martes, noviembre 10, 2009

New Poems From Reid Mitchell


You built dolls for the owner

of the black house, played piano

for the scenes you put in his mind,

gave him two wives, one bride unstripped,

hydraulic cunts, and mirrors

too many to count. You invited

all of us into the black house,

and I went in not knowing

that I could never get out.

Nights have grown so long

I need some woman to hold

but you have made me afraid

of trusting where I touch. The owner

of this house hired imaginations.

Imagine me a way to get out.

No Trumpets

When I arrive to desert rock and the long laddered night

to wrestle crude angels and dislocate my hip,

I find a trick, a cornball trick: there’s only me:

A cheap, shoddy revelation, not worth the making.

So I squat and I dream of water in a cold clay jug

that I must tug from your rough hands.

You have some notion of blessing me

with scattered drops lost from your sacred palms

and magic’d away before they plop

on my increasingly golden head,

my self-appointed saint

with your cool alabaster mosaic feet.

I dream and squat halfway to almanac’d dawn.

The angel of fire and the angel of ice

the angel of sun and the angel of testimony

play dice over our ghosts,

a penny a point,

and leave us egg, salt, and flatbread for manna,

dew to drink whenever we, shadowless, wake

from our never sufficient sleep,

and start our days again, blinded.


My days have known nothing of my nights

furious storms breaking retaining walls

and floods that drowned my mind

stranded my soul on slate rooftops

sent my eyes and lips and liver floating fast

and boiled waters into waste

My nights, spent in shelters with night people

assembling new solutions from a saved pocket watch,

grand maw-maw’s crochet, photographs of fatal surgery

and their collections of foreign songs and feathered wings

I see ankles finer than madness

shoulders greyer than pearl

mouths rouged with pinot noir

thighs as thin as poppets

earrings strung out on clotheslines

and patience as short

as Pepin the dwarf in the vaudeville next door.

I have seen the starry dome crack itself to let in moonlight and rain.

Reid Mitchell is a New Orleanian living in Quanzhou, China. His poems have been published in numerous journals, including Pedestal, In Posse, Softblow, and Cha, where he is currently guest poetry editor. Mitchell's novel A Man Under Authority was published by Turtle Point Press. He frequently writes with Hong Kong poet Tammy Ho.