The Poetry Project

Two Poems

Miriam Atkin

The Concept Hurts

This is a rock.
The concept hurts.

Bite that thought
into a blood formula.

Thus begins a
sluice race down.

Train the items
to wonder where
they slip to.

A felt well of ocean
rimmed in brush.

Find the bottom of the body.
It is waiting on a pang of wood.

Think hard.
Rest on rocks.
Let your flesh hang.

n o w y o u a r e a
c o m m o n a n i m a l
y o u a r e a c o m m o n a n i m a l
a c o m m o n a n i m a l l o o k i n g o n
a c o m m o n a n i m a l l o o k i n g o n a n d o n

a common animal looking on and on and on your muddy foot you see a clean mark. A hairline crack where the last line broke. Suspended from the balmy tree cover, the letters loosen, falling down around your claws into the wet rot of forest. The common animal with a fractured foot nestled in leaves looking on as the book breaks down. In the musky wood, watch the face of your beloved book as it relinquishes volition. Watch the taught binding soften as you let your eyes settle. The book breaks the show once it sees the common animal is looking. On the warm forest floor words want to be watched. You shiver in your fur as the letter settles with you. See its fine-displayed angles sink into your look. See tact falter as it lights upon your ear. And the Spanish moss the drinking pool the lily pads the beetle husks the oak stump the fern patch the bed of shale the sparrow bones are starting to break down.

We should remember our love-making in the woods before it’s frosted over
So let me begin to collect the dim traces of this presentation:
As it stands what I see is only a mountain of blurred acorns
tumbling onto a row of obfuscated chairs

The ripped surface of the forest hides the trees that sheltered us
Scattered with the murky remains of a well-attended exhibition
Faded to an obscure site of wreckage littered with illegible books

Shreds of paper piled on three-legged tables with splintered side supports
Warped wooden surfaces tip downward as bric-a-brac slides to the floor
Sonic devices with digital components lie disemboweled
Valves and sockets wrenched from their settings

Cables peeled and stripped
Dampers, hammers, bridgepins, keypins,
knobs, jacks and pickups

Pickup a part and chuck it

No Dying Over in Glory Land

(there begins the slow rise of an alien hum, too uniform and resoundingly panoramic to originate in anything of this world. i go to the window and look out. it is night but the darkness has changed to a blinding yellow, rimming the jagged architecture with a pulsing halo as thick as paint, like the light of a cartoon sun. the whole landscape is flattened by this brightness. the post boxes, parking meters and hydrants have lost their shadow, all studio-lit and droning. i watch a brick apartment building across the way at the intersection of two roads. it is where my family lives; mother, father, sister, brother, friend and neighbor each at their own window. the façade is blanched and flickering yellow. then the building atomizes. the bricks loosen from each other and disperse into a cloud spreading over the golden sky. the windows turn black and float out like unmoored boats swarming the sea / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

i sed mor

lttl finger
lttl fingerthingies
put em back
backin a bag

u small cougher
small baby i re-member
drueling on the lilac dirt

u herd a firsky deer
i lookit
i uh i uh
in a pallet on the flower
bird. bird
two feet in the ground
mombird too
lookn good

mom i wanna lips you agin
kisses idunno
what my
is it yr head with petals in it
squooshed in bed
in bits

here hold em for me
in yr thing
lets hold things

Issue 11