from Shineby Dale Smith
STRAIN FOR COHERENCE of narrative to have lasso-like bearing where
chokeholds restrain disorder. Quiet floating over al-Hamad radar heat
sensing blast. Cool air lifts on the lake. Pawpaw and cherry. Balinese angel
observes evening’s thin buzz of distant traffic. Praise and blame. AR-15s
close range room quilt or bread. Quiet of a boy in a tub as water drips.
Towels lavender sage burns New Mexico pinecone lodestone Cerberus
three-headed monster paces my desk.
I FELT EARTH MOVE in ribbons—waves of chaotic motion. Screens
flashed news—we had only wanted simple things—
American beach grass
gingham, sugar or muskets
above the door
warrant of impersonal affection
see with Lucia her name light that
passage—tacky lily stamen stains. Common objects of feeling. Rice cake
crumbs jammed in my foot. Pale silver paves the street.
Her eyes look out from daguerreotype. Movement of skirts on rich
Aubusson. Master in her—his hammer can’t bend like amiable answers.
Pressed to bloody toilet seat in terror. Muscles atrophy, wrap tightly any
bone. Some were saddled, others walked in stiff canvas or wool, bayonettes
aimed on Cherokee Cree Crow Nipmunks Mahicans. March in dogwood
spring, dear Shiloh.
Boxed men in Rio Marseille football beatings Bab al-Yemen warplanes
shatter colorful windows red blue drone shadow passes Jabal an-Nabi
Shu’ayb. Wesley’s savior wanders interior. Naked flesh of her in him me a
pronoun dust to pulse or jerk wide spasm. Lived
light gleams on cyclists’s passing helmets
we are woven
bison rhinos and aurochs
tall cord grass—
spokes flashing past. Weep in the arms of strangers. Industrial mass
cushions or sparkled glass. Spritzers under umbrellas. Moistened torsos tear
master’s measured aim. Sky earth rare home to hear.
ANY NARRATIVE TO BREATHE a sudden wash of rain air humid tires
spray curb a city’s calm in late window. Fan and brandy quiet to relieve. A
reason or fat act to prove. Against a continent or long river systems, lakes
and valleys, canals open to receive a movement of goods. From the
turn-in thin shacks there are
narrow bunks apothecary weeds heal
azimuth of moving lives. Leaves give shade. A child’s native attunement in
Cancer to break into human pieces. See what’s left in collected debris. No
words—not rubble or crushed cinder blocks—relate catastrophe’s measure.
Proof of Yankee idealism or greed sounded in aftermath expanding. Liberty
of living unattended by what sinks the man in a doorway with the corpse of
his girl no blood there is anguish his face stabbed to see every instant
circular lives orbit the heart is a telescope and forgets.
Dog, scorpion, pinecone. Threadbare to bare earth’s grave pairings,
leavings. Pear tree in misty rain. Raccoon pushes compost bin. The patriarch
poses on his way to Spain. Balinese angel assures protection. Charms or
fool purchases history of
ruin plastic as pieces of a game forget something
loved in a nook of the basement
black man dead somewhere
in his car in her
of breath. Alone enfolded by wetness. Parti-colored streamers a cake.
Remember the Spider-Man piñata. Soft wind. Motorcycle. Fan. Mastery of
the quiet rounded uncertainty every piece any sudden move hung in the
common. Come and see.
CROSS BORDER TO FOOD and tampons. Weight of democratic vote
sticks thin shirts or dirty slacks. Fattened on corn syrup—a row of guards
collapses on Bosphorus Bridge. Commit to wages to trade dignity’s index
for hunger relief. Smell the city subway heat. Straight white fantasy withers
under image repair. Loaded to kill wordy ambassador freak timing mass
culture farce. Air increases muscles around the spine. Prickly ash or
sidewalk trash pigeons wander
mottled hunt curb rejecta
America like wilderness forgone
as if and how it will
fuck up easy plans
dying of hunger and thirst
sailing on rafts tied
Florida or what they called
forgot to run a freeing of a sense to own others, appose sovereignty in
isolate wastes. Embodied African labor. Atlantic’s sucking currents—grave.
Currencies devalue—oil slaughter Venezuela. Summering in Hamptons
or Cape Ann halibut cod lobster butter—rhythmic access bindweed and
speedwell. Fisted in porn rage roses undulate in belly fat. Priced out to
service text device era of common digits a dom to manage pleasure’s ratios.
As if the bearded imam’s moral north adhered to Enlightenment heave,
weird edge in liberal dream lift. To stand or steer in green clusters of dry
maple leaves traffic gaining crosswalks or waiting stained by storied rage a
purple tank top and brown arms to dare the onrush a flow or raft of safety
WEEDS TAKE THE VALLEY. Goldenrod and tansy. Sumac drops pods of
burnt red like crimson in the wings of black birds. Thistle and dog-
strangling vine to crawl over Shiloh naked heat
say how to advance calm purpose in doubt
numbed by image contained in sound dis
tribute order of feral circumstance
mighty ordinance crushed video
Nabi Shu'ayb Lesbos Aleppo
head-phones plugged in buzzing hard-working
wasp between windows wan paper cells weave
half unwound, sleek in spinal flex. Coffee hawk feather morning sun chews
Pardoned by exceptional geographic condensation. As words aim or
misdirect, inter ancient humors or murmur measures one passes through to
none. Called back to a physical body, a beginning first going out of one to
no one. Wasp in morning breeze sucks juice on fallen pears. Balinese angel
wings expand to breathe and in confused motion flings self to self in
adjacency. Orbit of the eye while a fan’s plastic arms unwind. Cool resolve
of home routines. Complacency settles disease. In some wild remote one
continues beside a tongue a tempo a sleeve or hood. Implements or codes of
Dale Smith has published essays, reviews, and criticism, including Poets Beyond the Barricade: Rhetoric, Citizenship, and Dissent after 1960 (University of Alabama, 2012), and is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which is Slow Poetry in America (Cuneiform, 2014). He is also the co-editor with Robert Bertholf of An Open Map: The Correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson and Imagining Persons: Robert Duncan's Lectures on Charles Olson (due fall 2017).