By | 13 May 2024

—as if its live weight is there
beside my hand
but with a Korean meaning I cannot fathom

(each creature battered, vulnerable, caught,
carries un-read meanings marked across
a manuscript of sinew, scar and muscle)

I read on into your poem as I might look at a river
new to me swirl and go—
its branching nature and sandy stretches
its islands older
than the eternal water birds posing on them
barges too that plow it for centuries
and along its banks: the river’s creatures plugged in

Your poem braced upon its phrases
arches across the continuous river of itself

Two shapes competing in grace
one given to Heraclitus
the other to the atomic permanence of presence

Talk to me about divided rudeness

The river wants an arching earnestness
while the bridge longs for the river’s playfulness

Then you say context—
is where meaning lies

The river’s flow a flow of imagery
and the bridge a place to be

I imagine
I can understand everything you say
as long as I can go without that rudder of logic
and hold my vertigo in check

Poems cannot show what comes before the poem

Carp, surprising carp
—priest, invader, monster, finny angel,
it might not matter
your dark mouth agape
that you’ve been thrown back into the poem
still unknown

Rivers beyond
their fragile springs, bright falls and secret forest pools
reveal a blind and headlong reaching into lowlands
as they pour themselves deep and deeper into seas as deep as time

Carp, I read and wonder
at the mechanism of the river

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