Poetry 2014

intersections, or desert theophany

By: Mary Elizabeth Vance

My mouth to your mouth             to your eye to the green of March’s
volcanic budding bursting inside November’s wiry quills

bisects the “y-es” in “yes” and the “n-o” in “no,” yet not the word
from the word, for these are not at odds like semantics and

etymology and entomology.  Poetry means running to the end
of your body and jumping out off the cliffs of your matter                      
to empty the kettle.   Your alpha, that is where figure begins,
leaking into

proximal Babylonian canopies and distal Herculaneum, and
old glaciers, melting antipodes into interstates and smokestacks.

and your body somewhere in that landscape force an aluminum
ruler into the crease where the car locked itself shut

on purpose or accident.  “Truth has a body but it has no meaning.”

I am solvent in the chasm;             I am a right hand cutting through
the Rosetta stone,
cumulate to become.             Origins are body language.

Someone makes a call for a roadside assistant to recover
a swallowed key.

A stroke patient with locked-in syndrome—
cerebromedullospinal disconnection—wrote an entire
autobiography with one eyelid.

I’ve heard it said that art imitates life.  I guess I was
unaware of an interstice.  Assumed you just lived and lived until
you found yourself living on paper or in carbon or wax instead of
inside two bare hands.

I am fractal, fuel and process. Fire is fire in every history             only
its functions change.  I don’t know what poetry is;            

I know what birds are, and the spaces that fluctuate between them,
between opening and bird. The average of a place is half emptiness
and half concrete,
insects, and sound waves; the average of a woman or man
is one-third desire and one-third denouement.

We are more than ourselves, but also less than ourselves.  Desert
violets bloom offhand abstractions in guttered inflections
and sunlight.  Perimeters were invented by merely a fraction
of a human being.  By the time you die, you will have read                 
more paper than ink.
To speak sonorous verse from the stomach of a war, listen.
             All poets are prophets, but not all will answer
with their name.  “Triumph!” they profess, “Semiotics!”—concepts.  I,
intersecting dust and lifeblood, vomiting silence in the questioning
syllables of the greatest subversion: I am, not “I am not;”

I am,

I am,

I am—

Brokenness sends the beginning out from the ground.