Chard deNiord (Vermont, USA): Three Poems

CLUB EREBUS

Death is the mother of beauty.
Wallace Stevens

They emerged from a door that wasn’t a door
and floated across the room to the stage
which they ascended and began to sway
and bend and turn with only their g strings on.
I sat at the bar drinking gin and smoking
a cigar, watching them work beneath
the lights, accept the funds of happy men
who took great care in folding their bills
like miniature towels inside the belts
around their thighs that went k’ching,
k’ching, until a ring of bills adorned
their thighs and the music stopped
for a moment, long enough for them
to disappear into the dark of the high
stone door at the end of the stage
where they waved good bye, good bye
and then were gone beneath the world
like the ghosts they were, to rest for a while,
the longest time, before returning live
to die again as they had before.

NOR EVER WOULD BE, SADLY, WOULD BE

Memory is almost enough if you’re in solitary
or intensive care in which case the past merges
with the present in such a way that time passes
imperceptibly as thought itself causing you to lose
yourself in various versions of what only partly happened
so that you’re here and not here at the same time,
both real and virtual, adding recall to supposition
and vice versa in the mercy of waiting somewhere,
as if the Higher Power were cognizant from the start
that pre-humans were destined to become human
that moment they became aware that they were remembering,
remembering, and it wasn’t enough, and as an addendum
to this thought, that nothing was enough, nor ever would be,
would be. A wind blows across the earth like a page:
More, More, Whatever It Is. See how it passes away-
girders and all-in the flames you can only see on the screen
of your lids, not so towering but persistent, licking.
The single stroke that Lily made comes close,
her simple, untalented mark that was enough for then,
and now, which is all anyone can hope for at the end
of a war, which is always, at least so far. So far.

MEMOIR

I willed the knife to hit the mark and it did
sometimes at the point, and stuck. Practice led
to skill until my eyes were covered with a handker-
chief and my beloved straddled a wheel
for all to see as I threw at her but hit
the space between her legs, beside her head,
beneath her arms. This was it, all
or nothing: my life and hers in a perfect art
where every night she was reprieved for having
lived, and I was kissed as she was freed
as part of the act that traveled the country and built
my fame as the man who misses with perfect aim.

© Chard deNiord 2007

Kristy Odelius (Chicago, USA): Three Poems

THE VIRGINS OF CHICAGO

The gold lunette just beyond the glass,
the cord, the snag, my lariat mind.
With magazines, we let fly like
magdalenes sweeping the stairs. Cassocks
frame damp faces behind the weather.

Slowly through a permissive sky,
an incident, a scar—stars disarticulate
from mud-spattered sails. The billowing
rings in a cell phone ditty, outfitted,
cheeked, sleeping their clarity. Mediums
slung across beds—daughters, madams,
divas feeling it—the Sapphic elastic.

Precursor to this disarming blue
dawn, red in the bent light of fever-
flower gossip. They wake up walking,
the virgins of Chicago, the rhetoric
in their step says fuck the folio.


THE VIRGINS OF CHICAGO

Where businessmen like to stand
in their underwear, late-night
kites cascade between the heads
of tourists. Each alone and gentle,
uniquely sad, oh that disappointing
brunch on the esplanade.

Instead, I window the Hyatt.
In my drawing a woman
stands kabuki-neat, holding
a cell phone, poised in red
on a man-hole cover.


The virgins chant:

“Manhole covers of the world
Pink anemones and a pagoda
Endlessly above the sewer.”



Attention urban planners!

The virgins sit where
no one else sits.




EQUIVALENTS

*

We knew, and it
always feels good
to know something.

We could die—a silver
laugh, a photograph, or
at the end of your knee.

*

They said there’s
a resemblance, clouds
in the ice, a force
in our boots.

On the porch love
is implicitly forged.
Today, to mimic its
drift is to see.

*

It was moving the whole time,
as if to hold you from the light.

I held your head
in the snow as if
to tell you a form.

*

Five fingers, how do they
glow? Sick like honey
in the scientific field—
your hand, and what it knows.

© Kristy Odelius 2007