I like poetry. For me it is the art of putting broken words together, fixed. Kintsugi for the jumbled thoughts that exist without rule or border, where people try, fight, celebrate, and debase themselves to make sense. I don’t like a lot of poetry, despite my Twitter account constantly liking things I read. I moreso like the act of trying to create; I read words sometimes, and see the process the writer went through to make it just so. Poetry is an extreme example, and not a monolithic “one example,” as it is myriad.
Most poets I read try and put a puzzle together, where the process is clear they see the work as a puzzle: how do I make this impactful? Drawing up all the possibilities, all the -sauri meowling around in their heads like living creatures, conjuring words that yes, yes fit. In seeing the work as a puzzle, as a here fits there fits this word isn’t working, the writer is removed of a certain pace, or rhythm, or movement. A professor’s words come to mind when I write this: “Never use the word ‘Flow’ when critiquing another’s work! There’s no such thing as flow!” I laughed so hard.
If I could quote every damn word I’ve read in the past week
All at once. All at once. Where every letter slid into a perfect whatever
I’d tell you about the radiant sun that billows in a conch shell
Wreathed in flowing grape-colored tapestry, violence, wreathed in pain
Bunched up inside my chests; one locked and wooden, one flesh, one
Bone beneath the breast; I’d crush an origami swan right into that conch
To watch it burn white hot.
If I could slide syllable to slotted fucking syllable beside syllable
All lined up. All lined up. Where every sound had a new place around
I’d tell you about sto-len in-can-i-de-scence, and linger on the I
Carv-ing mean-ing to wait-ing, re-mov-ing su-per-flu-i-ties in me,
Leaving carv mean to wait mov flu I in me. No that isn’t what I mean.
Bone beneath the breast I’d crush–not that either, good sentiment.
I fall to pieces, yes.
My little soft bullet is tucked between my lip and gum
Sucking the brass off it, sucking the powder out. Unburned
Saltpeter. Young, when first was I reversed, “old soul”
Felt wrong when all I did was spin like a hurricane
Clothes blown, unhinged closet door, two bulbs out and
Black inside discolored like
Charcoal. I found righteous and I stood beside me
Made-up man with his fantasy plan, role models gone,
Fingering the little triggers that blew up the sun, friends,
Now memories line book spines along book shelves
Line incense burners with nag champa, copal, and
Sulfur. I of my family made and carrying this stained glass
On my back keep track of things that break back to breaking;
Crisp morning day, the tip of my tongue a tiny pin, Round
Little Soft Bullet against
Teeth, saliva-wet staining, aimed at my past, I needed
I am a collection of everyone else’s thoughts
I am many people’s long mistake.
I walk a flowering valley barren of fruit.
Oh, I am a valley.
I am autumn. I fall, I roll–
I am a mountain. Too steep.
Last night God sat me down to tea
Poured fog-and-mist down through teakwood mesh
Hickory next, swirled around the white half-moon
Cups, poured oceans out
Set about planks of cast iron and little nymph-slips
All piled about and shriveled like leaves, He
Lit candles set of man-fat and people oil and sinewy
White wicks, He made the ceiling like stars
Sang low of the living wood he grew from world-
Seeds, that hum you sometimes hear when Church
Closes its doors and someone speaks the wrong word
Or maybe conversations of Men who make no sense
The font itself a garden
Two pure white cribs between Him in i, and a cradle
A stable, a manger curved and cupped up with all the
Dreams, the magic and promise of flower-flavors, of
Petals that leave your tongue caked in memory
He slid the lid about, shined eclipses and borealae
Nocturnal things in the corners praying, silent moss
While porcelain and clay stumbled about themselves
Reworking, i heard them growing strong and hot
And God so spoke in nothing
There, spoke whole Bibles in framed half-steam
While silence blessed by wetted stone filled
Me to my bones
He did not drink, instead exhaled the slaughter
Of societies, of masochistic planets gone dust
Of loss that only omnipotence sows in observation,
Said, “This is for my brother.
I never knew the taste of tea.”
To give it a name–a thing, a move-
Ment, a legerdemain, while it walks down
Walnut Street, while it stares down the Postal
Service–is to tame and convince it
That it has purpose beyond “it”
And you are knife.
We, the people of the (thick billed fox sparrow), clipped
stare toward the sun with our wax forming with
our thoughts of rose-red fingers climbing,
we who put the Lethe in Lethargy. Caught.
Before you see it, you see something else, and
back before, and back, in time, some pre-seen tale
all foreground and almost remembered but forgotten.
Never bloomed. Never lived. Never born.
All horizons from yesterday, somesuch dreams felled flickering crashed like when
That surfer breaks his sharpened board against shark skulls, tastes salty sand and perhaps
Godly wine, the sky a radiance like volcanic dawn and crippled clouds painted fake
onlookers prying serrations from his pulpy feet while he rolls and coats his flesh in stones
Glass. Perhaps armor.
To give it a name, this move-ment,
A letherdemain, while it drives away
To somewhere else, same horizon
Same sun still no closer to the sea
Or parting thoughts, it names me.
And you are knife. Sharpening.
I haven’t written poetry in a long while. It doesn’t come easy, but this came to me tonight while I drove home. Continue reading