Schematics and Assemblies of the Cosmic Heart

My new book of poems, Schematics and Assemblies of the Cosmic Heart (117 pages), is now available on Amazon (pap. $9.88, Kindle $3.91). Read it. Rate it. Review it. Pass it on.

Link to Amazon here

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Rise and Fall of the Bread Pudding Chef

The bread pudding chef

Three cups of sugar, four
eggs, I stir, and then
you approach: kitchen
becomes temple, stars
move, blood boils and beads
up, I try to concentrate.

Four cups of sugar, three
eggs, you do bring
in thrills a febrile
wild terror of sacrament
unknown or untendered
in safer religions. Stars
move, your glance meets
the window. Three
eggs, I stir, I take
it you are a witch,
my bright-happy blood
beads no amulet.

Picturing a small transgression

i remember
once
the moon
was sinking

and you pushed
it
up with
your hands

“witch” i said
and you kissed me

A fragment

Committing twice the intentional
fallacy, once the affective,
I offered an algebra of clover
and storms sweeping in
along the front range:
snow was in your hair;
you were puzzled.

The bread pudding chef’s lament

Three cups of sugar, four
eggs, I stir, and then
you retreat: kitchen
becomes empty, fruit
sours, cream curdles and dries
up. I try to concentrate.

Four cups of sugar, three
eggs, and the sun became
as sackcloth, the moon
became as blood, the stars
of heaven fell, mountain and island
were moved from their places. Fruit
sours, the center cannot hold.

Babylon the great is fallen, fallen,
and is become the habitation
of devils, and then was there
great weeping and wailing, saying:
alas, alas, that great city,
for in one hour she
is made desolate.

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#1, #2, or #3

Here are 3 versions of the haiku poem I posted last week. No need to read the original post. Just pick one of the 3 here 🙂

#1
a million falling
stars at once, filling the sky,
hands catch the hot ash

#2
a million falling
stars at once, filling the sky,
the ash they leave us

#3
what dreams may come

A million falling stars
at once, like angels they light
the sky against darkness, but some
thing is wrong. Unlike angels they burn.
Open your hands. You can already
feel, maybe taste,
the hot ash.

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A brief narrative interlude

Who was I to be working on a trail?
I know nothing of trails. But
I do know one thing. Trees
have no hearts. But
there it was.

A deformity, a fleshy blotch, something
primeval, excessive, root and stem, something
ludicrous, abhorrent, something that shouldn’t be there.

Raging, I tore at the thing,
the thing that could not be a tree, a heart,
that could only be a ghost of a thing, a word,
a high-sounding phrase said and stupidly repeated

(to correct it, I had
no other intent).

My fury opened a thin purple line, a drip,
then a flow, pumping out a silk road
of opulent red, cambering down
the broken skin of bark.

It seemed a thousand years
swept by, countless passings of moon
and stars, blood and bone, in their great cycle.

And the thousand years filled with weird
dreams of life being lived, food trucks
and book shops and dancing under
the steady moon on a small plaza
up high, with lights of a village
below, then of doors opening
downward into something
bottomless deep, then
closing.

I grew thin, I aged as I watched
the slight silky line of red now
trickling across the earth,
now into the earth.

Then the parched earth cracked,
a pain long forgotten pushed
its wobbly head through,
unsure of whether
to lean this way
or that.

I went back to my work
changed and satisfied.

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I have a bird to whistle

Review of Robert Okaji’s chapbook of poems, I Have a Bird to Whistle (Luminous Press, 2019, 27 pages), by Gary Gautier

Beautifully crafted, each poem is an uneasy marriage of image and concept, of fullness and emptiness. Each is suggestive without yielding a fixed meaning. Meaning, like the sense-rich images, follows geometric curves through space to the vanishing point. The logic moving through each poem is like an extended haiku concatenation, jumping from one discrete image or cluster to another sometimes unrelated one. So far, so good. But the discontinuity, suggestive as it is, is sometimes too much, and I wish Okaji had given us a more stable throughline to hang onto as we move across the flow of language. When I set these prose-poem paragraphs against Okaji’s pre-existing work (see his blog here), for my taste he flourishes better with the more traditional poetic line structure. Still, those who revel in the sheer beauty of poetic language, in the compression of image and concept, in this case coming in bite-sized, one-paragraph chunks, will be pleased with this short collection.

x x x

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