An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Everything looks eccentric to Claire
the way helicopter shots of cathedrals
and palaces always do, structures solely
designed to accommodate processions
or musters, hence long enclosures
running through air like aimless railway tunnels
or courtyard walls standing tall as sturdy dams
with no function but holding back the horizons.
The financial district is a hydraulic engine;
skyscrapers fill their reservoirs with space
pumped out of the island beneath them
by the same scarcity of usable square-footage
the enterprises constricted in those geysers impose.
Aslant, like Claire sees, it's a mere imposition
of regular lattices upon local clouds
reflected in the pistons' glass rigging.
Contrary to the common misconception,
the tree line involves a scarcity of detail
rather than of air; the gnarl of trunks
is far too intricate to exist that high,
but the mottling of lichen, a mere implication
of texture, can still cohere just fine,
while higher up nothing occurs naturally
except the loosely monochrome glyphs of clouds.
My peculiar friend Elizabeth sees the same
principle at work in the shapes of manmade things –
hence the simplicity of skyscrapers;
if you built them like houses, they would collapse
under the weight of their own particularity.
Elizabeth is afraid of political ideas;
if you put something up that high, it winds up simple
as a constellation, hollow-boned like a bird.
Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a New York-based poet, translator, and student of English secondary education. His work has appeared in journals including the Peacock Journal, Trafika Europe, and Two Lines. He has also published his translation of Mesopotamia, a novel by the Ukrainian poet and fiction writer Serhiy Zhadan (Yale University Press, 2018).