Greek phrenitikós, frantic

Silence isn’t stillness, agitation has me in its grip

remember reading       Greeks were like us

restless            underneath and again underneath

water wearing away               crevices          the itch

of canyons             skin I didn’t outgrow as

the doctor promised     burns hot and stinging

allergic to what I bring to it            allergic to

what I’m thinking     how much older 

the underpass is     filled to overflowing

blue-tented absence                corners with the leftover

plastic and cardboard     happens so fast        it isn’t

even my heart that’s              broken, 

time stealing               & leaking the blue cold

what it would have been to be        Greek

no cortisone     a body       historians

also thought women leaky        restless        for  what

out of one’s own        skin      a future they never

knew  who’d have thought        a daily  underpass 

so many leftovers     pizza  fries           near the  parking

what skin did we come wrapped in

More by Martha Ronk

Why knowing is (& Matisse's Woman with a Hat)

Why knowing is a quality out of fashion and no one can decide to
but slips into it or ends up with a painting one has never
seen that quality of light before even before having seen it
in between pages of another book and not remembering who knows
or recognizing the questionable quality of light on her face
as she sits for a portrait and isn't allowed to move an inch
you recognize the red silk flower on her hat
and can almost place where you have seen that gray descending
through the light reversing foreground and background
as the directions escape one as the way you have to
live with anyone as she gets up finally from her chair
having written the whole of it in her head as the question
ignored for the hundredth time as a quality of knowing is
oddly resuscitated from a decade prior to this.

A blurry photograph

The tree azalea overwhelms the evening with its scent,
defining everything and the endless fields.

Walking away, suddenly, it slices off and is gone.

The visible object blurs open in front of you,
the outline of a branch folds back into itself, then clarifies—just as you turn away—

and the glass hardens into glass

as you go about taking care of things abstractedly
one thing shelved after another, as if they were already in the past,

needing nothing from you until, smashing itself on the tile floor,
the present cracks open the aftermath of itself.

Location LA

Never arriving in a city missing in locational drift
plates shifting under building facades and whipped décor,
seas rising and falling at the edge of amusements
and surf. The migrations migrating elsewhere,
monarchs lost on their way south, children coming north
in droves on their way to anywhere else.
The city of lost souls blowing in the Santa Ana winds
and people who are not us no matter who we are.
Where is she now, he asks, what ever happened to the girl
named for a saint, the one with the ankle tattoo
the one who dropped out, lost out, & only just arrived.

Related Poems

Thunderstorm Stack

A bird flashed by as if mistaken then it
starts.  We do not think speed of life. 
We do not think why hate Jezebel?  We
think who’s that throwing trees against
the house?  Jezebel was a  Phoenician.
Phoenician thunderstorms are dry and
frightening, they arrive one inside the
other as torqued ellipses.