Westwind

Seth Newmeyer: Two Poems

 

Gray with Height

The poem is the surface of the page whose words

are branded into it or pop out at blind fingertips

for a depth more soft and thought than felt.

 

 

 

The poem is its letters who are black

sheep that announce from the herds of silence

that they are there, bleating ink that runs

so much thicker than water, dries, then dyes.

 

 

The poem is those constellations and their myths

of its islands in the night—except, instead, black

on white—with invisible lines drawn

to connect some random dots to meaning.

 

 

 

The poem is the poet’s inky footprints trudging on, tracked

from above that flat oblivion of snow that piles up

with each turned and fallen leaf pressed over histories,

caught and ossified like bones, then fossilized and frozen

to stay one step ahead of us by us as birds fly, gray with height.

 

 

 

The poem is the shaman inside we consult, reading

meaning in the illegible gibberish we cannot see

in un-drunk dregs of tea leaves, and randomly cast-

off chicken bones, who says that the connection

we seek is in the Fall, and she will be our bridge

through windows to that other, under world, that idyll.

 

 

 

The poem is our lack of omniscience looking down

on a clockwork and self-contained universe we selected

or were left with and are now stuck with, realizing

the snowballing child on his slippery slope is God

of us who watch through the windows of his home,

preparing cocoa or punishments, or maybe the small-talk of an idol.

 

 

 

The poem is the child as a shepherd of snowmen, translating stories

shivered and breathy to them from the stars above that blind-gray

daylight, caught by our foggy cameras before the falling obscures

or the flash grabs or the wetness warps or the developed reaches

or the memory catches or the colors or meaning come to us trapped

who look out at what we remember in ourselves in rusty, dusted pasts

outside, inside, fading out, the young god powerless and light

but growing, oblivious, playing, pink in snow

 

 

 

and idle.

 

 

 

Oasis

We looked for it in piles of hidden pyramids in the valleys, dove

And somehow burrowed into deserts, which at night, in sleep,

Were mines: closed, diamonds almost twinkling above,

But not, and anyway out of reach. We looked too deep.

 

There are relics of ourselves washed up: I cradled my bones

For uncountable days; I found them by their whiteness, lines

Bright in the mines of night, and knew they were mine. I moaned.

They called to me, I culled them back, with those knights of mine, like signs.

 

What is there to do when time loops nauseatingly, but wait

With gritty teeth, and lucky relics, as our bodies converge

With their held? I can feel the echoing attraction that is weight

Grow as mines of sand, light and dark, time in time, lurch.

 

I’ll order my relics, my knights, to dig in sand, to mine in caves

For nothing but depth—for with depth, it changes: not found,

But surrounding; not treasure, but map. Rock is risen, saved

When turned to sand, then back; relics of clocks are wound.

 

Mountains ring us in the desert in the day. A valley was here

Before our search changed it, and it changed me and mine

To relics of ourselves, we found. Perhaps the mines are around, near,

Under, inside these peaks; we dig in, out, rhythmically with time.

 

 

Seth Newmeyer

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