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August 25, 2016 | Poetry

Five Poems

Kylan Rice

Five Poems photo

 

Your bosom shall burn within you

 

    I’d’ve led him by the wrist. Still but blinding four pm
back home blazed against the glass. To be there was
    my habit. Each pane sleeved by pollen from the pine.
Spores rid through by light then rid of it. Like mist
    but mists that come with fruitfulness. That come
to bear as much as light. Then overbear. Then each
    incident’s only an incident light. All angle. Only none
coming at night to bring me line on line a vision. None
    plaiting time and time again to its fullness. To its all gold.

 

Inner monologue

 

Tell me                        that after
            the black-gold dewlap of the dissipating storm cell, all (in being
            wet and
dark) again is underlying, and in underlying, dawns        on the eye. That there         looks to be
more there:    the sheen as late noon overcast shifts
aside brightening
each leaf until in seeing each each isn’t just a maple leaf but the shaken        foil of a surface.

Tell me,           brother,
                         that the wheat is still young. That there are times
it even looks silver, looks singed through, flute-like,
and in saying
so it’s as good as if you’d
sung it, each head                 bearing down to lengthen out each its slender body—

                                     Brother, for whom
            as for me, late fall fog didn’t stop
the birds from gathering; who can cup his tongue to the top
                         of the mouth, gather
                         suction, create a clack loud enough to scatter from the cottonwoods black
                         hundreds
                         into the dimming gold cat’s eye of an overcast sun; what all
                         day til now was gathering—
          
            tell me                                      have any
            come back
to rest? Or are they still loose. Is it even still
                         light enough out
for any to settle? Please—lengthen the day
by giving me something to
                                     go on. Something to hold in my head. Image and image,
coming to cluster, black-gold, more sweet for being         held back
by briars.

            I can go
on my own out into the garden-croft. Hear solo what I can only guess
is a red-breast. Or you can

                                     tell me,            “You should have seen
how I scattered them, as if I’d stripped the tree twice of its leaves, all
                                                                           with my tongue”— so even more than
            enough you’ll have
            given me.

 


Kalmiopsis wilderness

 

More by my hands I go, rather than my feet, headed
down the basin, its west-face snow-
shouldered, less
of any given day spent in sunlight. Foot more there to stall
            the rate I slip down the grade,
instep given the brunt, scudding
            into the still-in-summer snowpack and close underneath upturning the black-
needled floor burnt through by box fires that
razed up the shield less than five years back.
                                     My hands—interceding in
my drop, to grab
against the new growth, against the boy-
            figured pines,
or when they go, too, in clearings, or come
            up in my fist, to
            palm and palm
after nothing underneath me, after scrims of over-
rime not incising the skin but searing it past redness into grey and lining
each vein’s sheath with minute
                                     stipplings of ice, a
serrated unbundling from the inside
                                                  out— By
                         my hand, as though against
                         your face, put there
                         as though blind, to define
                         the sharpness of each
                         bone and bowl, but
            not blind, in fact, and only
wanting to skim there, incapable, at last,
even of meeting eye
and eye, and body going
stiff at the thought, and stiff
outstretched, to stop, my foot against the drifts, and sound
            of my snapping
                         in hand
            the sound green-shafted cambiums of
pine, as if
            by capillary
                         action, bursting back up
the west-face behind me.

 


Complaint

 

I’d’ve slept in. I’d’ve missed the gold of the uptilted
oak leaf. Inferring nothing dying. Nothing
paling to nothing.
I'd wake to no morning. Given all
to a lengthening. A bringing of limbs above the head
and further—
So

quiet bird—
So quit
dragging me from day to day to night or deeper.

 


A.H.H

        

                         Still this is
black this ashbud  This light
                ash pretensed as if expecting to be
                                                blown off this
white thorn without warning  This white haw-
thorn  This white pink  The plinth’s heavy
snap under the strewn
heave of pansy’s jet   Yet not blacker
                than the nightingale’s tensed eye
                so much blacker I could glimpse
                a little moon reflected there
                even for the lack of
it  Just as I glimpsed

                                you or you
chose to row up the Thames with
                in a wherry or not with you
as much as the image of you as glimpsed
from the edge I
over-looked   All
this in order

to carry you  Now you come borne
                                from Trieste from that triste
berth those other groves those other streams
                                                forded back from  ‘Master
                                                bowman’ now
                                                afford me
                to row you back my
fee dear just the far-
                        off interest of tears  These
                that interest just
                my eye I guess  Light

this song I sing on board our bark or one might say too
                hopeful piping you in this our mid
morn too soon
fallen when it’s dawn
I’ve hoped for    For its just too-much light re-
flecting from your ample brow   For gold on gold to show that
                                                                                you are really too

beautiful to be
                true   As from your brow in
Italy’s alps I saw with you
the world reflected but now in urn it’s burnt
to ash  An urn that accordant curves and curving round
                invites the sense of something
                                more there
                                More there
                bent to be I bent
down the boughs of other groves to shake
its blossoms
                                noble clinging off
into other streams  As petals cling to petal heads so I from
                                my own unquiet head
                                am my own hand disquieting
                                                                to drift off after you
as through the trees at Hampstead or at Somersby or these
whose limbs I’ve dragged down to arch
                                                                dragged to form
by curving down a place of rest circled round in thought-
                withered ivy
                in grapes like
those shaped in relief

                                                plus
goatherd plus pipes plus woodbine
attired an adamant
                                scene too
truly represented on the surface of your urn
                that through light
                                      leaf
                                      flood
arrives to me as worlds arrived reflected
with the sun-up light
upon the surface of your ample brow  In light of this this all
                                                unnerves me this
ball-peening I’m doing with hawthorn and jessamine
construing you as strewn
                                atop the waters
                as on the waters
are my nerves a net hauling nothing
                in but other vessels
                                blood or what-

                                haveyou purposed to
                ferry you just as
blood around the human heart is thought  Let
                                                this justify me
even if I’ve too soon plucked
                the jessamine the night-
blooming cereus or too soon sung Cerberus
                                                to sleep or to no purpose

for no one not you nor anyone is waiting
for me in any under
                                world I reflected under
                                eaves as I reflecting paused
having yanked
up the rotted deck wood and found
                                                it hollowed out
                                                what may have been
eons ago   A heart-
                                wood hollowed out by what I thought
                 could be wood-boring
gray-flies  Laying
with my father new
planking double-proofed for what would be
                an atrium
                a shared shade
                under whose cover my father said to me
                                as we labored to save what lumber we could
                                from the thought-
                hollowed deck even my dearest
friends would in time
                                ease out of my reach
as in time the bough
lightens itself of what it’s long fleshed out
and begins to rise in dropping

day  Still this                       
                bitter constraint compels
                me what I’m meant to lose
                aside  But its a hollow
                bitterness  An almond
on the tongue or at least an almond
shape  A nut I nutted
                too early from the tree
                hulled then held then in the dawn
                light its eye-
shaped weight in the middle of my tongue as if
an oaten reed between my teeth
                                and tongue and blown
                                and oscillate whose taste is taken now half bitterly now half
                                in all-
consuming passion if passion’s song  Hallam you burn
on my tongue all the same as you
                                too knew yourself to sing  Burn
                                as burns a mirror when its tilted
                                                up to light to limn a lip of light
                                                                as an eyelid slipping
                                                                up an eyelid slipping
                                                              
                                                                up an eye
                                                bitterly I iterating I in you
A pulsing through as seldom in my line I feel
cataracting me to me to you  As Bridal
                                Veil Falls
                                so long locked in ice
here layer having lidded over layer
                constrained in its
compulsion  What it is is
                clear and on a clear
                day the day’s red stoppers
                here in its several states  Is
it not clear
                every flood finds its place
                every fruit has its flesh
pitted  I have heretofore been
                moderate as a matter
                of half-measure  Now I
with unstemmed ashenness cast
                                                even the wan
                                                cowslip even
                                                the black of
                                                the ashbud  Dear

                                                were you not
                                taken too less
by hillsides and more by ‘streams of
                purest white’
                I have unstemmed and strewn white
                                hawthorn two-handed
                                engine in the copse
Breathing not my breath
but interposing it
                Ease and ease and then there’s me
                between what would otherwise be
                                easy  A veil that takes
                                two hands to part   And so the world

is real  Compared
once to a finger and a thumb
                                you were and these
advancing on a rose leaf to crush it  My dear
                                                Hallam twenty-two year
                                                old prone to gold-
                                                on-gold whose full
                                                brow Victorian stopper too
                                                soon shattered  O Arthur O.-
                                K. me in my consumption
                                in an image such as this  In this
my inner aneurysm
behind the eye  A rose
petal crushed between index and thumb  And so a burst
                                of palpability  Not damask but
                                its undammed swaths
                                                                Of pine
                                                                not repinement
                                                                A fragrance only
                                                left behind
                                                upon my hands as
                                having never
loved so stripped
                                I these boughs
to bend them into bowers
                                As between
                                finger and thumb
                you yourself crushed
                too that essence  It is
                through you my best
                resolve I’ve borne  Through
                                other groves and other rivers 
                this pall this
blent bier is
borne this
plenteous overhaul 

image: Aaron Burch


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