Blue Palestine

Only one grass whistles out the tooth of my horse
And the moon drops fast behind the fences
And the wheat lolls back
And waits for death

I could see the sea from where I was
My mesh hat shone blue

The jagged cheek of Gibraltar
Solid, sucked in the mouth and never melting
Where my dog’s warm underleg soothes the whetstone
I speak of it thusly
I say it thusly
I lisp its name into the curl of wall stained dark in the impression of my mouth

Only one grass whistles out the tooth of my horse
And the moon bends back
And the wheat lolls back
And opens its stomach
And waits for death

I soak it in my black water
It seethes in bags I have hung up among the rafters
It seethes in bags of amber and jasper transfusions
Flower liquids in cellophane pouches
Streaked with goo clots of plastic soldier sun

When the pitcher is poured out the length of my tongue
And ten vats of grease ignite in unison

Only one grass whistles out the tooth of my horse
A too-tight phylactory
The moon bending back
The wheat lolling back
Scrollboxes clattering on the stone
Jugs of gasoline and jugs of sand

I threw my coat on the sea
The velvet sea
My coat spread
My coat spread
It was the blue of the top of the column of milk
Its soaked embroidery
It was the ditty two winds whined into the anus of night
Skating along the floor of the brook
Are leaves and ice. Devolving on the brook floor
It is only one little one. One blue shard of pale Palestine.
The wineskins are pricked
Goats’ udders banged sore
Where mica lodges in the mucus house

Where my velvet is sucked down
Where the cheek blows thick with sleep to be brushed by the sea
Blue Palestine
Wrung swan neck in oil
Tasseling dirty day with rocks that fly and fly and fall and fall and fall.

The moon bends back
And the wheat lolls back

A cracker whitens on the tongue of the hanged man
My velvet is sucked down the sea
The sea wall is chipped blue
The clock of Palestine
Gulls’ salt beaks
Iron drums soldered shut and stuffed with salt cod
An anvil of rammed earth in the form of a baby belly button
Hair raised on the hat of the imperatrix
Embossed forever in her brass annal

No grass screams against the foot of my horse
No rock whinnies down the side of the sea
No scroll staves off the reeds quivering in my rib wall
And no algaes quiver
And no frogs belch out the tablet over the song of my purchase of night
Blue Palestine
Red sucker bloody on the bib of the world
Blue Palestine
Ice tray soaked in solid sun
14 February 2012

More by Ariana Reines

A Yellow Leaf

It’s shivering
Like a little lady rattling her bell
Calling for tea
Quivering in the old style

There’s a red light in Boston
At the close of day
Like the red light of idiocy
All along the bricks
Of Harvard Yard & a blue
Sky so hard & irradiated
In the way of old cinema
Whose screens
Reflect the pops & black
Rot spattered
As though it were something
Perhaps nice
As if to say please
No extra charge
Please
Visualize now the idea of your blind spot
I will even do it for you
As the physical reel unspools
& unspools & you blink
In a dark
Room narrow with shadows
Narrow shadows like avant-gardes

It was a dream that woke up
The Fall

It really is something
A sick feeling
Like stopping lying
A dangerous feeling
Like giving up trying to live as though you were otherwise

As though my mouth could water along the split
Waistlines of all the apricot colored squashes
As though the real pumpkins, horns
Of plenty at my hearth
& in my wealth, my death
Were visibly grinning
Thru the rosebud lip of womanhood
Behind which all the women
I really am (they claim)
Hide behind my face & do their flips
Behind my teeth
In the red darkness there
In my potions
In my chemicals
In the mouth I never use
In my poisonous mouth

Beauty

            Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre
           (Baudelaire)

These poisoned sensations have to be
Accepted if they’re to be
Overcome. Looking
Up calories on my phone

Not that I’m counting 
Don’t even like numbers
It’s something vestigial
It comes in bad minutes

To teach my body something's in control
Something little & unholy, wrong idea
Of information, chiseling a transparent minute
Into myself with the afterimage of a form

If I did this kind of thing
On the bigger machine it’d be
Worse. Worse
Things than this are bombing

The world. A terrible
Fate is coming to power tomorrow. I’m reading
The early poems of Sherman Alexie. Desolation
Of secular life. I remember the luxury of speculating

All mystical traditions grew up
In the souls of a disciplined few
Turned in on themselves while under
Occupation by tyrants. That was then. This

Morning I could see one comfort: to become rock
Hard. Could imagine one comfort:
To have become rock. I had no
Imagination. I had his. I had theirs. “Formalism

& grammar are ways to be thin...” masochism
Merely thought of, the idea of a calorie
Most boring way to feel womanly doing itself to me
This morning I was panicking, burning, I was desperate

Scanning the body of my bedfellow
Its beautiful cheeks & chin
& long smooth abdomen
My silence growing fat like an old fruit

Still making me sick
It makes me sick I longed
For the wrong thing
I longed for death. I dreamed of stone

sent by hand

19 January 2017

 

Related Poems

(Soma)tic 5: Storm SOAKED Bread

—for Julian Brolaski

Sit outside under shelter of a doorway, pavilion, or umbrella on a park bench, but somewhere outside where you can easily touch, smell, taste, FEEL the storm. Lean your face into the weather, face pointed UP to the sky, stay there for a bit with eyes closed while water fills the wells of your eyes. Come back into the shelter properly baptized in the beauty of pure elements and be quiet and still for a few minutes. Take some preliminary notes about your surroundings. Try not to engage with others who might run to your shelter for cover. If they insist on talking MOVE somewhere else; you are a poet with a storm to digest, this isn't time for small talk! You are not running from the storm, you are opening to it, you are IN IT! Stick a bare arm or foot into the storm, let your skin take in a meditative measure of wind and rain. If you are someone who RAN from storms in the past take time to examine the joys of the experience. Remind yourself you are a human being who is approximately 80 percent water SO WHAT'S THE HARM OF A FEW DROPS ON THE OUTSIDE!? Right? YES! Pause, hold your breath for a count of 4, then write with a FURY and without thinking, just let it FLOW OUT OF YOU, write, write, WRITE!

Set an empty cup in the storm, hold a slic of bread in the storm. Then put a little salt and pepper on your storm soaked bread, maybe some oregano and garlic. With deliberate SLOOOWNESS chew your storm bread and drink the storm captured in your cup. Slowly. So, slowly, please, with, a, slowness, that, is, foreign, to, you. THINK the whole slow time of chewing and drinking how this water has been in a cycle for MILLIONS OF YEARS, falling to earth, quenching horses, elephants, lizards, dinosaurs, humans. They pissed, they died, their water evaporated and gathered again into clouds to drizzle down AND STORM DOWN into rivers, puddles, aqueducts, and ancient cupped hands. Humans who LOVED, who are long dead, humans who thieved, raped, murdered, were generous, playful, disappointed, fearful, annoyed and adored one another, each of them dying in their own way, their water going back to the sky, coming back down to your bread, your lips, your stomach, to feed your sinew, your brain, your living, beautiful day. Take your notes POET, IT IS YOUR MOMENT to be totally aware, completely aware!



One Day I Will Step from the Beauty Parlor and Enlist in the Frequency of Starlings



                                           my favorite morning 
                                        is not caring if
                                      blood on sheets
                                       is yours or mine

                                        a machine in
                                         your station
                                           rides me
                                 tracks to snacks      
                                 snacks to tracks

                           I feel very fortunate
                           to know magic is real
                           and poetry is real
                     you can see it in the writing
                     a belief in one is missing

                     a mouse eating
                           the dead
                           cat our
                           longed-for
                           malfunction

                                   I was born
                                    in Topeka
                                    otherwise
                                   they would have
                                    never let me in

                     they circle away holding this place
                     opening opening opening OPENING UP
                             I grope the tree down its root

                                              if truth soothes
                                        soothing was
                                              not truth's goal

                                              my goal
                                         is to do what
                                              produces
                                              memory
                                              as gentle
                                              as vicious
                                                 can

                                    one promise: when
                                     I get to the bottom I'll
                                       accelerate deeper
                                              my small pile
                                              of poems
                                              surprising
                                    everyone along the
                                    open wound
                                              "was there a
                                              death" they ask
                                              "a merger" I say

                                       everyone paying attention
                                                      enjoy your visit
                                                        everyone else
                                                              good luck