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Thursday 6 December 2012

Anthony Seidman


This river opens between the pages
of a journal wherein children color
itineraries for crows, or the shoes belonging
to parents buried beyond the smokestacks. 
This river twists, froths a glossolalia, currents
slap against rocks, and the river
rises, spreads greenness across this page. 
Men wading into this river sniff
the mud that sticks to the fur of lost dogs,
but they also taste a tooth perforating the gums
of a toddler whose mother has placed him
on the parlor floor, as she fills a pot with water
that had traveled a recirculation
from sierra precipitation, then
became rain driving into a tributary that
now leaps its banks, floods this page,
recedes, sinks into the damp clay of spring,
snakes a trajectory through pipes and 
gurgles from out her kitchen faucet.  This river
quenches the thirst of stones, stretches
up cliffs so that those who believe
in miracles behold a waterfall, calligraphy
of mist.  This river is the cloud river, the blood
river, the white river that zigzags through
the emptiness between letters, the vortex
humming between two dependent clauses. This is
the river that soothes the saintly and mad,
river that runs alongside those who can no longer
walk, but keep faith in the charity of locusts,
the nutrients in dirt, the cosmos
ringing inside the almoner’s empty cup.


The man stirred from his dreams.  Midnight,
sweating, his tongue was leathery as 
he fumbled with the light switch
only to see whiskers, eyes bleared,
staring from the stark bathroom mirror.
He knew the summons had been uttered,
the hour to sit in the dark, window
open to black vegetation, and to smell
moist earth and tart wind
rushing across vacant lots,
carrion, weeds, deadly nightshade,
and hear his children snoring lightly
in their bedroom, and discern
smoke of decay rising from his robe,
hands, bald pate. He grabbed a curl
of that obscure fume, twisted and
kneaded it into a thread, and released it,  
darkness dissolving in the dark,
the way Moses, witness to a more
terrible vowel, came down from Sinai,
phosphorescent antennae jutting from scalp,
saw the revelers round the golden calf,
snapped off his beams, crushed
them under sandals in order that
the Chosen taste the fundamental dirt.   

Anthony Seidman is the author of three collections, including the recent Where Thirsts Intersect, published by the Bitter Oleander Press.  Readers interested in his work can find poems and translations in such journals as Slipstream, The Bitter Oleander, Skidrow Penthouse, Nimrod, The Black Herald and on-line in Alligatorzine.  

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