[from Christopher Merrill, Marvin Bell, István László Geher, Simone Inguanez, Dean Young, Ksenia Golubovich, & Tomaž Šalamun's 7 poets 4 days 1 book, Trinity, 2009]
in the beginning [by Simone Inguanez]
in the beginning, there were grapes.
then the word -- words like cherries
and daily bread, and like water
-- before it freezes
where a certain someone's indifferent glance . . .
and, with words, your eyes, a well of knives.
the edges of thin lines.
i still dream you're inside me
without knocking entering this temple
which waits for you --
and i say don't lose your way
in the dark and you smile --
you taste of honey.
Half-Life [by Dean Young]
In darkness every murmur emerges
from a body of honey. Answers
are snatched from flames, from strange
creatures fed by hand. Music is a mushroom,
an argument between mirrors. Night
condemns us to another life,
that bottom line of the periodic table
where the elements last only nanoseconds.
I'm too sleepy to start over now,
too awake to believe this quicksilver dream.
Please be gentle as an isotope can be,
darling who undresses to disappear.
Nothing breaks down quicker than Dean
Youngium, the last atom before
the first layer of devils.
untitled [by Christopher Merrill]
First grapes, then songbirds, then the leopard sleeping
In the tree above the newlyweds' Land Rover.
He dreams of wildebeests. She lies awake
Until first light, when it begins again --
The yearning, the singing. The leopard licks the cub
Of the baboon it ate for dinner. Sweetness,
Like hunger, is demanding, and desire
Is ravenous for light as well as flesh.
It's a matter of arithmetic:
One glass of red, one glass of white, and then
A washing machine -- O broken beauty! -- floods
The Serengeti Plain. A turboprop
Plummets toward the canyon in which the guerrillas
Plotting to kidnap a priest toast the pilot.
The groom stirs in his sleep. Sweet dreams, she tells him.
We'll Calmly Swallow This [by Tomaž Šalamun]
They don't know what they're doing.
Girls remain lying.
The papyrus' breath.
When you tear yourself
away from the chain, do you
still sense saltiness? I passed the night
on the sieve. Below the grill there were
eyes and water. Little cloths with
which you mopped the tiger's
front, where are the temples from?
The poodle has built himself a wooden
shack and leveled it with his right
leg. I shudder in the bindweed.
The bindweed overgrew my shoulder.
untitled [by István László Geher]
Like a leopard sleeping on the tree
was the way he talked to people.
He was not one of them.
With his darkling desire he walked
the earth the way the predator rests.
In the inner darkness the prey
is other-worldly, he used his heart
like someone learning fear,
clumsy, fearing he was no good.
He would have woken to any noise
but life and death and hate and love
were silence for him. He waited
for the voice. His claws, drawn in,
spared time from tearing. The sleep
in his leopard's eyes grew towering.
Those mounting it could never reach the top.
untitled [by Ksenia Golubovich]
The river flows ever so gently
Under the cement bridge at night. You stand
Upon a river rock to show me balance,
Then I -- to show exuberance. The bridge --
A simple stretch of steadiness above
A sliding strip of water . . . "fit together" --
You say. I stand on rocks, you -- on the shore
Touching the tips of my cold fingers --
I find it strange -- your thought amazes me
And through amazement it begets a child
-- a thought of steps and rocks and of the river
That crossed the bridge's heart, its darkening head
Under the lover's arm . . . Is that reality
Sweet music of the minds? Joining
Two half-believes we stand and move. We dance.
untitled [by Marvin Bell]
Okay, one last bowl of stones for dinner
before we wake. O broken beauty whole
until the dawn. The statue David's of a piece
with the bones and entrails left for vultures,
if you never cry. Mozart is denial. Poetry
is denial. Beauty is denial. Union is fencing
behind which condos rise with good views.
Please forgive me my war criminals. And
the crooks who took away our soul. Let my
dream kidnap a bucket of Texas slime
and make a man of it. Am I to sleep deeply
by the river or beget beauty in the air
instead of hewing the trees? Here the forest
is a forest, and our dream a little Mozart playing
brilliantly for the grownups, don't you think?
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