakash Kona (born July 14, 1967) is an Indian novelist, essayist, poet and theorist who lives in Hyderabad, India. He writes in English, and is the author of six books to date: Words on Lips of a Stranger (Writers Workshop, Calcutta 2006), Pearls of an Unstrung Necklace (Fugue State Press, New York 2005), Literary Criticism: A Study of Pluralism (Wittgenstein, Chomsky and Derrida) (Wisdom House Publications, Leeds 2004), Streets that Smell of Dying Roses (Fugue State Press, New York 2003 & Yeti Books, Calicut 2006), Poems for Her (Writers Workshop, Calcutta 1999) and You and Other Poems (Writers Workshop, Calcutta 1997). His fiction is highly unusual, an experimental combination of free-floating emotion and political theory that can depict, for example, a city or a love relationship in an ambiguous, flowing, non-concrete and yet highly personal and heartfelt manner.
miércoles, octubre 17, 2007
Water: A short sonnet sequence
Each broken branch in the dream
is an eraser, connecting, perhaps conning
writing, the arm, heart, sap moving
in the earth. The dream.... If leaf
covers the glass, the language
is veins, but still glass.
Still water, movement perhaps
beneath the dream, inside broken branch.
The speed of the eye can receive
light, yet never keep up.
The tiring swimmer, resting
in still water, measures flat glance,
glass reflecting minutes to shore,
to branch, leaf, mote.
Green lawn expanse, bright sunlight.
Word magnet traces water.
There was water, too, that Anglesey
walk upward, sheets of weed
cover hiding the red thread,
the underflow of deserted dream—
zoomed fence of friends’
divorce I’d held close.
False laughter gave away half
the choice loyalty was asking.
My white cottage home, my ground,
slid roadward in divided silence.
Landscape so bright it hurts.
Another thing about thunder is dirt out
of the rain following—
Traces of gases and dust water
our knives as we wallow or dust bathe
or gallop into battle. The offkey
singers—do they hear Callas and say
callous, or is it callous in,
cailloux out? Bright October morning,
history before the song, blocks out
cloud over dusty hill, above new asphalt.
Altitude, mass, elegy disappear, string
switching freight roar, alarmed bell
blown along the glint of track,
track glinting in lightning.
Band sand rand Dan flowering,
silver trail snail crab mountain rising.
Pausing outside the Jonqueres exit of Urquinaona station,
a short translation of some bounded part
of Barcelona, the lights on Laietana—
the throng I watch this November night.
For the English to find the full city is impossible.
Sunday morning, or Sunday evening, the move back
goes to cards, poker, say, or bridge,
and a bluff. This vision, then, in
the direction of Barceloneta: the bright
playing cards in fourteen rows, the flies
about us as we sweat on the sand:
perception of absent water.
Sonnet Lullaby: Sleep
Come on, now, let’s go to sleep...
Look at all these colorful fish here,
wiggling their colorful little tails
and fins, drowsily, in the shifting
currents of the deep, deep water.
Other animals come and swim, too, by
the time space ship arrives...
Bear and Dog play, jumping around. At
some point it won’t work: some
problem seems to come up. Who’s who here?
Then the bright little dog icon springs away upward,
toy species or a species of toy. Sublime.
Smiling, he sits there, fitting in.
The currents tug. This way. That way.
Greenwich and the beroached place you left
have to come, willy nilly, poem unable
to find the eye, the third, the beast.
It is additional text put off,
flowers overgrown that tumble,
then recede to photography.
You’ll be out. I phone ahead anyway.
You’re out. I walk over anyway,
through a fast New York crowd,
Friday before work’s out. Three,
now four outs in one sonnet: a trend.
Above the frame of real steel girder,
in the photograph’s mirrored space, home flies in:
augmented fourth of summer repertory.
It isn’t that reading wasn’t
thinking other thoughts before.
(Thinking thoughts echoes though.)
In the notebook—“the” notebook!—
in a notebook, I draw
car car car car car car
then try to convince myself
the drawing was thoughtless,
pen simply following hand, no
mind. No-mind. Nomind.
Light turbulence somewhere’s
pulled rain clouds into giant jeans.
Nomind. Only water, water, water—vroooom.
William Bain grew up in Indiana and earned an English Literature degree with a Chemistry minor from Indiana University. In addition to writing, he is also a visual artist whose work has been in collective exhibitions in Barcelona, Spain. His poems and stories have appeared in various paper and electronic publications, most recently in RedRiverReview, Roundonline, and previously in Zone. Currently, he works as a translator and is a PhD student in Literary Theory at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
jueves, octubre 04, 2007
Grey branches reflect on the grey pools,
and a few colored stones.
The cold, taken shallow to my lungs. A morning
before full sun, the year
already turning itself toward cold. Upgrade
through brush I passed,
inspecting the board well-cover, seeing it secure
against small deaths,
walked further among the season's
fine-boned trees, become
bars of light as now October sun
Higher still through wood, occasionally
stumbling, past the ground birds'
abandoned nests, the place years back
I laid the cat I could not bury,
passed to the broad forehead of stone
that overlooked two highways,
and rested myself
Tired a little but too restless still for sleep,
I spent that afternoon
in the last sunlight before snow
one love's stand, and the first uses
of our passions. But nothing
of that woman kept. Only
the raw stone her figure
would be cut from.
No matter what primaries her skirts flare,
no matter what murders are resolved
by the events in the next parlor, it’s plain now
Truth holds briefly for transcription
then goes on in its strange face. I exit clean,
only a little nearer Truth, closer
in this work than in my life, walking
among charred stones
set into the turned earth, her words,
like seeds I could not carry,
and like this wide grain entered,
from which a host's
WELCOMING THE HEIRLOOM DINING SUITE
Sweat crates to attic heat. Sweat short-coming love.
He stops to think or stops to catch his breath. He
lets his fingers graze the lettering set deep in an old page,
couples addressed as properties, and puzzles
the guarantees, examining the finer print for sinkholes,
remembrances a swamp turned on, remembering
the week spent moving in, weeks of trying prices out, of
dragging the colors down from racks of carpet rolls.
So now these faces swim to him. He sits, among the oldest
furniture, two damaged chairs, and the stained buffet,
minus the feast-day linens, while over him, in stillness,
(more or less than he admits,) form these words
he stands the tonguings of, the voices of clerks, of bookkeepers
sharpening dark points, the mouths of dreamers
or of men about to cry, of lovers stinging their fingertips
with flirts. Words a block may well have heard
as the train's blare fill the grooves and curlicues, this
great-grandfather's brother's handiwork.
The voices of years, just under the percussion, he sips
his Stevens and pinot. And the sun, about the spot
it did the evening they moved in, makes this puzzle now,
of rooms the spirits open and renew, dreaming
the futures ahead for him, their homely séance say,
brought on by its arrival, and their words like chips,
bearing the coded whole, like a foreign constancy
far into the heartland. A woman sips her crushed melon drink.
A keyboard nudges the bass-soloist along. He
serves the hues and tones of it, and she, without a name,
among these visitors starwalking joists, leaping tufts
of insulation beds, brushes his day-wearied head, feeling
the drag of winters she had whispered him across, this
brightening last of sun, bubble of light at his wine's rim.
And Poetry, because he's asked too little of it, resists
such addings up, resists these autumns, peeled back
like decreations, the looks of a well-made furniture,
teasing the lines and shaded arcs a grown son
tries on for size, trying the names a woman
has to introduce him to.
A rap downstairs. The day's report?
The insurance from North Baltimore?
Not so much by words as by the luxury of timing,
he thinks to raise the dead, waving
the lesser ghosts along, that had leaned above our page
or haunted in our crawlspaces,
like night silks, or borrowings on rainbows.
He feels for his pulse,
and writes the heart of it, leaving these letters again
for friends he just as well could visit,
until the crowding faces quit, long enough
for sleeping, and the menace dulls,
and properties, aligned by their machines,
seem bright sundries, left behind
of a half-century's indenture.
You could have your laughs at it, a man, gone
loony at dream's brink,
easing a moonlit post ( like love notes ) into mail-slots.
Had we not feared that double sky,
and feared the figures now, that lean on our horizon?
Had we not wondered, he asks,
to hear that quickened murmuring, as far as we are
inland, the hum of the sea absorbed
in hand-delivered mail?
He holds the world in check, against our industry's
exhaustion. And tries the lingo on for size,
remembering the boys we were, 1960, '61, kids,
like a mood's coin-toss, abused
( may be,) withstanding the well-aimed ridicule of freaks,
the well-meant tease of strippers
at town line. He remembers all of it, their pearls
and fire-rimmed bells, these "girls"
in their fifth decades, Patience L'Rope
and Caitlan Brace
and Sylvia Appeal, trusting the lights
and fun of it, trucked in to be
the last enlivenings of sand-lots,
like live inventories,
brightening the gist
of letters yet.
As if the dreams of men were prophecies
as if that downy wilderness our eyes camped at
had marked the outer limits
to belief: I take to heart this tribute scotch
and evening's “mail,”
hearing the neighbors a house up, pacing
their screened-in porch
and weighted down by colors,
threatening the sheriff
on his head.
And he remembers all of it, the booths and rides,
the fries and sticky treats, the rides
boys quit, to choose their humblings at sideshows.
Lively, and still young, the dates we paid on
watched us hard and sweetened marriages for decades,
women following him to dreams,
and, in his orphan focus, waving to him from porches
he has brought to a full boil, able to sleep at last,
whistling wassail and spitting into shade,
revising carnival, absorbing
the night cries
that could have meant a chaos, the sounds
of trash cans overturned
behind the Cheney I.G.A., the whispers
or brides to be, at work on blue coiffures,
as if his mistrusts
might heal us, his rappings sharpen hearts,
and he -- like a place
where stars might have to go -- had
discovered another way
to entertain the prayerbooks,
getting that all down,
before our waking
finishes the lives
Late-evening August light fades
from the stained glass in parish windows,
from broken fifths in city playgrounds.
Beyond the pump-your owns and body-shops,
past the rain-warped sheds,
streets narrow, and the carnival lights
enter one another, a swirl
you can pass through, here, with all your lives,
a small calm pitched against skin braced
for celebration, converging on the sideshows
August nights allow: Snake conjurers,
and women who guarantee good fortune,
dare-devils two-wheeling ramps
and leaping fires, the half-dress and spectacles
tucked off in recesses, and Wali,
knife-wielder, executing, blind-folded,
the Dance of masked Defense.
A half-dollar on Wali! Black-lights empurple
his figure center-ring. He slashes, parries,
slipper-stepping light that should not be light.
Fifteen attackers cannot penetrate his cover!
You are assembled at his edges. Ten years old,
too proud to be enchanted, fifteen
years old, overworking prowess at the sports booths,
transparencies, overlays, one and the next.
The room careens like this forever. And Wali,
under lights so soft they blare, unopposed,
unarmed, solos against the midway's din
and locomotion, his arms' measure of wind
raised to commemorate these stragglers,
whom he cannot see, or look for,
for whom he cannot depend.
To be heard, regarded mindfully, I risk
the crossfire lawns, the frantic radios
establishing stage-right. Even the wind,
in concert, chilling the left hand,
gets me privately, remembering the gesture's
sweep, the tablet of erasures,
the public and finished recipes. More like
myself, more blind, on these
ungoverned terraces, I come out to breathe
because I've had my exercise, to see
the trains storm through, confusing the crests
where lives, like terrible petals, flared,
where the fogs burn off over the poured yards,
revealing the children
playing for small change. And who am I
to tell, to boast a strict celebrity,
to play my witness on this muffled instrument?
I hear the locomotion grind. And I
assume my place among the local celebrants,
their morning biscuits and understated praise,
their evening lamps made dark as by design,
driving a mood beyond the hubbub memorized,
the crisscrossed lines I read
on this uplifted palm, and almost find names for.
Would I attempt the scene again, to find
my way across that field of contraptions,
the shoulder exposed and blush, to see again,
behind the kinder zeroes of successes,
the lengths of forearm disappearing
into vapors, raised to mute the probable
guitars, and the unceasing brass
of still-spent influence?
The reasoning does some good, even
the moody summaries, the corners of the place
adazzle with active instruments.
Nobody's mischief interrupts. Nobody's fingernail
on oiled wood disturbs our innocence,
explains this whispering, in seasonal scents,
in afterlight, achieved and brisk,
fluttering on the sills and in the window-wells,
because the rain let up, because
the minutes of last light sit hemming green,
seep to this moonlight now made partial
with ellipses. The mood carpenters abstracts,
sets the medium as is. A smokey wood
warms through, and snarls, coaxed by scraps,
a people moving chairs for their tutorials
at the wizard's heels, asking what's to read,
what's to understand in looks that shade and concentrate,
more perishably alive, asking what vehicle,
what rippling ill-figured love, what vanity,
my dears, explains the uses of such light,
the arrangements of the personal in adventure's sway.
We learn to sit spoiled air, to mount
the rungs of light, the steeps of parturition
and the living will. And we let ourselves
be named, buckle history to meantime, let rescue
serve alluring prominence, having fallen this way
upon the world's gates, fallen from faiths
like ironies, the oldest faiths, like sculpted cream
exhibited to fire, leaving these empty plates,
this space, and all the chairs turned down,
the mead-cups turned, in defective
Nobody's hand excites new blooms,
welcomes a traveler into shops,
into the bright cafes, asking what it's like,
imagining the personal maps
and, piece by piece, topographies of heart,
the ice and the blonde ash,
the eerie adagia daylight fails to mend.
The daylight fills with warblings,
with bashful rant, with mild and reckless
entertainments, letting matters spill,
allowing the desperadoes in, ourselves,
in a time of desperadoes,
in corporate receipt, a scrivening, blown
among tired stars, leaving
a man his heart's hysteria and nonchalance.
I belong to these the solid props
of my survival, these roots exposed
by the wind's rush,
and the commanding irises. And to this
rush of Time, seasonal and brief,
reduced by what appears, by the pitched
asymmetry, the excitement calendared.
I let them ask and ask again. I read the lay
of misadvantage as the flames repeat,
the faces of kids we were, charged
alive at the dewpoint of emotions, like
an alien nonsense scored, as if
to think we had ever been so young,
and to be young enough
No less solid to touch. No less
at loss to say my innocence. I confess
such chill, such capricious ice,
all I've wished on and endured, this talk
more driven to conceal
than make plain, rasped with texts
a kid looked forward to.
And hadn't we all looked forward to?
Hadn't we burned old growth,
turned char, spread lime and let lime sit,
as if the eyes of ancients
approved our being there, approved the flames
we put to use in our perfecting,
believing we'd learned to fight
so not to be surprised,
believing the sweats, and tributes
of salute, the shocks behind
Not these jokes, these boardgame
parodies. Not these slopes,
gone when we woke up, these young stars
dropped into the lap
of that pale moon, brooding pieces
that do not seem to fit. For all I've
wished on and endured,
I hold the misery in tact, the bob and bruise
of martyrs as they fought,
their children waking, shaking
the cobwebs off, who gasp
and vanish murmuring, whatever
the nightmare spilled on them,
the abstractions of singed air, leaving
these coals to taste, to speak
their absences, these tongues
refined by fire, these
words brought home by all
that chalky business
of the planet.
Amazement simplifies, the heart
to resist gone out of it,
leaving the stewards destitute. As if
there had not been
another paradise, another comedy
but this, diamond but this
in flames of honeymoon! I read the factored claims,
the trussed look
of misbegotten argument, of the hungers
choired in higher registers.
And trace the day again to arms,
tracing the old man's lines
on the child's upturned palm, the maps,
of genius, spent, like legend,
like motility, inhering yet
in the still-life.
The spirit cries in time and double-time.
Hues made solid when strangers pass
establish speed and place. We let ourselves
be named, leaping worlds as it seemed,
partners in sheer time, suspended, giving in,
accepting the words it took us lifetimes
to be speaking, like an exquisite latency,
the words as natural as anything
we'd found around the city, the ethereal tango
and descriptive pantomime. Mind
rests, responsibly, having addressed itself
to every sort of proper conduct.
Could we have been so dense, sealing our pasts
away with claims of rapture, renaissance?
The colors pester, signify. The sudden
greenery. The eyes of sheep, grazing
round the compost, opening a seamless place,
hearts made several, and seasons
made behave, leaving the sweetness spoiled
for us, the pique of misarrangements
with the highpriests and police. I have
this morning's sums and evening's tympani,
these committed inventories, boxed,
scored for the next century, (when the century
forgets,) and have these voices whispering,
leaving their ordinal and off-grey mark,
their heat like kinds of poetry we'd asked for.
I brace myself for streets, blood-bitten
and spit, for menace and saints made adamant,
the misfigured riffs like kinds of piloting,
fathoming their business and more fertile
ease. Had we not felt their dreams,
felt with them the conditional imminence
of dreaming, of dreams let go
among the spirals of becoming, the brightening
and receding light, arriving again
as seasons might arrive, not exactly light
so much as the refinements
on a sentence, the curves of seemly pas de deux,
as sudden to sense as ends of quarreling,
as the excitements quickening the orphans'
magazines? I speak, as if remembering,
and have these words to tell, like contracts,
crumpled, in the fiddler's grips, to feel again,
in the whack of birthright and annihilation's sweep,
hopes prospering, worth the wait and see,
highlights straightening to columns, lending
the hand support, standing the weight
of history, the sway of languages the centuries
have given over to prayer.
STORM SERVICE (2)
Beneath this roof till weather lifts
I hear calamity report, scale
the ladder to loft, wondering how old
the carved hearts,
the boasts set in their initials. Stories
I would not have asked stars for,
(one woman's death, the last words
from one child's physician,)
chasten this heart troubling backwards into plurals,
the boy I was, dazed
by the long dying of his grandma,
listening through storm's throb,
an autumn bride, already large with our doomed child,
treading deep the 8-day
dying of the first born, me-not-me, finding
a way toward sleep,
fingering pocket-change for ale, learning to sleep
flat out and pummeling a mattress,
imagining the maps of cities I had no business in.
And there, gambling in light years,
outside the pinball lounge, we found
our closeness had its costs, tough
as we seemed to be, entering that hub
of saxophones and ale,
hoping on hidden bells we tossed our coins to ring
to find ourselves in cash
we had no chance of winning: I hear
that jukebox grumbling yet,
steadying kids affecting steel, repeating as their own
their fathers' versions of two fronts,
and hear that grumbling again, this far
into the century, behind
the metallic blues, the greens and apple reds
of street machines, men
rushing blood away, and the too-white flesh
of Morelli's torn forearm. I see
that child's halved spine. I hear the blue-glint
newborn's troubled breathing still,
more pink for all the lamp-glow of Ward X.
And see, with gist preserved,
off-angled ribs, lips calmed, spine smudged
with that brown salve, and still
no clue for all of her confusion, my eight-day
daughter tossed again upon creation,
as the waters climb the slip-runged
ladder of her spine, no breathing
then, without her knowing it.
Hadn't I talked the horrors out, storm's own,
and talked the keenest edge
of the spun moon, to charm my silo back
and Bach, to hear this haunted news,
this hollowed bull, yielding neither love nor rescue?
And here, where trespass shows its face
for miles, with this Eroica like some next realm,
I feel myself in years ahead, like a signature
to work through, beneath this roof till weather lifts,
under the dream-darkening, dream-flocked
skies, and find these bodies, as it were, crossing back
to atoms, and find we're in for more of it,
for mischief flown like kinds of disbelief,
until the needles catch, until the trouble's
not to cry. Love, lost as the dear link in one child's spine,
the mobius love was, leading away then back,
and thought, spared storm, turned in sympathy
to woodwinds: I say this blessing
on charmed stuff, and on these lovers now, sipping
their noon wine, feeling the coffee's
hold, brightening to these first names brought on
by their initials, and a blessing
on that first born, boxed, buried unmarked
above the grave of her great-grandmother,
asleep among the scraps of a first marriage,
a blessing on these kids, absorbed by dung
and genitals, on these, and these,
that never lived as children, thirsting for blood
but puzzled to be pillaging our daylight,
to scent, for the first time, the light of day
beyond sprung lids, after all of it
surprised, hearing the course of love
surprised, in anybody's accent.
Robert Lietz is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Ohio Northern University, with nearly 500 poems appearing in more than 100 journals in the U.S. and Canada, including Agni Review, Carolina Quarterly, Epoch, The Georgia Review, The Missouri Review, The Northern American Review, The Ontario Review, Poetry and Shenandoah. Seven collections of Mr Lietz's poems have been published, including Running in Place (L’Epervier Press), At Park and East Division ( L’Epervier Press), The Lindbergh Half-century (L’Epervier Press), The Inheritance (Sandhills Press) and Storm Service (Basfal Books). Basfal also published After Business in the West: New and Selected Poems.