Between 2nd and 3rd Sunday a crucible
before birth, a way of being stretched
so that the derma unfolds
perineum expands & umbilicus relents.
All the work of capillaries like red trucks
rush to the aorta on fire with their dousing.
And when you walk outside the inside is dragged
along in the cold cradle
rocked like a fetus in its saline bath
not knowing its duration, endurance or limits.
What is this inside mongrel
a dog or a girl
or a hag or a rag
something with branches
and a kind of sap
that adheres to wood and words
and anything that rushes by
without definition and therefore is loosely possible.
I’ll wait for 4th Sunday then
all the pleated interval of it is raw silk
which is what the mulberry moth makes
with threads of spit
and if the thorax feels external and imposed
a hardened shell of mucilage
then touch someone’s throat
set on fire the twigs set aside.
Tend to the cells that postulate honey
the vestigial reddened coating
I wear on my hands.
Emily Dickinson's House
With a finger across the mouth
she forbade us to go upstairs.
a slap that tingles like 19th Century Massachusetts cold.
Aromatic as pines across a bedroom window
which I try and stare into like an x-ray.
Crossed with refractory shadows
bound as a book it resists
penetrations or speculations.
I feel like an old blackish skeleton
from a daguerreotype
a man in a brown suit who
pauses in the midst of obligations
to assess an enigma.
Feel an apprehension
as though I were the worm
crawling through the apple
you let fall to the ground.
The evidence that is the shard of my position
emerges as a floating density, a habitation for one foot
pulled back, the sheer malleable substance of a
protective interface, the wrappings of a polar explorer
and desert farmer wafts in the crawl space.
What is revealed aquafies the larger experiment
what is hidden subtracts from the wedge that is home
as though a dress or a veil were a letter in an envelope
something that slides away as it is extracted
disappears as it comes in to the hand.
On any Wednesday now the dark comes early
though whose to say anymore what’s early
anything green that remains.
Lurid as gasoline, a lit Xmas bulb’s curved broken horizon.
Apparently each day of the week
is a projected shine, inked plate and letter-pressed page
a muddy book found on the ground by a foraging foot
that kicks open the day’s dictionary
in which outrance, dice, and divine of the sky are found.
Words like black passages, each a tight ball
you stand in a dream and try to call
until Wednesday flies over, it’s morning now.
Something cranks, yields, our albino corn experiment has grown
outside, surprise, it’s nearly white today
and early is late in relation to the utter
lost, last moonlit lavender ray.
The tapestry of this purple mash calls
into its swirled mesh as a shapeless ball
that hangs in air, an explosive packet
testicular, filled to the brim, a lacy bracket.
She takes from it
an instrument: her very own kit
but as everyone knows, it’s a kit no one can own.
It’s only a loan.
Meanwhile, I write with a restless hand
take up one pen, then another as each a leaky gland.
Actually, I’d like to cry.
Come play with us
someone, a voice, says somewhere, invisible as dust.
I’ll play, okay,
as tears become protozoa then sperm
tendrils of a fire that flicks
on a stranger’s psychedelic discarded bag of tricks.
In exchange for a small action
manifest yet unrealized, shapeless
as a black velvet scarf
a snake without a spine
a vertical shadow inside a shadow.
The night that the snow evaporated,
glows under a dead tree
encrusted in the cement, ledges and pipes.
A gesture retracted
and being withheld
increased its divisions.
The particles of a scenario
in an alternate perceptual manifesto.
The locked pieces of afternoon
are grisaille and cool to the touch.
Movement at the end of the night
in exchange for a conversation’s lit edges
and the usual surfaces cannot recognize their extensions
not yet ready to cohere.
Sleep is like the worn curled lamb’s fur
of a crumpled jacket found on the sidewalk
and an animal walks skinned and venous.
I rub its silk lining
hungry for a seamed coating.
Come back to sleep these things call.
the grimy underside of the snow is
something pronounced as a name
and just as unattached, a peeling
which allows me to
exchange its syllables for
all the other acts I’ve done.
Inhabited Nothingness Chair
.......For Charlotte Mandell
In the white square of my notebook
girded by blue lines so faint I wonder
if they are a color of a ghost
the structure of a moving hand
tries to stuff a letter in each box
as though it were a demented shadow
who pushes mail through a grate
into slots that imperceptibility tighten.
I am going to write of silence.
as the poet wrote:
To unite with nothingness, nothing engenders
Like a baby who sees a rustle in the air
a scattering now, nothing withdraws.
I sense its waking hush
its coldest self abstract as a frozen gray washrag
fluffiness all over the air.
Five letters, second letter R says a disembodied voice.
in my nothingness. Where do you get that H from, sky?
Who are these mad oracles from the beyond.
I’m filling in my boxes girls
I want to cry, don’t interfere.
The perpetual emptiness of writing
he wrote, I write.
through a collage of spatters
and gush of foam froths
and the suck of an opening door occur
there’s also a gray plastic bucket in the light
there are five orange chairs that face away.
The chairs are empty, oh God.
with no one here the room is full.
The coffee in the cup is present in the throat
and when I look at the inhabited nothingness chair
I see you, absent
The chest is a box that inhales, holds its measure
then throws away the vapor like light to film where it defuses as a chemical
organized into a human being
into a pool of refractions
something shiny and flat
that has a spool, sprockets and forelegs
to which attached are hinges, flaps and pockets.
And the thinnest of counter chemicals
sounds of a word that slide on to air
wrap around the other words that hang as persistent particles
and together fall downward after drifting.
What is there to propel
the gelatinous stain of its skin
that coagulates and binds to
something that I cannot see, touch or feel
only taste and smell as an indefinite almond milk,
dirty hot green grass. The black seeds smashed inside a lily.
In “itself” there is only a trace but it is of an effigy
like the distillation of an x-ray
powder that glares.
The debris of a manifestation
magnetic filings that fall in a current.
I can’t discern when 12:30 evades
the axis, the orientation.
Sheds the filaments that make stiff waves of thinking.
A dark red fluid washes through.
Relinquishment is the motion
of alphabetic disarray
emanate as burns on objects
lipstick on cup.
The flashlight imprints a hand’s hovering flag
without any surface or proximity
or primary or secondary
only the thread’s ragged wires
the only straps I can hold.
In the mote, the instant
as thwarted by pigment.
In a fleshly quandary
time resumed its directionless velocity
consuming the replica
the shadow of a going on.
If it were horizontal.
If it were. How removed from the skin
of its use is the fluid.
seems to present itself to the sun
as though pediment and
The signal of something barely identical.
The jar that contains is destroyed.
How mauve fastens the room to its light.
A cube to a theory – a hand to a hand.
To read an emanation
neither vessel or land or tissue
and instead of these.
Later, during the week, she wondered
if the boxes remain
barely fixed in space.
Barely boxes. Indicators, perhaps,
of a possible.
A situation the facts fastened
to by thought and feeling
so that the color of certainty
and origination had become
too vaporous to contain flesh and
mauve, vulnerable to shadow and light, a variant .
The cluster of aspects seemed the ground,
a doubted viewing, improbable.
She was as one who encountered
in the reading a transcription.
A vacillating, discernable
surface that dissembled once one pressed against it.
Today, we wake up
in the aura of strangeness
attended to by the sounds
which you said soothe you and
anoint space with a continuousness.
There is no snow – not yet.
In a few hours says the oracular prototype of fate.
If we had the means to ameliorate
your sentence, to track
the storm’s divergence.
I will resolve that presently Susie says
as an integument
to the flow of expectations.
We agreed on the drapery
of its impermanence
as though snow were a situation
in a play akin to the arrangement of
19th Century sisters who sit
in their father’s library
devising their own flow and text
as they embroider
by piercing the sky
repetitively with the knots
of their fabrication.
I thought I was done
said God I thought
and immediately wrote it
so as to rid
myself of its unnamable name.
I meant to mention neutrinos
unknown as flies
frequent as tears
colorless as everyday
they gather in a swarm
and shapelessly explode
into something shaped like a canoe
at the speed of light.
What a cliché
until you see it
as words encase speed
speed brings light.
Neutrinos seem to rush by
Coagulate madly when one expects
consistency and measure.
Canoe with no one in it
standing across waters
you cannot feel or see or drink.
Thank you for letting me mention you
in a poem. You seem to be
telling me I am a cliché.
A replicant within your chaos
washed in the neutrinos of your tears._______________________________________________________________________________
Black curvilinear hooded torso
a frozen bunch of hair.
I inspect twilight’s
specks of light, with hidden
lavender and mix it with snow.
Skin and encumbrance
dribbles to an edge.
The mesh and accretion
above teeth and branches
stick out from a trunk
dip into a chalice.
A rejoinder, a constant semaphore
a web torn in strips
that flagellates with speckled hail.
White dirty pieces of skin
framed by the night in a field.
The dry inner sleeve
a name I apply the crayon to.
This floating neck
blue as an ox, blue as oxygen blue
that someone carries to and from.
With no coat traverse
a spectrum, a shed
a bulbous cavern and cowl.
Listen for the strings of instruction:
Go to the other end.
Bang on the door.
Let this sad interim like the ocean
At Coney Island be
Ambiguous as the opposite shore. Staten Island, Scotland? It feels like green jelly
She brings to our feet tangled hair, hunks of cement and empty can of Yoohoo.
Though a few miles out whales may doze below the surface, hulks of blue.
The carnival offers shadows and blood on the wing of a fly
Sideshows by the Seashore, mirrors swords.
A fortune spit out by a witch with one eye.
Sweet Love Renew thy Force, was printed
In blue ink on paper. Disaster hinted
In something of the brightness too bright to see
To this day I still carry it secretly folded with me.
Yet, when I looked for these words, they aren’t anywhere
As poetry hides in the jangled fair.
The room is emptier then
A poet wrote, or said.
Poets are always saying.
And the opposite is true, of course.
That nothing is fuller than the room. He knows
This but brought in nothing anyway,
Like an invocation, an invitation
Of the nothing outside.
If I went inside
One by one
Every little thing
would swell to it’s possible largest implication
Then snap. The sound is
Metallic as though coming from
The infernal ricochet of a bed or
The rings water makes or
Pleats of a
Dripping out of air.
You might take a rose
From its sisters in the hand
And turn her upside down
Her hair streaming to the ground
Her neck a shadow
And hang her from the door.
It’s hard to be alone.
What I mean is:
It’s joyous to be alone.
And nothing, who stays away, is
the implacable, inviolable bridegroom.
Kimberly Lyons is the author Photothérapique (Ketlanche Press/Portable Press, 2008). She recently has had work in Aufgabe, Effing Magazine, Eoagh (online), The Encyclopedia of New York School Poets (Facts on File, 2009) and has work forthcoming in New American Writing. She has been a host of the Zinc Bar's long running series in recent seasons. She lives in Brooklyn.