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July 11, 2013 | Poetry

Five Poems from Radiant Action

Matt Hart

Five Poems from Radiant Action photo

 

 

My inhuman being     Adrift in contradiction
Why align oneself with anything limited
One can take a whole great lake in one’s mouth
The robin in the nest outside my window
with her eggs     Right now outside
my window with her eggs in the rain
Inside, my books break a sweat
just to whisper ordinary language
how to do things with words, how to
discover the ghost in this machine
Under its skin is a pomegranate seed
We plant it in Afghanistan and grow it up
and teach it to read the looks on the faces
of children     Constellations     The devils
are in me, the angels are in me     Cat piss couches
and sweet kerosene in me      My mind crushes
everything     I crush a can on everyone     I fall
in love in every dream     In every single poem
I die of exposure and heartbreak and aestheticity,
that quality of art that reminds us we’re alive,
that fills us with desire and empathy and light,
the engine of beauty, the song of the sublime
In fact my ears are ringing     I’m at work
to wake up typing    The bells of the church
up the street care to chime     And later,
peppered bacon I will wrap around a scallop
I will get a good sear on it     I will think
about the ocean, the pig in its sty
Anything worth saying can be rendered
as an aphorism, might itself be an aphorism,
just so you know     My phrase of the moment
is radiant action     In love with the sound,
in love with the sound, “the pulse
that beats, the breath that flows,
and we’ll scream along,”
the anthem goes,
“until our hearts stop”

 

*****

 

 

Western haiku     We oughta be more decadent
I oughta be more apartment and present or president
You should be more epic, less tiny, full of tangents
Fly covered squirrel/ in the driveway/ it’s spring
But it only looks sleeping, a rock-a-bye baby
I sweep its stiff body with a stiff bristled broom
The song that I whistle, a distraction from deathery
Death walks into a bar, and Hart stops     That’s all there is,
a thing to get clear about     No more “Lush Life”     I reel
in the thought of the manifold real     All the possibilities
inherent in the world     The world can be as large
or as small as you like it      How many words can you fit
into you mouth     Enough to be inspired by the plethora
of grass blades, a second cup of coffee, all the shoes in this house
The baby birds hatch     Pianos Become the Teeth     "I’m drinking
fatigue," the singer screams ambiguously      His name
is Kyle, and his vocals deliver     The Lack Long After,
an emotional record, so full of dynamic crackle and noise
It shouldn’t be gorgeous, but it’s nothing if not gorgeous
It takes a few listens, then suddenly you get it, rocking
back and forth on a warm weather sea      Really you should try it
The sunset’s huge and pink and green     American epic
Bring on the feeling and experience and wisdom     Never call
Mayday, never surrender     Dole out the mercy, like it’s sugar
for the children     Grace is not something one deserves
to receive     But the sounds crashing hard toward summer
help us get it     Sometimes it’s crickets, sometimes it’s grackles
Frogs or dogs or backfiring engines     ninety-five degrees
and the humidity is braying      I’m praying to no one,
but wanting it to be someone, something all around us
tuning in to our bloodstreams, the trees, the cloud forms,
the angels and devils, something that gets it, so we get it

 

*****

 

 

When I get it, I get it    The sickness
The milky kind, of skin and stars     Fusion
Its effusion     Energy cannot be created
or destroyed     is my religion, an old friend scrawled
on his wall     I rock back and forth in a trance
just to read it     We rock back and forth when we get it,
the sickness     We stuff ourselves with cupcakes
 
The boat leaves the harbor, but it’s many chapters later
“Noise” and “nausea” are cousins, we discover,
their etymology rooted in a Siren song spinning,
then violently hurling oneself at the sea     Now
the white whale book makes so much more sense
But so do Hart Crane and The Odyssey    Sonic Youth
Recordings and the other “Heart of Darkness”—
not the Conrad adventure—the Sparklehorse song
“O Brilliant kids, frisk with your dog,” a disruption
I add for good measure, the rhyming     Melancholy,
disembodied     Rest in peace Mark Linkous,
biggest boots I ever saw     And then a city parking lot
of extra-narrative dusk-ness     Dis-ease and distortion,
repetition, more hurling
 

                             enjambment over the crow’s nest,
the last of my throat’s bright tatters at the wall
And suddenly, old friend—because everything is
suddenly—you send me a song in a pattern in a rut,
so I motion to turn all the other music off
to hear you in the air where you sing it     I can
go back to other poems in a minute     You know I will
I always do     But first I make this space for you
 
And now that we’re open and utterly exposed,
what do you think of our chances     Sinners
in the hands of an angry god     Suspended
on a wire or stood up in our coffins,
railing from the pulpit with our eyes wide open,
nobody brave enough to tell us what death is
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed,
only changed from one form to another”
 

 

*****

 

 

Energy cannot be destroyed     A rose is a shotgun,
a shotgun’s a rose     And hell is lots of light or heaven’s
only babble     Meanwhile, Agnes reads Frog and Toad
 
in her bed before bed we can hear her on the monitor, but
I might have it upside down, I admit     I might
have it all twisted and backwards     Maybe it’s me
reading Frog and Toad, and Agnes is astonished
 
at the hatchlings     Maybe I’m sitting up late
by myself     Maybe I’m a flash in the pancakes
It’s Saturday    Or it’s early and I’m dope      a little boy
with a whistle     hearing Hank Williams for the very first time,
and thinking, I too saw the light swimming with dust,
 
a flash of human being "& Other Poems” by Brad Harrison
My problem as I see it     I can’t blast off
I’m waiting on my porch for the promised tornado
Rain pours over the edge of the gutter,
 
and people always wonder how I always reconcile it,
how the poem’s event can be everywhere at once,
every time, every spirit, every talk beside a dumpster,
every aspirin, every deer, every monster, every lover
New constellations and strange emergent forms
 
Emergency flowing in a haze of alarms
When the sky turns on, I just can’t pay attention
And when we open ourselves it’s black
and mysterious

 

*****

 

 

The air so full of pain today
The chirp-cheep of birds
and one on the sidewalk
It happens every spring
The storms blow around
dark matter in the blender
I should get over it
Falling twigs and stems and leaves
Obviously also other things,
the color blue and other poems
Sun of blood and pioneer hatchets
All my associations for love
and my girls     “I drink, because I’m thirsty”
is a reason     The noise an open book makes
in the neighbor’s cool pool     Then my thumb
pops its socket while I’m zesting a lemon
I look out the window and recognize Icarus
Kyger’s As Ever
“The Morning of the Poem”
The air so full of pain today
A mystery disintegrates
the moment it’s spoken
Nothing will convince you
It was special

image: Caleb Curtiss


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