The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Thylias Moss

Beautiful Drowning

 

The pond behind my house
reflects "Tuttle Hill" road

that otherwise is beside it.

Of course: the surface is a mirror, such dark variety:
blackest black that ever was

Unknown depth.

clearly only depth is involved
                                       (in the murkiness --as if someone has struck it rich:
                                           harvest

                                         blackest oily berries)



Time to place value on this dark surface
                                                           door
to unfathomable depth



Every indicator says
there is occasion for poetry
everywhere we breathe.

establishment of place value:
as poetry comes to the table, presence recognized: Uncle Joe also, his wife,

daughter, especially his mistresses, every one of them playing a [Hiv-free] card of

poetry, trumping everything


in the displaced place settings series (everything an alias of poetry)

There is occasion for poetry
everywhere we breathe.

The world is prepared for poetry
to be made from it, because of it, through it.

There is occasion for poetry
everywhere we breathe.


Everything is ready for poetry
to be made from it, because of it, through it

over and over again

conspiracies of displacement, systems of renewal:
the world is prepared for the beautiful drowning of poetry:
total immersion. total metamorphoses:

stanza break     power failure    stanzas rupture
lines broken  put on brakes for breaking stanzas
as poetry comes to the table:


every indicator says:
the shadow is prepared.

with no more than
the weight of dust
urgency displaces
             possibility:

the shadow sprouts leaves


                                                                                                                  el silencio

                                                                                                                     espacio
                                                                                                           para el silencio


the world is prepared.
Everything is ready for poetry to be made
from it
because if it
through it

                                                                                                        las sombras caen
                                                                                       cuando la poesia golpea la luz
                                                                                        las frutas negras de la poesia

                                                                                                                    espacio

                                                                   las sombras estan preparados para la poesia

meaning comes and goes
meaning swallows meaning swallows meaning
and gives back evidence

                                          a choking
                                          a drowning

                                   in progress to process to progress

                                                                                             el mundo eata preparado
                                                                                                                    espacio
                                                                                                                     el aire
                                                                                                                   el aqua
                                                                                                    la danza de poesia


poetry is shadows of ideas,
black nets that are whole completely
beautiful empty eyes

whose depth converges

                            as they drown
                            again and again and again
                           pools of black                                                                 medicina

                     like insectos derretidos
                    melted rhinoceros beetles
melted pools of insects
black eyes of the sea
where depths empty what
                                                                                                      ojos negros de mar
                                                                                     donde las profundidades vacian
                                                                                                  lo que puede ser visto


black eyes of the sea
where the depths empty what can be seen
onto the surface                                                                      sobre la superficie

                                                                                                               ojos negros:
                                                                                          la luz contra objetos solidos


                            ojos negros:             light-smacked black eyes
                                                                                         la luz contra objetos solidos
                                                            light-smacked black eyes


                                                         espacio
                                                          mercy:

                                                           merci


                                                       light-smacked black eyes

page turning
via

a   t e r n i n g  page

                                                                                                                      merci

                                                                                                                     mercy
                                                                                                                      merci

a place for, a place at
a times table

                                        pieces of pi in the sky:
                                       4 & 20, 4 & 20, 4 & 20

                                      everything is ready
                                                for a beautiful drowning:
                     --someday I will count particles of grief and redemption
      in this great migration           into the drowning pool

      skeleton for drowning meanings that have not crossed anything

                                                                                                            uncrossable


                                                 light-smack black crossed-eyes


This is the border between seasons                        --la frontera entre las estaciones

                                                                            --c'est la cadre entre las saisons

                         end of the Holy month of Ramadan
                       after a month of fasting, after
                                   a month of not giving into cravings many of which
                     are not natural yet the rest of the world indulges
                                                           much too quickly               just to drown

                                                                                 beautifully
                                                                                                         en los espacios

the bridging of space.

an indulgence.

                                                                                                seasons of meaning
                                                                                                            discrepancy
                                                                                                               los cambios

                the bridging of space, Ambassador bridging of space between countries,

                                                                                                      between nations,
                                                                                                       between colors
                                                                                                                drowning
     in the bridging of space to drown in, festooned in a coat of many colors, every

         color drowning into each other, becoming black and white and black again,

                                                       never cracking


borders between nations is space                                                espacio:
                                                                                                 everything is ready
                                                                                          light smacks black eyes


                                           after a month of fasting

                                            in which I say nothing
                                               in the language of
                                       my father's Cherokee   my
                                          father's light-smacked black eyes

      bridging space between us, light smacking eyes black with his death, an

                        unnatural             space in which to do anything
                                                    but drown
                                            is not possible: too black

  --where sunset pools
 where it's stuck:
color of my face                     with its light-smacked black eyes, insectos derritidos
                                    drowning in the beauty of that:

                                                hay fusión from
                                               merger, collision

without knowing how to say it in Cherokee,

I fall securely into everything I become: insectos derritidos gushing, light-smacks

black eyes, every smack of ray, count them:     insectos derritidos, derritidos:

                                     I jump from bridge to bridge:

                                                                                                     passerelle al puente

                                                                                                                ojos negros:
                                                                la luz contra objetos mas solidos como sombras

                                                                                              de Graciela Iturbide
                                                                                                                    gracias:

                                              a leap into centerlessness
                                          at the same time a rising in it:

                                                 fear and uncertainty:

                                                 necessary scaffolding

                                                    complex system
                                            of    les passerelles necessaires

                                                   complex especio
                                               of los puentes necessarios

                                                                                                               el espacio
                                                                                                                 prachtig:
                                                                                                            meravilioso:
                                                                                                               marvelous
                                            bridge to bridge: kissing
                                                         blindly

                                               beautiful drowning
                                             necessaire, necessaire
                                                                                                meditation on dada



meditation                                 on dada                           sheen / shekina /
                                                                                        sheena: devoured
all this all                                   on dada                          wives: eating
too common
wealth                                                                             disorder
                                                 on dada                          light-smacked disorder
a mean Amin                             on dada

                                                                       melted rhinoceros,     their
                                                     dada            weight of light-smacked bloody
                                                                           (rhinoceros) anchors

decapitated heads                     dada decimals             tables
of smiles   cut into                                             the curve of the cut: perimeter
                                                                                                            of the pond

like  a mouth
getting ready to say                  dada

getting ready                      on dada's                         be-half (life) and be-heading
    getting ready                 for poetry                                     espacio;

P:  a poem is coming into view.   Everything is ready.    Meaning comes and goes

-means                             nothing, nothing             but rhinoceros beetles
                                       melting into ojos negros: I look out of melting

rhinoceros ojos, melting eyes, fall of the house of wax, total devastation, a

beautiful drowning also burning, fire this time, into passerelle al puente   into

melting rhinoceros eyes ready for


  melting: I am hungry for an equally voracious cloud bank we are measuring

with melting rhinoceros ojos negros...P: the poem is among other poems, with

its kind kind.

We are measuring our distance from the poem by measuring the poem

The poem seems closer
than it really is

The poem seems further
than it really is.

The poem is nowhere     except in melting ojos negros, taking on the rich color

of the beautiful drownings in the pond behind my house, right in front of my

melting rhinoceros eyes: that say dada whenever they look at anything   (our

father who art in the pond, derritido be thy name)

without seeing themselves bridging the seen and unseen: P the constant, P the

poem, the beautiful poem with with a pouch in the curved pond of the capital

P --spine aligned with Tuttle Hill

every indicator says that poetry is inevitable: Constant. Constant. Constant
constant drownings ever more beautiful: that constancy, constancy, constancy,
beautiful constancy --layers of gasses relieve

layer of gasses relieve, relate, beautiful drowings in gas,  chokings,

asphyxiations, cars left running, expunging more brown faces, more brown

places, skin tone markings spots, targeted practices  all drown also: Poem of

responsibilities: every alternative to mirrors mirroring: seeing double the

pleasures and heartaches is weaponry; will not go down without fighting, will

not drown without fighting, and that is the actual beauty:

fighting

 

 

Thylias Moss

Beautiful Drowning (an other side, from depths of the pond:
Take What You Can Suite)

 

 

 I hear that the muffed (box-style on ears)
                        cuffed (shirt into
                                    pen-striped pants

lynched pen hands: legs not   shackled with iron
                   deficiency)
                   chain-linked wrists,
                   hands: legs not shackled with iron
                   deficiency)

                                    palmed adhere
                               what is
                            salve helps what is palmed adhere

the substitute way

                        suite

pure lullaby

                    so suite

parts of it are so suite


                                                                                        in redirected dependency
                                                                              from substance to formula care
                                                                                                                it diapers



                                    dictators)
                                                                                                                (includes

                                   dictators)

                                                                                                    dictates (includes
                                till                                            ne who   dictates (includes
                                                                              o                        nding here
tell on the past, someone             dictators)
bought some of you, vowels,                                                                       this
--parts of it are so suite
pure     lullaby

               someone     dictators)

bought some of you, vowels,
steamboat's wheel of Ole  Miss Fortune

                         bayou
where long ago, folks still                                 from one who dictates (includes
tell on the past, someone                                  dictators)           of landing here
bought some of you, vowels,                                                               from this
steamboat's wheel of Ole Miss Fortune


lulled by the bayou
where long ago, folks still                                from one who dictates (includes
tell on the past, someone                                 dictators)    --law of landing here
bought some of you, vowels,                                                    ou can from this
steamboat's wheel of Ole Miss Fortune



                                        In Hale House, Clare McBride
                                        Hale redirected dependency
                                        from substance to formula core
                                        of diapers






lulled by the bayou
where long ago, folks still                                 from one who dictates (includes
tell on the past, someone                                 dictators)    --law of landing here
bought some of you, vowels,                                    take what you can from this
steamboat's wheel of Ole Miss Fortune


I hear that the muffed (box-style on ears)
                        cuffed (shirt into
                                    pen-striped pants

lynched pen hands: legs not   shackled with iron
                    deficiency)
                    chain-linked wrists,
                    hands: legs not shackled with iron
                    deficiency)

                                    palmed adhere
                               what is
                                  salve helps what is
                                  palmed adhere
heaven scent sucked up
the substitute way

                          suite

pure lullaby

                      so suite

parts of it are so suite
pure lullaby


                                                                                       in redirected dependency
                                                                             from substance to formula care
                                                                                                               it diapers



                                  dictators)
                                                                                                                (includes

                                 dictators)

                                                                                                   dictates (includes
                                till                                            one who   dictates (includes
                                                                                                     nding here
tell on the past, someone           dictators)
bought some of you, vowels,                                                                       this
--parts of it are so suite
pure     lullaby

               someone     dictators)

bought some of you, vowels,
steamboat's wheel of Ole  Miss Fortune

                          bayou
where long ago, folks still                                from one who dictates (includes
tell on the past, someone                                  dictators) --law of landing here
bought some of you, vowels,                                  take what you can from this
steamboat's wheel of Ole Miss Fortune


lulled by the bayou
where long ago, folks still                                from one who dictates (includes
tell on the past, someone                                 dictators)    --law of landing here
bought some of you, vowels,                                     take what you can from this
steamboat's wheel of Ole Miss Fortune                     Poetry. Poetry.

                                              Everything is ready.

                                    This is the sound of redemption
                                        this is the inevitable sound
                                                of this occasion

                                    this is the sound of whatever I say
                --sound of this poem, this shadow                                              [drowning]


                                this shadow of what atmospheres allow:

                      out skirt, speckle inn, master gnat, see-saw, corrugated spoon
                   dirigible sweet back, rib, bloom-hearted broom, mach-lily, patched
                        glow, ridgework, habbled door, worry-free decay, prug-room
                          note megger, heale, mezzy: sing along, making headway
                    on soprano highway Mag got the best of last batch of beaded ilk


                                        of what atmospheres allow
                                of what drowning atmospheres allow


                                            mezzy, dirigible sweetback


Every indicator says that Poetry is inevitable,
since anything first came into being there's been impetus
for Poetry.  There's been a begging for interpretation, notice, gesture,
meaning, myth [of drowning].


Our being here gives Poetry occasion for which our senses drown

conspire as they drown in ponds of us, each mezzy factor to see patterns:

the butcher cutting through bone --beef butcher and medical

butcher see beautiful spaces [excavated when waters of drowning recede, puddles

open to worlds on their otherside, back of the eyes turned inward, finding ourselves as if

additional eye sockets prevail, the openness of the sponge, the model

sponge of bone cross-section      yet Poetry that is made of alphabet,

as muzzy as that can be, is not where it should be.

             The world is prepared to drown in ponds of Poetry
                           the world is prepared to drown.
                          the world is prepared for poetry:


     the air causes poetry, the light, the clouds, the habbled doors and

    windows, islands of corn, asphalt, walls, the many incarnations of

 mezzied water, and hanging from these tree limbs, lining nests, every

 tweeted bird song on  clotheslines flapping, lost wings on beaten and

welted backs on containers of detergent, and missing milk cartons on

                  milk cartons and jugs on every table even

                   that inevitably beautiful Tuttle drowning
            going down, down, down, beautifully down, impeccably down

 

 

 

THYLIAS MOSS, author of 13 books, most recently, New Kiss Horizon, a just published romance novel; "Aneurysm of the Firmament", a collection of collaborations by Thylias Moss, and Thomas Robert Higginson, "Wannabe Hoochie Mama, Gallery of Realities' Red Dress Code", a new and selected poetry, MacArthur fellowship winner, Guggenheim grant winner, NEA Fellowship winner, Whiting Writer's Award winner, Thylias Moss is Professor Emerita at the University of Michigan in English and Art & Design.  She makes stuff.

 

 

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