by Amit Majmudar
Inheart yourself, immensity. Immarrow,
Embone, enrib yourself. The wind won’t borrow
A plane, nor water climb aboard a current,
But you be all we are, and all we aren’t.
You rigged this whirligig, you make it run:
Stop juggling atoms and oppose your thumbs.
That’s what we like, we like our rich to slum.
The rich, it may be, like it too. Enmeat
Yourself so we can rise onto our feet
And meet. For eyes, just take two suns and shrink them.
Make all your thoughts as small as you can think them.
Encrypt in flesh, enigma, what we can’t
Quite English. We will almost understand.
And if there’s things for which we don’t have clearance,
There’s secrecy aplenty in appearance.
Face it, another word for skin is hide.
Show me the face that never lied.
Breathe, bark, beat, pulsar, sleep and wake, sun-eyed sky.
The wonder is. It doesn’t wonder why.
My physiology is sugar burning
To warm saltwater, yours, a tilted turning
That forms the waves. I blink, you night, I brood,
You dusk, I sweat, you dew, for every root
A follicle, for every moon a mood.
Midwinter mornings I have spoken clouds
Aloud. Light was the steam inside your mouth.
Systole blossom, diastole dissolve,
Whether it’s man or sun the sky revolves
Around, the pole will perish and the tether.
Illness in me in you is fevered weather,
My hail and hurricane your fit of coughing.
Both of us winter in a snowbound coffin
And spring up lively, leaves along our boughs.
My wonder holds until I wonder how.
A hand must pass the strings for them to sound.
The absence of the touch is what resounds.
Axon for axon, we are strung, we are
A kind of neurological guitar
A star has strummed to music. Our musician
Has touched us once, gone quiet now to listen—
Is this mind flat or sharp? How well’s it tuned?
The absence of his hand is opportune,
His famous silence proof we have his ear.
Reverberation needs the aisles clear,
And rumination needs some room to roam.
If he were here, these rhymes would stay at home,
And all that’s hard and hardest-won in us
Be obviated by the obvious.
Have your hosannah, I prefer the hush.
Check the acoustics in this empty hall.
Not the faintest echo when you call.
4. From Darkness into Light
The severed parts of darkness grow and glow.
An octopus’s amputations show,
Each tentacle a jiggling gigawatt.
Guillotine one, and watch: Its inky thoughts
Become a giant light bulb, humming, hot.
Anemones mown down sprout back as filaments
Fluorescent to illuminate their element.
It’s painful, sure, transforming into light—
You have to be a little cruel with night
To coax tomorrows out into the sun.
To write at all you have to bite your tongue
Until the phantom pain it feels in silence
Begins to shine. All truth begins in violence,
A purge of dissonants. The heart must wish
To drag a speedboat through the jellyfish—
Electric shreds a mile off the coast
Collected into poems wholly ghost.
5. Thrives Best in Oblique Light
Oblique light sheds a shadow slant-rhymed with
Creation. Sun-shy insight thrives in it,
And orchids, and some kinds of fern. It’s best
On lizards: Light them slant, they iridesce.
Oblique light first arose when Fiat lux
Echoed against the darkness. Lux redux.
A glance that goes where it was going to
By glancing off a thing sees in and through
A thing. The beam whose aim is off flies true.
Direct the spotlight just past, matter warms
To our perception, opens up, performs.
Inattention at best intermittent
Is how a word is wrought, or world is written,
Deflected by the hand that shapes its ends
To middles muddled, wayward in their wend.
So now you know why even Homer nods.
I pray for some distraction from my gods.