An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
A Month of Thursdays
A month of Thursdays I waited, nibbled by hedge hogs
of regret. A month of Thursdays, my eyes gouged
by real crows who spoke to me so I would not
feel alone; they said "This is the whitening, the
cleansing of matter." "Then why is it so dark?"
I asked, for I had no understanding. A month
of Thursdays, a cyclops's eye. A month of Thursdays,
a razor blade's reminiscences, an eel's sense of purpose,
a hot pavement strewn with starfish like cookies on a tray.
The turning wheel evokes a sound of bells. A month of
Thursdays, and no mention of the diadem. Does the night
have teeth? Are there voices in the well? I'm clutching
father's war medals, through which the radio signals come.
A month of Thursdays, time's barbed wire around my throat,
lungs turned to pumice. "We've brought you company,"
say the crows. "His name is Paracelsus. He will explain
everything." But all he does is spit in my ear. This restores my
vision, but it's not the same because the memory of
darkness overlays everything, save that which is holy,
and there's nothing I can do about it.
Tangent of Ardency
Beside a house with liver spots,
near the coughing lilacs, flows a brook
that turns the calendar's pages and
bears away flotsam shaped
like tiny hats.
"Where are the lovers?" it seems to ask.
In the wooded glen nearby, the lovers crouch
amidst allegorical figures who declare
their relationship to Fate, using the
language of antiquity.
The lovers are ignorant of this language.
Beside them bubbles a spring, the brook's source,
with its tale of loaves and fishes,
of many from one.
From here, one can see pinecones dropping.
One can dine on the meat of the sky,
which replenishes itself like
tankards of ale for rich men.
From here, one cannot see the obsidian threads,
nor feel the disbursements. One cannot taste
the imploding compass. Here, it is said,
one never waits but always remains.
To make a clam play an accordion is to invent—not to discover.
What are the parts of a pier? Planks and pilings?
Shall I risk my life for a poem? My dog eats snow
and leaves his water bowl untended. How then
shall I weigh shame? By the clam's beard I'll know thee,
by its "Lady of Spain" I'll measure this song,
though seabirds lack color and the waves' paraphrase
misquotes, endlessly misquotes, things as they are.
Once, I lived with gypsies; they gave me a secret name
without purpose, like a rosary seen through a crystal ball,
like invisible cuff-links. I use an adder's fang
for a hat-pin, for all the good it does.
Refrigerators humming Mozart, cotton fields of
white regret, the e pluribus Unum of doorbells in childhood,
arcane musings of Egyptologists at the Fratricide symposium—
these and more shall grace thy song.
What are the parts of reality that they might
be discovered at a Sunday morning's tea or at this clam recital?
The most colorful birds dwell inland, along emerald rivers.
Their drowsy songs breathe false fire; though it light
a thousand nights, it will not burn.
Thomas Townsley grew up in Central Pennsylvania and received his Master's Degree in English and Creative Writing from Syracuse University in 1983. He is an English professor at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, New York. Recent publications include Reading the Empty Page and Night Class for Insomniacs (Black Rabbit.) A collection of experimental Sapphic verse, Babel's Rebuilding, is due later in 2020, also from Black Rabbit. His chapbook entitled Tangent of Ardency was published by SurVision Books in 2020.