On Being an Artist

Noelle Kocot

Saturn seems habitual,
The way it rages in the sky
When we're not looking.
On this note, the trees still sing
To me, and I long for this
Mottled world. Patterns
Of the lamplight on this leather,
The sun, listening.
My brother, my sister,
I was born to tell you certain
Things, even if no one
Really listens. Give it back
To me, as the bird takes up
The whole sky, ruined with
Nightfall. If I can remember
The words in the storm,
I will be well enough to sit
Here with you a little while.

More by Noelle Kocot

While Writing

Someone inside says, "Get busy."
But I've got appointments to keep,
I have an abstemious love of equations calculated quickly
While the tepid day melts into design.

And the high cheekbones of the beautiful life
Bear the loose look of a calendar by lamplight.
I search for patterns in everything.
I am tied in knots of comprehension.

I think, how useful it might be
To pierce all the hands of the earth
With an oath of pins encircling snarling planets
But talent and shallowness sewn together

Is nothing but a kerchief tied around a survivalist's head,
And it helps to know the feet wriggling through a hole
In the universe will land for an instant
Upon the cushions of the dark,

And that after marching one doozy of a kilometer after another, 
We each come upon the same poem scribbled in invisible ink 
Taped to the door of a room
In which an austere justice is burning for us.

I am Like a Desert Owl, an Owl Among the Ruins

The alpha You. The omega You.
My grandmother’s ghost, its girlish snafu
Basking in the waters of urgency.

But I want the coolness of snow.
I want pairs of hands that speak to me cleanly,
Sutras to resuscitate what reigns

Over warped celluloid and heirlooms I can’t touch.
There are no family photographs.
Once I was ordinary.

I rattled around with arms, with legs,
With a damp remembering that served me well.
Then, a little sleep, a little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to rest.
I asked myself, don’t you just love it?
And then, why don’t you just love it?

And then, from what grace have I fallen?
Am I Sisyphus with his mute rock
Unsettling the topsoil, dissolved now

Into brandied battle shouts and pages that breathe like people?
There are hazards here, more so than before
The Furies struck and scarved the white night sifting

The bright waterlights blinking
And grieving over a mash of ice.
Like them, I wanted only to die, moon-dark, blessed,

Poised beneath the driest arrows of my suffering,
Far from the flocks of burning, singing gulls,
Face to face with the God of my childhood.

The Peace That So Lovingly Descends

"You" have transformed into "my loss."
The nettles in your vanished hair
Restore the absolute truth
Of warring animals without a haven.
I know, I'm as pathetic as a railroad
Without tracks.  In June, I eat
The lonesome berries from the branches.
What can I say, except the forecast
Never changes.  I sleep without you,
And the letters that you sent
Are now faded into failed lessons
Of an animal that's found a home.  This.