Wherein the Book Implies Source

book

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.

ides front cover 92915

Water Witching, We Hear

dry

 

Water Witching, We Hear

The rattle of stalks
along dirt roads,

whispery days
sifting through
parched
light,

you say
patience, my
friend
, and again,

patience.

“Water Witching, We Hear” first appeared on the blog in April 2017.

Danez Smith Reading “Say It with Your Whole Black Mouth”

This poem makes me despair that other human beings have to write poems such as this.

This poem makes me despair that I’ll never write anything so true.

Read the poem. Listen to the recording. Celebrate Danez Smith and his words.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/say-it-your-whole-black-mouth-0

 

The Ballad of Banaabkwe and Her Gulls

Anna Marie Sewell’s poetry is a force of nature. Read this!

Prairiepomes

What diplomacy today
can bring to the rescue mice fit to chew through
plastic nooses carelessly left to wind around
the bleeding necks and throats of sea elephants?
You don’t hear that fable, now, do you? – Don Perkins

1.
Banaabekwe, at her loom of seagrass
slowly, in dappled morning sun, weaves
stories for her little ones, to wear as necklace
until they are strong enough
to swim all the way out to sea.

There, the young manatees lay
their grass mantles upon a tide roller
a brave declaration of status attained
and pledge of love to salt water.

It is the gulls who act as midwives
to this epic surfing task; they cry
urging on the young ones, and send
their own youth to the challenge –

– Who can snatch a grass garland
from the crest of a wave, before
it breaks? Who dares leave it longest
even…

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Having Survived Myself I Lean Away

Survival

Having Survived Myself I Lean Away 

You know that
but not
why

the mockingbird mocks,
or how one note

marries others,
forming blissful

chords. And the skies
flaring each night

betraying your willful
ignorance,

while you paint
the words for love

in seven languages
you can’t
speak.

Where are you now,

whose bodies
have you denied,

wrapped in linen,
bagged or boxed,
arriving unseen?

Sagging, I observe your
counted victories, the
smirk claiming

exceptionalism
and destiny or
nobility of purpose,

as even your own shadow
recoils.

cemetery

This first appeared here in October 2015.

Destined by Gravity to Fail, We Try

Destined by Gravity to Fail, We Try

Having fallen from the roof not once, but twice,
I verify that it is not the fall but the sudden stop that hurts.

The objectivist sense of the little: the and a, my house in this world.

Galileo postulated that gravity accelerates all falling bodies at the same rate.

While their etymologies differ, failure and fall share commonalities,
though terminal velocity is not one.

The distance between the glimpsed and the demonstrated.

Enthralled in the moment, Icarus drowned.

Rumor has it his plunge was due not to melting wax but to an improper mix
of rectrices and remiges: parental failure.

Thrust and lift. Drag. Resistance.

Acknowledgment of form in reality, in things.

When the produced drag force equals the plummeting object’s weight, the
object will cease to accelerate and will move at a constant speed.

To calculate impact force accurately, include the stopping distance in height.

Followed by long periods of silence.

house

This first appeared on the blog in December 2015.