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SurVision Magazine

An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.

Issue Eight



Tensile Strength

deeply embedded in road tongue
I give you the bumpy night on a silver spoon
what more can a grace note do
but run the next thought into ground-sparks
lipstick traces ooze circles 'round a wound
graffiti breath across the galaxy
makes your face shine in my spitball light

every empty socket is another pool shark's pocket
let's enter the great game and let winter flakes
fly off us like a fabulous new disease
don't lose me to a momentary backfire
I'm not your second-storey man
anonymous masked bandit trying to steal
a little fresh air from an unused planet

sure I'm scared to stare past the nothing hour
my mind loses its train its compartmentalized
brain and rolls into sky-crackling thunder
my shadow burned into a brick wall
my body electric ignites photons underfoot
no doubt you'll pick me out of a lineup
when my fever flashes poetic license

and darkness unloads its candles
I entered you from the other side of the milky way
suffice it to say I've grown light years older
but my bones can still manage a slow watusi
just to let you know it's me take a chance
on the shine off these wilting subway roses
give me a sign and I'm halfway there


my skywriter's hand has stopped

appalled by the prospect of pushing more life
through the point of a pen

a vagrant stole the pennies off my eyes
and I awoke under the hollow of a hanging moon

holes in my head voices in my hands
invisible fingers began to tinkle an old tune

neck burns footprints in the mud
don't ask where I've been

who's this someone listening in
that's bugged my recalcitrant brain

my feverish little twirl of a heart
dancing on the head of a pin

someone wound me up and left me wandering
incognito down dark city streets

mindlessly humming a nameless little ditty
learned at my mother's knee

I was found nursing at the tit of the discontinuous
that disarming ten-foot layer cake

some euphemistically call
a sentimental education

little wonder I am humiliated
for reasons I don't understand

the groundhog digging his hole
in the formless clouds

the baroque angels giggling
above the closing slit of my eye

like everything else perverse and profound
my little terrors started in childhood

the soldier posted at my closet door
fell asleep in the toybox

and a giant praying mantis hovered over my bed
she apologized profusely

before devouring me starting with the head
so much for nature studies

I was later sentenced to squeeze
cursive letters through a narrow tunnel

stay inside the horizontal highway
recite poems to the beat of a stick

I threw upon my mirror image
and spasmed epileptic in the autumn leaves

that was around the time mother married god
and father went to hell in a handbasket

everything happens for a reason
dogs must learn to poop outside the apartment

you must learn not to lose
your train of thought

but inspire students to bolder up another hill
keep writing poems despite discouraging parents

and the job that keeps rolling
back down the hill

auspicious beginning peeking through
the loopholes of an unexamined life

courage will find you
or not

consider the million to one shot
that made you you

and not another well-adjusted inchworm
maneuvering his career ever forward

despite the abyss below each step
singing slightly off key

my wrist was placed upon a table
where rhizomes stretch under thin skin

each vein seeks a way through
its grammatical tissue

there are fifteen letters in my name
I walk with a limp and nod to strangers in passing

how is it on planet earth
laid flat so one may walk

toward the receding horizon that turns forever
'round the bend

so many provisional paths hang
just out of reach

while my finger lingers
tracing spiral galaxies in a sandbox

the sun's light takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds
to arrive but by that time

the solar sphere may have disappeared
while we were bathing in its warmth

one rides the hills on breath alone
strapped to a wave of talking flames

that singe the sky and fall back to earth
so be it each moment

a possible peek
into the shadow's bending light

one follows a line of aristotelian logic
up and down obscure mountain tops

the foliage dense and unforgiving
the predators scouring the forest for new prey

still there's something intoxicating
about the cruel beauty of a stone

something inhuman about humanity
the robot within waiting for its chance

the night rolls breezeward and we float
past the fruit of our divided selves

hanging from a naked tree
we know too much

to settle for not knowing
we must torture the facts to finally

confess... confess
their painful mathematical uncertainties

we must have gotten it wrong
there's no place for infinity

in our elegant equations
back to the blackboard

it's all written in binary code somewhere
zero or one live or die relish or no relish

scientists can't remain wriggling
like a worm on the end on a hook

but when we speak of atoms
poetic images inevitably do the talking

words crack a whip and we leap
tiger through a flaming hoop

from center to periphery and back
from infinity to an infinitesimal twist

on something that wiggles away
while inching forward

inhabiting many haunts at the same time
love followed by an asterisk

footnote to an unwritten book
someone's heart rising off a cement puddle

time to drop that body of glass
and explode the laughing mirror's either or

sometimes it requires the greatest effort
to find a place in which

it takes no effort at all
to do the most difficult thing

Charles Borkhuis is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and essayist. He lives in New York City and has taught at Touro College and Hofstra University. He has published nine collections; the most recent are Dead Ringer (BlazeVox Books, 2016) and Finely Tuned Static (with paintings by John McCluskey; Lunar Chandelier, 2017). Among his other collections are Disappearing Acts (Chax Press, 2014), Savoir-Fear (Spuyten Duyvil, 2003), and Alpha Ruins (Bucknell University Press, 2000), which was selected by Fanny Howe as runner-up for the William Carlos Williams Book Award. He translated New Exercises from the French by Franck André Jamme (Wave Books, 2008). Two of his essays on innovative American poetry were recently published in separate anthologies, Telling It Slant and We Who Love to Be Astonished (University of Alabama Press).

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