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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eye Eye Eye Eye

Walking Home on an Early Spring Evening                         David Young

Every microcosm needs its crow,
something to hang around and comment,
alight on highest branches.

Who hasn't seen the gnats,
the pollen grains that coat the windshield
who hasn't heard the tree frogs?

In the long march that takes us all our life,
in and out of sleep, sun up, sun gone,
our aging back and forth, smiling and puzzled,
there come these times: you stop and look,

and fix on something unremarkable,
a parking lot or just a patch of sumac,
but it will flare and resonate

and you'll feel part of it for once,
you'll be a goldfinch hanging on a feeder,
you'll be a river system all in silver
etched on a frosty driveway, you'll

say "Folks, I think I made it this time,
I think this is my song." The crow lifts up,
its feathers shine and whisper,

its round black eye surveys indifferently
the world we've made
and then the one we haven't.


Anatomical Angel                                    by Averill Curdy

L’ange Anatomique, by Jacques-Fabien Gautier Dagoty, 1746

                        Unfastened avidly from each ivory button
          of her spine, the voluntary muscles open
virtuosities of red: Cinnabar

                        the mutagen, and carmine from cochineal
          born between fog and frost, so many little
deaths Buddhists refuse to wear

                        robes soaked in its thousands. Sunsets
          of other centuries fade in galleries to ash.
Red is fugitive: As the voice, the blow

                        of gravity along a nerve opening to an ache
          the body can’t unhouse: As the carnation
suffusing cheek and haunch like saucers

                        from the king’s porcelain rinsed in candlelight.
          Gratuitous as the curl, the urn-shaped torso,
the pensive, brimming gaze of pretty

                        post-coital thought she half-turns over one
          excavated shoulder. As if to see herself
in a mirror’s savage theater as elegy

                        to the attempt to fill an exhausted form,
          to learn again the old ordeals of wound
and hand and eye. To find the source of burning.


Habitus                    Thom Satterlee

Language, he asserted, was a habitus... What precisely
he meant by habitus is not explained, but the context in
which the word is applied to language would suggest a
sense of "clothing... "
— Anne Hudson, "Wyclif and the English Language"

All morning he read from a thick volume
propped on a stand. He read and he read,
and when he closed his eyes
he continued to read
until the words took off their clothes
and laid them down on a hillside
that vanished whenever a cloud
passed between it and the sun.

All his life Wycliffe had wanted this:
the words undressed and he going to them,
a child to a fair, burning to see
if Faith wore her hair in a braid,
whether Why held out its hands, palms up,
and where Simony put his coins
when he stood naked in the light.

But no: Wycliffe had got it all wrong.
He was not going to see the words.
They were coming to him
with their arms loaded with robes
stacked so high he couldn't see their faces,
and before he knew it, invisible hands
began measuring him with ropes
stretched between his wrist and his chest,
from his hip down to the ground,
around his waist and around his neck.

The fitting took all day. He tried on
Son and Friend, Scholar, Reformer,
Heretic; he slipped into Priest,
wore also Doctor Evangelicus
and Morning Star. Some robes
hung too loosely; others pinched his neck.
In the end, he had to wear them all
and learn the sadness of being a word —
only one surface to show the world
while he lived underneath the layers
and listened for the barely audible
sound of his own heart beating.

After the Moon                                                                                                          Marianne Boruch

eclipsed itself, the rumor or darkness
true, the whole radiant business
almost over, only a line,
an edge, like some
stray part of a machine
                                                        not one of us
can figure any more:
what it thrashed or cut, what it sewed
quietly together, what it scalded
or brought back from the dead. After this,
I came inside to sleep.    
                                          But it’s the moon still,
pale run of it shaping
the door closed against the half-lit hall.
The eye is its own
small flicker orbiting under the lid
a few hours.
                        Not so long,
bright rim,
giving up its genius
briefly, mountains under dark, craters
where someone, then no one
is walking.

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