Poetry: AV11-Featured Poet

Poetry


Anxiety’s Raiment

Steeped in anxiety’s raiment. I go out. I come back in. Memory’s
vacant strap. There are always small birds twittering at
dawn. Battery life with its hollow echo. It’s eternity when the
power’s off. Coming back on. I row across quiet as if we were
bedmates counting each other’s fingers and toes.

After two centuries of increasing loneliness, I hang my little purse
on a peg. Each pedestrian hunches beneath her singular umbrella,
while light from the grand boulevards gilds it all. There is a
photograph that could not have been taken. A demolition artist
holding a cluster of forgotten ligaments.

Every notion breaks light as through a washed blind. I stir the air
with my commonplaces. Chemical response. Thinking it over.

There are so many nests at the very height. Cacophony’s flutter. I
know it must cease soon. Air my most industrious companion. Flared
out. Lantern fueled by water, wasteland. I bury the toxin deep and
then step back. Clothespin to my nose.

Barbed wire staves off the birds. Mows the wan the newly
warm. Replaces sinew. Sun’s out and I’m caught in catastrophe’s
elbow room. Gridlock’s chatter. Just a sketch now. A partially
destroyed event left out in the public domain.


two peas in a pod

if mind just is brain
raw silk as supple as
seeking many raptures

if mind just is brain
raw silk never as supple as
hunting for such raptures

if silk just is raw
rapture as supple as
seeking brainy oysters

if silk just is raw
rapture never as supple as
hunting for such oysters


Cut

The body is skittish
The body lies in a neighborhood
		scraped away when built
								lair in the swale
						         causes meteorological disturbances
Dormant edge where wood becomes word
		already on the outs
								boys squirreled into knots
						         peel off their soles
Season of intricacy pushed out to the suck
								as a fraction is an object
						         of resurrection
The body sequesters
The body roots in observation
								bridge filed down
						         to a pass key
Alley crop up and coming
						         aromatic cedars are shorn of their nests
The body is deeply weathered
The body lives in loam
		filtered through the leach
         						         calcium knobs roil underfoot
Where the agility of the verb is subsistent
						         in a raucous aviary
Season of rotation sketched onto the site
								code of rings and dots
						         pierces the tympanum
The body unsettles
The body succors on translation
						         Eustachian tubes bursting into bud

Post-historic fable

As a female, I come to this subject with consternation about the heroine’s taboo: fleeing headlong from ravishing afflictions, she enters the vast negative to find quandaries erupting as the limit of space. She becomes involved in a forested area where chance and luck fret at the periphery of objects. Inchoate desire brings attachment to the self-portrait. Events take place over a missing hour: to pinpoint where, she queries when. After her adversaries shoot the pale green weeks, she rubs their scruples against palpable realignment. Although no intimacy of wrongdoing takes place, invulnerability ebbs away.

she’s eager to set off in the blue environs. hell in a prom dress. a boy asks to borrow her mattress. he brings starlings with him to wreck havoc. intimacy is in fact ruptured. is he even awake? there’s no logic to affection, plush to the touch. repeatedly (each time it comes to mind). she attempts to identify the species. everyone is eating something different. it’s a consolation. a package containing a ream of blank paper. escritoire in English. no border between to lie on as she does.

                                        but someone else is now mistress of elusion. expected to plant something verdant as a donation. contributors are written into parts: her so sharp, fractious (the next morning). she has some connection to both sides. and voila! she passes around a stack of photos. carrying the deceased up the mountain and into the room. the general impression is one of shoulders. and mouths wide open. she’s still alive to write my name under the lintel. all’s in order at this end. all is chaos at the other.

                                        mystery night drives by in a sports car. uncertain going somewhere. this new version. beauty pageant in a pastry shop. when she thinks about living there, her life line goes flat. her first clue that she’s not where she thinks she is. I might know where she was headed when she left for Paris. but his arms are filled with wooden batons. smudged eye shadow is something wrong with her. they’re traveling on a map, a painted canvas I turn into a bracelet. as the pattern shifts, it becomes more intricate and spontaneous. pretty hard to miss, but she’s on her own dilemmas. there’s also the question of who will sleep where. engulfed in a sea of flesh.

I mistake the moment of the heroine’s pleasure. Her impossible weight in our difficult city.


Yesterday Was My Birthday

In the company of
a goldfish trapped
in my throat.
A hot triangle.
The sun falls apart
in a clear plastic bag
a child carries.
It dies before home.
In the opera house
a pig in the bathroom
Boiling water.


Accent

I finally had the dream I murdered my father.
I rang him to apologize, but no answer.
There was instead a new answering machine message.

There were harsh buzzing insects
sewn into the impression of my father’s voice,
the one that told me he was not there.

Had these bugs always been there,
stitched below his modest surface?
I rang again for another listen.

When he answered, I hung up.


Taxonomy

Inside the whale,
a little wet, but
everything intact.

The people I met—
a muleskinner,
an Austrian doctor,
had severely aged.
“No” they said.
“It is merely
the damp which
has wrinkled us.”
And It was true.
Nothing had aged.
Everything was
preserved.
It was like a fine
British museum,
right down to
the cockroaches
under our feet.


Sweet Charity

In the middle of a war
you walked over
the frozen pond
on your knees

a shaved head
on your shoulders

to lick the snow
from the glass eye
of the paralyzed fish


Blue Roomate

The moon is my enemy
I wipe my mouth with it

I hide behind a bush
Faster and faster

Like a sleeping city
It barely lifts itself

A warehouse, a ship
that is never empty

the poet forever unpacking


Lullaby To The One Who Won’t Say Goodnight

You wear my missing ribs
As night jewelry around your neck
I gather firewood
Flexing darkness
A humid greenhouse
Of spines and needles
A night without words
Absorbed in extinction

If my steps cause you suffering
Take a knee
Take both