Sentinel Poetry (Online) #55 ISSN 1479-425X
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...since December 2002
Editor-in-Chief: Amatoritsero Ede
the matter of neglected possibility, dumb
revenge of inconceived organs and histories
cramming the cavities of the body and
soul, metastasizing into delicate fingers
pinching hypothalamic nuclei, into a
brass-knuckled punch in the gut. these are
the pangs of my unpregnancies; deliverance
is a knife’s slice into skin.
from the boardwalk it shows the shallow beauty of the faces
of the adolescent girls who here in summer smoke, drink
and talk themselves silly with the filched cigarettes, beer
and words whose treacherous depths they have yet to fathom:
its skin’s light powdering can’t hide the irruptions of old tires
or the shoreline’s spade-hewn angularity; the eye is drawn from
thick stands of trees framing brightly painted farmhouses
to highways, power lines, flights of geese, or the irregular shapes
of black trash bags half buried in the mud nearby. the pool
between the boardwalk and the near bank, though, is an emerald
eye that open teaches broken bottle glass what beauty can be,
enjewelling all it sees—rushes, branches, rusty iron, light, me—
until the eyelid of the ordinary closes to return all to stones,
water, and crude carbon life looking for transfiguration.
in memoriam: Mary and Cecil
“stranger beware,” their epitaph might read,
“for we know not how we came to be here.”
Mary wandered in, unaware the place was any different
from all the rest her Alzheimer’s had led her to
forget, unable to name the self-effacing fellow
who drew her from the crowd of tender,
unrecognized faces. two days before, alone,
Cecil was mugged from behind by a hoodlum
heart-attack. after, he couldn’t ID his assailant
or find his way home, though the phone
in the kitchen kept ringing, the children wondering
why he wasn’t at the hospital by Mary’s side.
“look behind you, stranger, or in the mirror
earthed six feet under. face it if you can.”
no longer in service
death is groping the maiden. no longer her voice,
a golden harp with strings of dirty words, will beckon
bedwards across continents to lonely men errant
in empty hotel rooms. no longer her hourglass figure
will slip into the impossible tropes her clients desire,
her breathy ohs flowing through the phone to explode
their dreams until the time runs out. they won’t cry,
won’t ask why they’ve been transferred to another line:
their plastic women don’t die, just dye their names.
her daughter won’t cry either but will marvel,
standing over the incised, liposuctioned, suppurating mass
on which the cosmetic surgeon broke his chisels,
that her mother spent her cash and courted death
to be true to her calling, and will wonder if her
gashes were thrilling to the probing bony finger.
flakes of sloughed off skin
accumulating like dust in attics
the backside of sibylline leaves,
prophecy written in the future anterior
mementoes mori, holy relics,
the nail parings of sinners and saints
corpses touched by the embalmer’s art,
chemically fixed and coloured
a piece of work
babies test-tube squeezed into polyester blankets;
petri-dish-perfect tomatoes in cellophane wrap.
discoloured, bloated bodies of gassed villagers;
stained, corroded leaves dropped from dead black trees.
glossies of landmine amputees in charity brochures;
cut and sprayed roses in an ornamental vase.
grain-hauling freighters shitting chemical plague in their wake;
uniforms littering the ocean floor like candy wrappers.
smokestacks and cigarettes, filter tipped;
emphysema rises, ozone withdraws.
flatline of the four seasons,
direct current driving the plug-in green-fused flower.
time arcs from flint-struck spark to megaton conflagration;
fire-bearing slime consumes its mother and belches out the world.