Summer

When I draw up my life
in from the clouded sea,
like wrinkled burlap that lay
on the threshing floor
in the winter,

I will wring it out,
tying it up at one end
so that it holds the brass
baubles with my marks
on them.

And God, that hoary
head that rises from the
stones, will strap it to
His belt loop, holding
me by the shoulders
in the warm moon
of eternal summer.

Advertisements

World History 101

Tourists show up at my doorstep
at five on Tuesdays, filed in
from Fresno, Sussex, Mombassa,
and the slums of Moscow.
They wield cameras, newspaper
clippings with my face etched
in their cover, and a curious
amazement at my frame.

I take them around the compound,
pointing out bits of import:
here the mother clutched her child
while they were both shot,
by the rusty gate I vomited
green that came from my soul.

Some snap
pictures, a few
weep, others take
notes lazily,
half-awake
in the lecture hall.

The main attraction, the Jew
who knew the hiding place
of fifty more but said not
a word, taking his mustard
like a man and lying
on the grating with a crooked smile.

More weep, more
take pictures,
some hang
their heads.

The tour complete, I wander,
starved, into a furnace, pushed
by a man with blonde hair
and a t-shirt, half-awake.

I’ll be up again in a week
for another tour.
Class dismissed.


Identity Quilt

I walk, a feast
of ribs jingl-
ing.

I pilfer strips of flesh
from the backs of those
who wander near.

I sew each fresh skin-
piece over the bleached
knobs and cracks.

I fill up the holes,
building a towering chest
out of my brothers.

I build organs, a heart,
from the slices I snatch
from the sides of my sisters.

I pick out shards of my father,
clumping together the sharp
and the dull, shoving
them inside.

I accept every patch of my mother,
weaving them through my toes,
tying them at the end with knots,
stringing them up on a rafter
after I’m done.

The cells stick together and cling
like fire to a broken bough.
My blanket holds me, shields me
from the ice-marrow wind.
Throbbing with whispers of future
and friendship, swelled with blood
that seeps out in conversation
and clinking glasses, I am threaded.


Carnival


Past the ticket takers, into the arch,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
wood. Unturned soil clings to my boot,
new earth for wilted cuttings. The lines
reach back past the bordering fences.

Into the pulsing masses, past the young,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
hair. A steeple without a point or
base, pliable, the gate rusts and swings
wide against the airy smiles, polite

as they hear the ride drifting by them,
ribbon-tied with rosary-rugged
skin. Mournful creaking holds the structure
upright, fear that it might shatter keeps
the passengers in, clutching their bags.

Will it come round again? The whirling
dervish that spins with child octopus
arms; the face which so squarely met
mine leaned back to the crimson circus
cushion. The carny flips his wrist and pulls.

The tin tornado loses its cen-
ter, spilling its innards onto
the soil littered with con-
fetti. Children detach
and forget the ride,
slouching away
going home
with no
change.


Howdy folks (or folk)! It’s been a little while since I made a post so this is a little something to make up for lost time. This poem has been a full month in the making and has come only in pieces to me. I completed it last week and then spent this week revising it and getting it to a point I’m partially comfortable with. Hope you enjoyed it!


Parallel Lines

Sign language, the billboard
of earth gods: skulls on a
shaman stick. Oil and water
in a decanter, room temper-
ature, releasing fumes
until it can be swa-
llowed. Beaks through egg-
shell white huts, pulling
the outside in and folding
it, a metal chair.

It lies on the ditch without
a bridge or bottom.


————————————–

Sorry for the long break from posting, guys. Reading Lacan takes energy.

This poem came out of a pretty agoraphobic experience, where a lot of existential problems emerged at once. Hope you enjoyed it!


1 July 1916

I keep a list of interesting lines for when I want to write a poem, but haven’t had a particular bit of inspiration strike me. This poem came out of a note I wrote to myself which said, “Last words pinned to the inside of a jacket before leaving trench.” The title comes from the date of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, in WWI, which was one of the largest conflicts in that war, and the archetypal trench conflict in history. Hope you enjoy!

————————

Marie, if bullets come
from my side, remember
to keep my casket
shut with stone.
I will not stay in
a trench,
but crawl to the other side.
My comrades are bound, beyond
the line that I must cross.
Let our children hear
that their father died
for them.

————————–


Sacramental Vision

Instead of posting poetry by yours truly, I’ve decided to showcase a writer I recently heard about named John Leax. Here’s a bio from www.thehighcalling.org:

Dr. John Leax is poet-in-residence at Houghton College in Houghton, New York, where he has taught literature and writing since 1968. He pursued graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University writing seminars. He is a serious gardener, has a contagious passion for sailing, and has been married 37 years. In the meantime, Dr. Leax has published three books of poetry, a novel, and several volumes of prose, all listed at his web site. His latest book is Tabloid News, a poetry collection from WordFarm, 2005. Recently, he launched Houghton College’s online Christian Literary Magazine Stonework. John is a member of The Chrysostom Society.

It’s always good to see a Christian poet doing good work and not making a cliche of himself. Here’s the poem I found today:

———————-

Sacramental Vision

Sometimes in my dream
he is still alive.
We stand at the fence
talking about the garden.
“Plant kohlrabi,” he says,
and I remember the way
he’d slice white wafers
from the bulb, offering
them to me balanced
on his knife blade.
I would eat again
that sharp sacrament
and join myself
to that good world
he walks, but I wake
in time
and know my flesh is one
with frailty. The garden
I must tend is dark
with weeping, grown up
in widow’s weeds.

From The Task of Adam – 1985