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Thursday 5 June 2014

Carol Shillibeer

before the storm breaks

worry and the screaming / of gull chicks, it's that 20 / minutes before / the sun is lost that cures / the sweet dying of broken buds / rising wind drives / the homeless men under the railway bridge / toss and titter of empty cans and old chip bags / pink & blue ink of / faded civilizations / green-shoed child aloft a broken / bike / missing wheel an absent halo / rain-jacket unzipped and / the clack of bottles / bottle-pickers trading the final / fragrance of an empty for coin / under the darkening day / 3 minutes to wonder and weather's rupture / under-bridge women cradle / the unseen future / stored below / stone / and black mountain air towing rain through / a gouged sky / like blue tarps pinned around shopping carts / leaky like old stories too often told / unacknowledged in the annals / time itself a solar uncertainty / my car still has all 4 doors / a dry sleeping bag and in / the deluge with its winds / t minus 1 / the garbage lifts off and the living / hunker down


bone song

Narrow asphalt hot, black, sugar tar twists
pulled out across the land, slide down
all the way to the river. Steering hands wet,
heat waves crashed by roaring tires,
and the stone walls, the sere canyon
rising like a frozen flood
of stone bone birds on the wing singing.

Under the river, old villages flood.
Down there, stones dam-drowned
familial relics & water rushing through
eroding sculpted smiles & bird wings
spread in lithic flight
—between the dams,
a string of temporary lakes,
under the lakes,
a river, &
under this, old homes still
with enough life to seek.
—when an osprey breaks the river,
talons fish, hunting cracks the seal of history;
liquid songs spray, fin-out in glistening drops,

Grit in skin creases driving me down to the river,
driving, round & round, down to the river.

the long breath
of an ice age, the future
day when the dams fall & the lakes
return to a river

Hissing air in the open window,
play of tire & beaten down black road,
bounce of air from car to canyon—

then or when
—stones will rise up to the blue
& speak what remains of their faces;
me, long drowned, under death's stone,
the thing to be hoped
—that what remains of my body in either awe or desire,

bone's song will be pulled,
arcing in a silver fish flash through the water's surface
& back, blue, into the winging air

dream contemplation_# 47_shelter

Raging for justice, black bears die.
Their skins burn at the dump & I find shelter
in the plume of greasy smoke. Kittens in a plastic bag;
remains of the bear red the growing dark.
Papers, curling into brown leaves, lose their hold on words.

The alphabet burns off, ghosting into the bear's smoke.
I found two of the cats still alive;
shelter in the last cats' cries;
claws flex for high-wired crows.
I collect black feathers. Free of the wing, they fall.

Mountains breathe into day,
green squeals augur plant uprisings. And yet,
there will be no justice.
A dog shot, then left for dead in the ploughed field.
I find shelter in the threshing rage.

Mountains walk into night;
cougar's eat the slow serenade of human sight.
Guns hold heat, black-powdered memory.
You: the pentacle of purple-and-yellow across her face;
the bovine lowing of a stack of cars on fire.

I can find shelter in this world. Mangoes bright:
the morning in a grocer's wooden bin.
The late rising of winter's pale sun. The dead left
their eyes, things seen, littering the aureate day.

This is my existence. The dead drag themselves
toward the future. Expectations burn
along the sky's rim. They look like stars.

Finally unburdened of time,
corpses stumble into a waiting crouch.
The present will return & I am not afraid;
I can find shelter in the coming night.

A dog shot and left for dead.
I can feed you burnt-out sentences, scorched and polluted words;
it will be the weight of burning skins that measures us
against evolution's night. I find shelter in the coming night.

(after Icon of Coil)


BlueQueen to Sisyphus 4

God, like the self a lapis petal hung
on the flowered necklace of body's longing;
small round cabochon-glisten, linked
with twisted threads, golden narrative,
and in that rebirthing into monstrous
what was simply the body's cerulean desire,
stringing bright beads of knowledge
as it sweeps across earth's plain of things.

The mind has mistaken itself
as the polar star, mistranslated,
bead bobbled blue-petaled bright
for some deep and universal heart.
This incipient tragedy, claimed
universal interiority, that gem lazuli,
now the unbearable somatic rock,
our up-endlessly, hill of it.

How does such a capitulation occur?
A small thing in origin,
but that blue-longing turned a flowered blade,
a deep debt out of which we often
cannot climb. Sisyphus' avaricious tragedy:

What was once a small blue bead hung
at the ear; on the Queen's throat—
in the harsh breath of a body
beyond its limits, thiozonide and ripened curves,
lazuli, by nature, is the material engulfing of the blue
—a small rock, it is the dark mirroring,
offered to us from those god-named depths.

Attended in ardour and jealousy
by the bright rounds of solar narrative,
twined by leaden desire and Corinthian inhospitality,
festivities of human life drape,
the primping of hill's ridge with boulders,
virtual territory claimed in aid of spiritual necessity.

Oh, to let go, and stone shatter, ultramarine,
to carry instead, a single blue bead
strung on one ear, the other to bear
the memory of Sisyphus' laboured breathing.

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