On Ēriks Ešenvalds’s “Stars”

 

Break me gently

Be spilled your light this

song has been the companion

Of my soul for before I was born

Hushing followed like a quiet

A cracking home and the walls

Fall down to you bowed

Sentries silk and armor

Labor

Labor of my soul, lover

Of myself, go gently

Into glory, you spoke

Me into life.

One secret gentle in abundance

Explored me tender ‘til

I find myself a small surrender

A last memory framed

in grass and light where

Walks an angel savior of my silent

Soul, humble and old

Ancient friend, ahead of me

before.

A small crack

Into eternity render me

Oh most love, sweet ripe and life

And the pain of over beauty

And the bigness of heavens

The sounds in this sky and all skies

Jewels in and out of myself

 

Encrusting the very birth of

Every new possible

Every growth in light

The birth of lights and

Awe in everlasting

Everlasting

Everlasting

Last.

The majesty

Is

Always

Stars.

 

 

Ex-Sonnet: Something Beneath the Library

The past few nights I’ve dreamt a stair abyss.
Every narrow city was electric.
Technicolor compasses melting under carpets.
It seemed I was a speck of ink on music
Despite the darkened picture frame and wine,
Each animal collapsed black holes in rooms below
And almost hell’s where I’d wake up at day.
Some secret vacations existed in a dictionary
Some soiled taupe school cardigan
Some hiding cosmic threat to waking peace
In catacombs where no child thought to look.
Along the hall which less and less grew worms
My sweat confessed the staircase was a maze
Where every sky became a clean white glaze
The last I slid on a black and cracking bridge.

 

 

Species—Micromphale*

*“Delightful small people but smelling strongly of garlic.”
-Suzanne Lucas: In Praise of Toadstools

Shy little boys cling to the waistcoats
of trees with their caps pulled low.
Little boys run, sending up spores and dust,
they stretch their hyphae
into community pantries

sprouting upwards from volvas (not vulvas)
and skidding their fungal feet into the
neighbors’ Earthen carpets, Into worm-filled upholstery,
Into the sighing screen doors wafting food spores
which graze their Laccarian gills, but their

little-boy mycelium never root. Not in concrete,
tile or pavement, but they float and flay their scales
to fan the ground and dance over fertile soil releasing
from their fruiting bodies: Asci first, basidia when
that won’t work, popping Blisters

in the ground with secret names.
Growing bodies twice their stalk-lengths, bursting through
the annulus, little boys curl, purpling, rebirthed
from dirt, crown bulbous heads like saprophytes,
to eat the neighbors’ cats—or, they bend

brittle-stemmed, shimmer darkly and
sleep outside on beds of moss to dream up
spotty mushroom rings who glisten like the star-
white backs of grubs in twilight dew,
barely beneath the earth’s dark gemstone crust.

“It was found only twice in solitary grace, on earth banks under beeches and quite ravishing with the loveliness of grey and white and a dancing form. Two of the painted group were successive stages of one toadstool.”
-Lucas

Salem’s Redemption

Part two,
You tilt your chin to the singing sun.
Brazenly trudging like the vandal you are
To Middle-ground, bestial, bruised,
Mushrooms ringing your ankles
Like minnows. Thunderstruck,
Bucks started, tagged your black eyes femme macabre,
Receding like seeds from you, Queen of der hexenkries
Nigh woman or girl, but hellion with breasts.
Because clearly you’re Hera
Fair Contessa reigning Amazons
Weaving their pleats with perfume and barbs.

Incantation for creating poems.

My most recent poetic approaches
Occupy a haunted heaven
where God is always somewhere inexact
And lives repeat or stay amen.
Silence and music invent one another
purgatory shimmering
Calmly from a phantom face. Stillness walks
the garden-paths, condemning none,
nor blessing them, but nodding as they pass.
It’s not the writing palace gates
but a museum of small, Sedated,
meaningless minds. Desolate and
sunbathing where they stagnate into peace.

A shrouded beast, A tangled dark beneath

I. Wordless encounter with a monster

Thee, ancient nameless beast
Confront me roaring, perfectly diseased
By color speck and stroke,
Panicked ablaze. To send my whole,
rendered-liquid self into gasp; Here am I:
facing with my little face
A span longer than life. Your vandalized
identity, messy like the dark truth, Oh

It rumbles my body’s boiling brine. I’ll only resign to
You, your vacuum-suck on my bones, when
For me air solidifies in my throat
And flecks stick in bright mockery
Like chunks and chunks of bone
Weighing down with hard-tack
And black, my stuttered lung.

My vision my words drown, swallowing
Molasses until death doesn’t come.
And you’re hunched cradling
My tangled organ strands charred to black
In your hands like
A small dead thing, a story lost to
A chasm, a broken wing on the back,
A curse of repetition
A waterwheel churning black.

Hymn of the Rescinded Daughter

I stepped into the room of stone.
I stepped onto the mark
I stepped upon the soiled throne
Whence rained around me sparks

Whence walls ignited, white as fear
My limbs, enthroned, went slack
Skulking vernacular pricked the ears
‘fore silence barked forth black

And whilst I clench myself to stone
And whilst I grit to life
A regent kin emblazoned bone
Now bellows charring art

Thee, in-furling shards of truth,
Are blemished from within
I ache to flare these injured texts
To sear in script
your every sin.