Fourth & Found
somewhere where in the universe between an adverb &
a preposition there I came to some conclusions let me
explain it was spring and I attended a poetry lecture at
the armory in central park that is to say in central park
my self sat in the armory while my mind as it willed
it whorled between the now & then & to-be
a ponderosa climbing toward the canyon’s blue roof and
I heard a poet say out into the garden to stepping out & into
perhaps because we sat inside perhaps perhaps because we sat
in chairs & fashionable feather-light scarves curved round
our necks for gravitas & vestem populi and she
spoke and we listened the windows were closed I stood
at the farthest edge of field looking over looking toward as she spoke
out into the exiting & introduction of space my conclusions were
heel clap on concrete an eruption an interruption takes place
on boulevards door-stops sewer grates I say I know the signs
of space signified by place but what I mean I mean is
hinges on a door to where a cornerstone’s weight unfolds
from the crate it arrived in from the mountain it was quarried in
to sit still and mean seat, center, or home but where was the bedrock
heaved? who dug the hole? and how I’ve stood up now there’s
hollow silence where my voice had been the poet says well, ah
but what did I mean I meant a door to a wilderness opens
and a city steps out steps out into the fields the groves the marshes
are drained where we sit in our chairs and murmur a plank in Reason
broke I see the barn’s grey & rotted wood topple o’er and write it
we the wrong angels dress the emperor we from an O
make the covenant but what I mean will be my covenant
out of the atmosphere of the smog the helix of the skyline
& partially the sunlight & partially my brain at its periphery
the sky at Classon Ave. as I crossed the line of midtown Manhattan
took the clouds to form the purple-blue mountain pinnacles
the Mission mountains across the continent formed from the corner
because a certain slanting light in the middle of Classon because
I wandered lonely drop-kicked & strained out and I
from my eye turned to it the trick & slant & vision burst
but the peaks remain through the clouds across the country
and the traffic skids past blares avoid or what happens next
you lunatic blind & visited in this noise by ghosts
turnkeys who lift the window let the light trick in & close the blinds
in every room hall elevator avenue staircase sewer the doors
open & close the brick & stone processions the tug the fume the steam
I stand at the farthest edge of field and watch the doors open & close
& open to a greater stillness still surrounded & pecked at by sounds
of sucking mud chatter of crow the lilting whir of chickadee in flight
toward a mournful higher Silence when sky is clear & free who hasn’t
lost their self to that sky’s undying consummation? my purpose is
to feel a field’s expanse & be enlightened by its reel of blue
morning fog rolling from marsh to roadside ditch before the sun
before the first rise & shine up & at’em before the first bell told
the counting hour and household gods stopped visiting the gourds
& banquet platters that is when the city’s angular storm broke
& rose the concrete through the earth I’ll stay where the roots
can worm & cling and this is mine this mossy rock & spring
without signpost signature or preposition I am an endless rest
THAT WHICH YOU SEEK IS CAUSING YOU TO SEEK
“What do Portlanders have to be so moody about?” ~ Jessica Gaisford
If crows roost their grudge to the green of tree
if grey fills the rain barrel, watercolors the school anoints new students with,
if mid-April is a blue to believe the whole of red Texas is fixed for Oregon,
if obsidian, weighing one sun less than quartz, is thrown at the olive arms of sea,
if the hours counted for the tones between cerulean & midnight, beautiful, dark, advertising the billboard of sky,
and some days were all what sky had to say, or was trembling to say, or had just finished saying—
then desire is a myriad of whirling spores and no one knows where one may land, or how urgently it may grow.
BODY OF DARE WRIGHT AS TOTEM
Born to gingham at the shutter-clap,
to the shuttered sound of camera’s click,
a doll feeds the pigeons. Hopes for friends.
Opens louvered doors into secret rooms,
the vanity that is someone’s vanity,
someone’s lipstick, peeptoes, pill-box hats—
but whose? Whose hand spills a vase of roses
over the jewelry box but blames the bear?
What is self before it finds the louvered doors,
innocent of the mirrors it was framed upon, within?
Not a hand but a mind behind projection,
not a body but a chasm for the eye’s descent.
We would know why the same body seems greater.
Between the shutters. An image open to the eye.
She’s alone in a dark room surrounded by portraitures.
Alone in her portraits, the surface is such a terrible place
to play. Pairs of eyes that are Dare’s eyes
look back into the darkness, a mirror held
to a mirror, an eye to an I, I saw Dare Wright
in her darkness, I too am a center of nerves—
And—if we would know why the same body seems
the gingham’s misprision, if we would know
a house is the same body is, the mind seems,
if we would conceal, knowing why
the same body seems the same, and if we
would want to know why the lonely doll wears
the same body, seems the greater, is
the artifice, the projection, if we could know why—
( And a monarch of stills & portraitures.
And a Venus miscarried on the shore.
Her eyes closed by sea-wrack. By muslin layers.
And a singularity, and a coda toward the temple nave.
The mind that moved her skin to shore, the same mind
beholden to the eye. But she is not her body.
She is her father’s drinking habit, her mother’s drowned desire
a thousand times projected. Into the prison. )
Into the frame. The body a chasm the eye descends.
Wanting to adhere the lonely doll the lonely Dare
to her rooms her portraits the shutters closing out the sky,
wanting to sublimate her to my eye.
I too have rooms stirring in a house that is not a house
but a center of nerves : at the apex : I lie.
Like a picture I took unaware, my mouth open
& round. It is I and the absence of. The touchstone.
Cairn pointing either to the ledge or the clover field,
while sitting deep inside my chair. While rain, while storm.
J. Kirk Maynard
J. Kirk Maynard is a bookseller in Portland, Oregon. His poems have been published in Green Mountains Review, Dialogist, 580-Split, and White Whale Review, among others. @JKirkMaynard | www.jamesmaynardpoetry.com