Here’s a recording of my poem “Runaway Bus,” which was featured on Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine in January.
Wherein the Book Implies Source
And words form the vessel by which we traverse centuries, the river
stitched across the valley’s floor, easing access.
Accession by choice. Inorganic memory.
Vellum conveys its origin: of a calf.
How like an entrance it appears, a doorway to a lighted space.
Closed, it resembles a block of beech wood.
To serve as conveyance, to impart without reciprocity.
Framing the conversation in space, immediacy fades.
The average calfskin may provide three and a half sheets of writing material.
Confined by spatial limitation, we consider scale in terms of the absolute.
The antithesis of scroll; random entry; codex.
A quaternion equalled four folded sheets, or eight leaves: sixteen sides.
Reader and read: each endures the other’s role.
Pippins prevented tearing during the drying and scraping process.
Text first, then illumination.
Once opened, the memory palace diminished.
* * *
This originally appeared in April 2014 as part of Boston Review’s National Poetry Month Celebration, and is included in The Circumference of Other, my offering in the Silver Birch Press chapbook collection, IDES, published in 2015.
From frame to door,
the obvious defers, denying
entry as if
an eye could reclaim
the fallen tear
and the river’s skin,
those words to
thought, water to
now to before.
He stepped into release.
* * *
“Celan, 1970” first appeared in October 2015. One of the most influential (and difficult) European poets of the 20th century, Paul Celan survived the horror of World War II but never escaped its shadow. A brief biography may be found here.
Read Daniel Schnee’s poetic slivers of brilliance!
The Analects of Naneun
Here for the first time is the English translation of the first few pages of my work The Analects of Naneun (ナヌンの論説: “nanun no ronsetsu”), a free-form mixture of haibun and poetry (zuihitsu) I self-published in Japan nearly 20 years ago. Each poem-form in the original work was postfaced by commentary in the form of a Zen koan, but for now I am posting the initial form of each analect. It all will be posted in six parts, so I hope you come back to read each posting, o-negaishimasu!
Original 1999 Japanese Preface
“This work is the quest to think and feel through the artfully polite evasion of directness, the supreme beauty of Japanese “not-saying-as-such”, infused with kotodama (言霊: word-soul) that moves noiselessly through Japanese language. Thus, I have sought to understand the kotodama and psychological rhythm of Yukio Mishima, Kōbō Abe, Dōgen…
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Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon
Tilt your head and laugh
until the night bends
and I see only you.
Weave the wind into a song.
Rub its fabric over your skin.
For whom does it speak?
Remove all stars and streetlights.
Remove thought, remove voice.
Remove me. But do not remove yourself.
Tear the clouds into threads
and place them in layered circles.
Then breathe slowly into my ear.
Drink deeply. Raise your eyes to the brightness
above the cedars. Observe their motion
through the empty glass. Repeat.
Talk music to me. Talk conspiracies
and food and dogs and rain. Do this
under the wild night sky.
Harvest red pollen from the trees.
Cast it about the room
and look through the haze.
From the bed, gaze into the mirror.
The reflection you see is the darkness
absorbing your glow.
Fold the light around us, and listen.
You are the moon in whose waters
I would gladly drown.
First posted in October 2014, and again on Valentine’s Day in 2016, “Nine Ways of Shaping the Moon” also appears in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.
A recording of “What the Body Gives, Gravity Takes.”
Thank you, Finnegan Daley, for the request.
You can read the poem here.