Issue 14

Poetry: Robert Lietz

Figuring Out the Spread

      Not the first to dream       or make their case
for gravity       — dreaming
of falling parts       — and not the first to wonder
that their words could fail to tell —
marveling the Mayday snows       — gossiping
April’s custodies       — and
never       the first       but visible       — keen
as they’d come to be
on doubt and circumstance       — on
talking off the top       —
thinking to make some what?
or anyhow stay put       —
deciding       — even as weathers
must decide —
to stand on their luck
boasts of good stock
      A man       — polite       among       the forms —
the crimps and registries       — seeing
what foods
these cousins like       — inviting him to laugh —
or       — saying       what
someone       thought of him       — laughing
off the twists
/ the dream-frauds and hovering
commotions       — those
tracks beneath the sills       — those
barefoot tracks       — where
certain bodies
floated up       — presenting
themselves to him
like overnight
      Matters of fact maybe       — the breathing
pine made split
or blown apart to start a vigil       — because
the blooms
were overgrown       — because they had gone ahead
as told
/ reeling       with       the peppers
and       engrossing
cloves       — acting       their own
stuffed selves
and x-ing vowels out —
this ease       to match
the international
      And what       re-seeded lots       — and       what
Suburban       back-lots       — left
to railroads       –what foods these cousins like —
reveal less a world as is       —
reveal the tricks       where       voices
seem to rise
from the construction       — to       speak
from the cement —
from       the surfaces       made to glow
with cosmetic bristling       —
no longer       exactly       comfortable       —
and       always
a little out of touch       –no longer
in the old ways       — to sharpen
alphabets       — spooking
to glow
from spore
/ sprung desolations
and veneers.

Counting by Hundreds / 8 (2)

      Was it the altitude or the reactions of the shorebirds —
buttons       / straps       / or valves       — a music
suited to the mix and open programs       —       to the light
on gemstones as the many currents fled?
See how the jokes take root       — and       the news
from access points.  And       — later —
in the caverns of the brew pubs       — the dramas
root       — so much       as game-skills
would require       — and       chasing
after storms       — leaving
the young men
partisans       / the young men
counting down
the road hazards
and exits!
      Maybe the experience seemed real       — the panels
of light       — imposed and pierced —
the period colors of the settings       — couples
parked on the ridge road       —
unaware of / under       the close watch of the cruisers —
trouble-shooting love       — given
the kind of day it’s been       — and       overlooking
water.       There’s only this surface
anyway       — ill-starred / charmed       — so much
as you can tell       — only
this bass-horn say       — this cross-spiel
to account       — wooing
their reedy likes       –seeing
these lights turned out
for lengths of Scansion Avenue
/ scaling the gossip
with       enforcement
and passing
      The birds we’d fed for years will seem at least
themselves       — and the dusks
unchanged       — the playgrounds       where wings met
unchanged after a fashion       — except
in the words as shipped      — suppers       sown
and fleshed       — and
in the art you think       — or in the process
of refreshment       — whatever
became of offices       / of lives brought out by shots —
into the moving light they finally tire of —
into surfaces and less       — where the umbrellas
turned       / and       seemed
themselves       to make an answer       — too
little to describe —
too       little       to think of minds
conceiving the likes of minds
all over       — given
the kind of day it’s been
/ given       the course
of the draft postures
/ and of the seas
the ghosts


      To find that ridge again       — sunfire       — herself
in that moment       — unwounded
/ whole       — October again       — and the woods coloring —
the crickets murmuring conclusions to a summer.
Darkness       — lifting over Hoytville       —
I wake from the Dream’s antiphon       — body curled
too long one way       — wake to the sculpted grey
/ the cicada-pestered elder       / the Sunday morning cant
of end-time pamphleteers.       And wake remembering —
hearing       ( again )       that slap       — like roof metal
and stormcloud       — seeing that streamlined thing
ripped off its chassis       —  and       then
the night split wide       — in the words
we searched       / the fists       we
put to search       / punishing
      Then chestnut dawn       — reckonings       — the devilish
night-winds calmed       — shreds of daylight
meandering out of grey       — And so I plod toward Eucharist
/ thinking Christ       — Mother of Christ       —
as this one flares       — as if alive and whole  again
/ on her body’s raft       — and       one
among us here       —  like a sacred lamp       –body and body
setting weave       — candling these edens
of our daily tasks.       And so I come to think her blood  —
seeping from bone-pierced forearm
and left ear       — Christ       —  and       Mother
of Christ       —  the sun spoiling
that blood       dripping there       to blacktop —
her blouse and brassierre slit —
that horrible half-second of breasts —
again the gasped poor thing
/ the men I stand among
caught limp.
      The life-flight lifts       / vanishes.  And       Time
becomes       not there.  And       eyes —
like this priest’s own       — fix landscape’s minor rise
/ the corners bright with cherries
and with seasonal bon chance       — as if that Christ —
like an absolute chip speed       — that
sweet storm Jesus       — crashing       the ozone gate —
swept down millennia       / swept
the windward panes and thrashings now of storm clouds.
I shut the windward panes to coming storm.
And  at the eye of motion       — caught       suddenly
and flush       — my own eyes
quickening       — I behold that hand       —  drawn    
across another country twilight    
/ rebuilding the gardens in our flesh       — and   
 feel its slap-start chill       — and     feel    
the heart where one abides —
there       in the flash       and       leaf-
cadenzas       / the flutterings
and kept breath.