This is one of the poems that was soaked with sewer water from our latest flood, about a week and a half ago. One of hundreds, maybe thousands of potentially thoroughly ruined poems. I carried it upstairs and looked on my computer there (at R’dale) and could not find it on the computer anywhere, which means the spoiled copy may be the only copy in existence. And it it likely also true of the others. The work of retrieving all those poems, one by one, before the paper rots or the ink on the paper (for the ones done in ink) disappears is mind boggling. Never mind the job of cleaning the major smelly mess.
I hope they aren't contaminated with terrible diseases!
Of course, I cannot simply transcribe the poem without fiddling with it, and this new version is vastly different than the poop-soaked one I recovered from the mess.
This is only the first.
Rips in the Sky
One by one, a cardinal picks snake berries from the autumn olive
and with a whistle and a chirr, drops them into my lap. Blood swells
the skin under their leathery grey scales. The berries give me
bittersweet kisses that pucker with sourness. Clanking, enameled words
crowd into my mouth and choke off the spacious connection
of every inhalation. Clogged with these tears, I cannot capture sounds
and string them together like baubles punctured for your entertainment
or even as whispers of love. To contain our faltering breaths,
I try to build a cage of trip wires, but each strand I attach crumbles
into a thread of rust that sifts through my fingers. Love’s talons pierce,
as fiber by fiber, the unraveling twine that ties your life to mine slowly parts.
Six cats yowl, hiss, spit and circle under a cloud of crows.
Faint flames run up the fuses that slide through my fingers
as I struggle to re-weave the dissolving tendrils of attachment.
I count the melodies and cacophonies singing into my bones.
Ignoring the jabs of poisonous thorns, the crowd of crows settles
into the black locusts. An enormous, intangible heat simultaneously
warms and freezes me. The air fills with crying. I picture a vast radiance
exploding from the room where, hundreds of miles away, you lie dying.
for Judy Gravatt
(Exclosures II: Elaeagnus umbellate and Robinia pseudoacacia Tear Rips in the Sky)
20160722-1337-4d-8vt-11, 20160721-2100-4d, a new and extreme variant thread of a November 8, 1999 poem recovered from the July 2106 flood at Rolandale.
It's not just us, it's the entire huge neighborhood. Luckily, no lives were lost, as far as I know. Could have been much worse!
Image a manipulated block print by me. (Daphne and the Raven Apollo--will post original sometime later.)