Poetry from NER 43.3 (2022)
Which primary flag
flattens first? In the cooling
process of building back
out of referential
I choose to cover some things
over. Flipside, glue, adhere
to handmade paper the train
tracks, Mars sunset, swamp
shore, all the shapely hues
of arrival. The lush sensation
dreams to snip landscapes
out, avoid the rising
scandal of percentages as if life
depends upon determined
ignorance. Lines on screens
snake up to where
the sky cuts off.
To tear is to make
or profane. Who would
let show such jagged edges,
modpodge marks, smudged
charcoal; why let
the human in, inculcate flaw
instead of money? Heads
of state discuss in place of
action. Each stagnancy a paper
dagger I rip out of a magazine.
Whose illusion of proof matters
most? Whose repetition,
contrition, invasion, suspicion sears
itself into the pulp? Hands decide—
background black, melancholic.
Mixing palimpsest, shadow,
mirroring the volume of denial.
Who has permission to cross-hatch
a crude surface. Who gives it.
Dear pseudo monochrome, I locate
a mind-practice in your quasi-maps
of language, washed gray-white
impasto escape attempt from
questions as expression
against my open will: three
cheers for every bruised
constructor’s problem: objects
& their transformations ordering
the brush’s rough irreverence:
green mud, white crusts, elementary
yellow & blue gridded to utter
what counts, fails: builds in failure.
Regrets for as long as we’ve been losing
our brothers. Plexiglas proves
inadequate, false vision attached.
The wet, wet fingerprint whipped
out of shape & into slick arrays.
Whose fantasy is this? Whose
stuccoed textures mock
wind’s facts? The white flag
holds no surrender.
To resist death, I search each
evening in a poem for the mesh
overshot, the overlapping lines
mapped by the dim
lens of oblivion captured on
gessoed surfaces that last,
of course, much longer than flesh.
Strings skip, catch language,
catch metallic relief.
Palette of clues less titillation, more
Arrow-stamped, the composition gives
as if to charity faded patterns
we casually recognize as targets &
watch official forces of sight take aim.
Resources join the first
traditional impulse to
neglect to invite the
parallel, cut, screen-push &
matrix of understanding
as understanding & lay it
face-down. This late I
can’t resist uncategorizable
directness as leftovers.
The work of proofs:
not enough of us
pay attention to those
who really know how to live.
Reusing marks, arrangements occur.
Seasons layer over our painstaking
lives, encaustic. What we consume
scrapes its way in, harsh visual
impersonation of comfort. Even small
grace, however, has vast potential. Let’s eat
the complex play of destruction.
Satisfaction doesn’t exist
unless we embrace the hidden
beginnings. Starting over as praxis.
Completion as the way to disappoint
the too-earnest weaver who wept best,
kept every secret tucked in color
beneath insistent decay. Never mind
circumstance-forced devotion, dear
sequence—I shape to you.