четвер, 16 листопада 2017 р.

Devon Balwit - Four Poems

Devon Balwit writes in Portland, OR. She has five chapbooks out or forthcoming: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press); Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press); In Front of the Elements (Grey Borders Books), Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders Books); and The Bow Must Bear the Brunt (Red Flag Poetry). Her individual poems can be found in earlier editions of this journal as well as in The Cincinnati Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Stillwater Review, Red Earth Review, Psaltery & Lyre,The Ekphrastic Review, Emrys Journal, and more.

Photon Energy: E=
Lesson One:
Today, I invite you to be other than yourself.
Do not limit yourself to cordate or pinopsida.
Imagine new use for both pore and spiracle.
Refuse the binaries of stillness and motion.

            fr(om) t(he) c(on)e
            spr(out)s t(he) ques(tin)g br(an)ch
            fr(om) t(he) b(ran)ch e(me)rge the (need)les
            fr(om) t(he) (need)les s(pill)s t(he) h(eave)nly re(sin)

Lesson Two:
Peel back your skin.  Let the iron upwelling
mingle with air.  Lap at its scarlet.  Press your lips
to the nearest wall a new Lascaux.  Find a use for the ullage.

            O inanimate I // I wish I were a caterpillar //
            clinging by feet to leaf hairs // munching
            sun become sugar // awaiting the coming     
            of wings //

Lesson Three:
A child complains that her skin is crumpled.  She
wants to exchange herself and be returned smooth
as plastic.  Tell her it cannot be done, that when the
flash floods come, Spirit will need wadis for its
coursing.  If she were smooth, she would surely drown.

            I am                a suture.
            I am                a staple.
            I am                the cut end of a lanyard.
            I am                a licorice whip.
            I am                the tongue of a newt.

Lesson Four:
Light creates umbra.  Umbra begets penumbra and antumbra,
highlight and cast shadow.  Locate the shadow edge, the middle
dark tone.  Eschew the black and white.

            (  )
            {insert equation here}

2. performance

I. finale [rain-slicked street reflecting cheek]

staggering / ly beautiful
            in her sway / ing
from curb to wall / hand out
            stretched / like
a diva’s before the ap / plause / roses
            cascade / ing /
echo / ing throats’ / red stream /
            ers / brava / brava / in
a tym / pani of trash / cans
            she / falls floor /
wards in a final bow
            the wrecked en / core of
her face fad / ing out / the house
            lights wink / ing on
one by one / the depart / ing
            careful to avoid her
soft / ness as they step a / round
            dah / ling you must
let me know when she re / turns/
            we will sure/ly come

II. reprise [gestation]

in the night / light hands pat her down shak / ing
            every so slight / ly
feel / ing no wallet they retreat / the way they
            came / leav / ing
space for a shy rat with tick / ling
            whis / kers that / find / ing
no crumbs licks with its small tongue
            just once tast / ing salt
and pher / omone heat before skitter / ing
            back in / to shadows /
she curls fe / tal await / ing
            the slap of dawn / and
her own sharp in / drawn breath

3. Pain is / all that remains

Pain is a landscape I map, its genius loci;
we constitute each other / fetal.  I dream of it reaching term,
of pushing it out, boundaries restored / a watermark,
its ghost face swimming from opacity / a child pulling
my sleeve—push it away, it whines, slap it, it whimpers / a Mass
sung in perpetuity for me, the sole congregant.

                                               residing in, but not limited to:
                                               jaw, hips, feet, fingers, wrists,
                                               calves, behind the left eye—

                                               experienced, but not limited to:
                                               when I take a step, when I
                                               sit, when I lie, when I write,
                                               when I open doors, the mornings
                                               the evenings, all day long—

Pain is my conjoined twin, separate wills battling
over shared limbs / a tattoo burred in flesh,
a pattern of scars / a spore in the drywall,
spreading till it begs the crowbar / a sampler
of chain, cross, daisy, satin, fine French knots,
a lapse into ragged.

                                               remedies suggested, but not limited to:
                                               acceptance, acupuncture, chinese medicine,
                                               cortisone, electric pulses, insoles, massage,
                                               meditation, nsaids, prayer, rubber balls,
                                               relearning to walk, strigiling, surgeries,
                                               time, turmeric, weed—         

Pain is a parachute drop, winds whirling me
to an uncharted landing / the thing that something
must be done about / my very own, like death /
a box within a box / all that remains /
the experience of lifting one more lid.

4. Night Stadium

                “Thank you for sending poems. You have obvious skill, but none of these
                quite convinces me of its urgency, if you know what I mean.” RM

Stacked hurdles spike a palisade. Even
with enough urgency, I cannot clear
them, or I’ll be skewered, food
for shrikes. The bare bleachers offer

no encouragement, nor the sand pits,
naked without jumpers. Home,
the scoreboard lies, Visitors, devoid of
welcome. The score remains zero / zero.

With enough urgency, guests become
family, entering the fray. Without it, and
there’s no contest; no one stumbles
or mounts the podium. Javelin and

discus sulk in their racks. Why the long
face? Why the disorder? That’s why
we need passion, coach bellows. Drop
and give me twenty. Without urgency,

it’ll be twenty more.  I push off against
the starting blocks, run the long laps
round, chasing my shadow as it
shapeshifts beneath floodlights. 

Without urgency, the flag droops,
helmet crests hang, ornamental.
The eyes of history upon me, I
picture the tape as I hurtle through.

(afterWassily Kandinsky’s Untitled, 1944)

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