Self-Portrait as Letter Addressed to Self

J. Michael Martinez

X.X.,


Someday, across glacier, a green horse will ride toward you; despite steam rising from heavy breath, you'll touch its snout.

When you paired a person's gait to signature, what lilt signed your step? What tautology, what tense was this body's hypothesis?

Do you remember your mother's Strawberry Fruit-Salad Recipe? 2 round Angel Cakes (2 pounds or 4 halves), 16 oz of vanilla pudding, 4 bananas, 2 containers of 8 oz strawberries, 1 big container of whipped cream. Layer and eat.

Your hands shaking, you wrote, "Christ is sentiment."

A cup cracked through with sky. A saucer planed into the shapes of numbers. Every written thing stripped bare, the more supple formulation of given law.

I told you distance to a thing is the purchase of its reality. Why are people like that for us? The more we love the more physical space our love inhabits & the world's lightness' & darkness' assume the order of human tongue.

Last night we tore & tossed memories into ponds. Geese swam across, pecked the waters. I splashed at them &, after, my hands shook. You stood beside me in a red dress. I wanted to drown you this pretty.

xoxo,
X.X.

More by J. Michael Martinez

Xicano

as light
               shaped by trajectory.

a wind settles in the body.
Echécatl the breath, the flint & spark.
the house of prayers.

I am

when sounds exchange questions
when light enters the lung
when given

the noun:                a variable absence
a law               pinned to a quail's wing.

White

               as the meat
               within the shell

as the shell before the caw

a bleached weed
               a fig
dusted to sweet the skin

egg albumen of peacock
               butterfly

held to the ivory of oxen hoof
               pulling
               the space

between sins               I am

               as I am so

the host               on the tongue
               God of Bread

complexion of conquest
               the salt of Lot

as God is
               a crown of thorn
               diadem of wheat

so am I the echo
calling fossil back to name

amaranth ash               spread across the light

Meister Eckhart's Sermon on Flowers and the Philosopher's Reply

A hollowed singularity exists in flowers 
like pathos in a dandelion: 
an eddy of fate, degreeless, 

silvering through memory.
A scabbed consonant departing
the sentence: locust petal, bromeliad, 

a surfacing shame, lightless, beyond hearing.
Solitary, the clock circumvents sound
and a horse importunes 

a wasp bowing before significance.


                     ●


It is in fact doubtless a wasp bows before significance
degreeless in a dandelion.

It also stands to reason that, in a clock, locusts circumvent memory 
in order to depart through fate.

And anyone can see that singularity exists lightless
like an eddy of pathos surfacing beyond hearing.

In conclusion, however solitary 
(and you know this as well as I), 

a consonant will always 
depart the sentence before shamed by a horse.

Related Poems

Self-Portrait

Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and sometimes talk
with strangers about matters strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead, who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand
the great philosophers--but usually catch just
scraps of their precious thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris streets
and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver coin
passing from hand to hand as it slowly
loses its round shape (the emperor's profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing nothing
but a green, indifferent perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish widows.
I'm no longer young, but someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,
and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.
Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife's face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow. 
Could I help in this? I don't know.
I'm truly not a child of the ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high world
cross paths with the life that—so far—
belongs to me.