Eliot Cardinaux


DREADSUMMER — New Poems by Eliot Cardinaux

Temple of the Priest Kings


Artwork by Jeffrey Lipsky

“Temple of the Priest Kings”

Acrylic and Graphite on 3 x 3 ft Canvas






Shadows of

sunset under eyelids

hover over cliffs.

I grieve my splinter out.


The wind made a lap

in the heart. In the iris

a reel flaps with bright

white birdsong.






The thrice-flayed,

thrice-frayed leaf,

in the mantle

of the stem


the ground-



that shrieking,





will it speak?








the salt-weed








by the threshold





of dried bees.




Left, wine-red

at the trunk of summer,

an offering of names

grown into poppies


folds into


quivering Southwest.


Those ditched in the blood

now leave the door open.

The fence’s frost

heaves over.


Never among the dead.




Here, you improvise the earth

and the broken tracks smile.


From a borrowed





The threadbare eye

into my unknowing

closes, and factories

sleep in the grass.


This dream is my mosquito,

the dark our blood,

and the lenses of our eyes

float like trees on a river of air.


Black spotlights,

the whips of wakefulness

flutter like a broken drum,

and Sappho talks of monotones.




To the walking reflection

made one by Pygmalion’s prayer

belongs the cunning, empty shard



in a temple of hands that swing like music

from the bars of the brain,

the story of a three-pieced single god.


Toward a sky of clear veins —

vanished prison,

your laughter breached a cloud,

rains upward

into black lands.


To words

in the voice of wounds

you speak now, remove my lips

from a dream

which towers over danger.


And my multifold angers —

the roots of an oak

drenched in peace,

will snarl and light up a prayer.





Above the ruins,

echo of a pale orange flame,

a young girl billows

rosewindowing the edge,

a skeleton that men can climb

to build a steeple out of chaos.


When dawn is another sky

you can see it from broad white day.

I have learned it from the laughter of schoolgirls:

how to kill, and veered

like a kestrel above a warship

into blue from another blue

to camouflage a sky.




As a landscape

rolls off my back

I glimpse an open road.


The hollow and the dirt

make blue music on my brow

and the green uprooted days, discarded,

water a tree in my lungs.


No man escapes

the tracks he’s on until tomorrow

in a blur of high grasses

sinks into thunder

and the shock of his life wears off.




When I lost you I wrote of sleep.

The dark lit a magnitude of rain.

Your breathing broke across the bow.


A dream is a broken sentence,

a poem directing me strangely

toward an abyss.


I walk with my nostrils down

the crowded road and through the hum

I remember that basement desert

of damp nothing.


You are found on the road of the grave of God,

your last line lifting a heavy spade.




Receding from the questions of my figure

I become the other, and then I become the same.


But I always wait with corrosive stars by my side.


I melt with the snow of humidity

and my heart does not beat;


I follow.


I write in a language of dead ruins

with nowhere to go

and the ribs of my myth carry lungs that are spoken for.


I build out of dust a character

who plays your part.


I lay my oasis down

like a carpet of stars

and I am alone.


A fragment: it catches

on the breeze


the distance between

a desert and the road.




With blackness I light up the sun.

A dampening cell in a shower of oil begging

one end of a battery.


I cup in my hands the wound

of that unimaginability


and aching with actions

a distant grey heart

filtered through the factory.




A snake was charmed

on the eve of possession,

a spider whose every thread


is a bridge whose attentions are trophies,

watery torso


of a lover’s last poem

whose head witnessed everything at once.


Their escape is the smoke

from a flame that erases


everything but absence

for your rage to fill:


black water

under the light of migraines,

a bullet

brought weak death two scales.




I stand in the fire between us,

void of a sun that waters

roadways on your cheeks

to flood a desert.


The harvest gave birth to a sky

as black as cradles

and white as your name,

so I remove the mirror.


The Earth stands before us,

weeping like a rose

that has grown there,

burning like a prophecy.


Until the logic of that dream,

sucked up through black tunnels

fuels what we know to be,

we are nameless: the voice and its echo.




It is constantly changing.

One week folds into another

and our calendars cannot keep up.


It is two violins from the east

come to grips with the west,

the CD skipping

in an ambient rush of wind.


But the desert is not a road,

an oasis from which all roads diverge

like the notes of a scale

as we wake from heaven.






Black lacquer,

your stamen

the tongue of a wound

the body corrodes

is a rushing,

infecting the poppy

with ivory wrists


of that white-red,


leaf in the window;

has no face.


Ellipsis of a crown

grown paler,



where my stem is buried.




An oriole of the ear,

his viola a lever

of unchosen names

frightened rain into a coffin;


dipped into a wound

to paint with color

the sun and the sky

had behaved so badly;


a spider

I am feeding —

flies on a web,

to the book of dreaming.






They arrive,

but not train-grey

bespoke through




Charred metal,

candles’, of

a heat, their



ellipses us:


a scaffold

stabbing a lost vowel.




© 2019



DISSENTSPRING — New Poems by Eliot Cardinaux


Artwork by Jeffrey Lipsky

“Demon of Thieves”

Mixed media on 3 x 3 ft. canvas



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New Release: Magpie: Six Feet on Solid Ground

Magpie album cover

Cover artwork by Zoe Christiansen

Magpie (DK/US)

Six Feet on Solid Ground

Eliot Cardinaux – piano, voice, poetry

Asger Thomsen – bass, objects

Jeppe Høi Justesen – drums, percussion, cymbals

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New Release: Winter Poems

Winter Poems (cover image)

Artwork by Zoe Christiansen (Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland)

As some of you know, in November of last year I began composing a series of Winter Poems. These were originally spurred by a trip to Reykjavík, Iceland, where I performed solo, at a small venue called Mengi. They have grown from there into a chapbook that I am happy to announce the release of. First of all, thank you to Skúli Sverisson and Ólöf Arnalds for hosting and inspiring me in Iceland, and to my partner Jade Wollin, and my father Robert Cardinaux, who have both been a marvelous help in fine-tuning these bits of verse. The book is dedicated to Skúli and Ólöf, both musicians whose music helped lay the foundation for the poetry within. Winter Poems is also dedicated in part to the memory of Olle Kruijt, a friend who commissioned a poem last year whom I found out passed away suddenly, before I could send it.

The chapbook releases officially on February 11th through my press and label, The Bodily Press, and will be available then to order online through my Bandcamp page in physical format only.


Notes on the Inner Life of Piano

In 2016 I was living in Boston after graduating New England Conservatory. The world I believed I belonged to was like American English, in that it only accounted for that within earshot, and although I listened, I could never hear the sound of bells that rang outside its walls – that which was too far to hear unless there was a breeze. Hence, I felt guarded against all that was in my periphery. And so I naturally knew to become just that: the sidelong glance of a thief, a strand of poetry abandoned by a world leader after it became too much to wrestle with. I hid like the outline of writing on the layer of paper underneath the page that is torn off the pad. All it would take was to rub the flat end of a pencil across my spirit to reveal me. Nonetheless, I focused my intention like the eye-patch of a horse that is all but blind, and I waited for silence: a particular silence, accompanied by the sound that is left in one’s ears as someone hangs up the phone having been the bearer of bad news. Read the rest of this entry »

New Book Release: By the Hand

By the Hand.jpgCover artwork by Zoe Christiansen

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New Release: Sweet Beyond Witness

As some of you know, I have decided to pack my bags, and take leave of the city of Boston, where I have lived for the past four years. As I prepare to move out to the rural countryside of Western Massacusetts, again, I am finally gaining some much needed perspective on my life during my time here. There is evidence of that fact.

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Journal of a Nomad Justice

All three photos in this post are by Monica Frisell. Unfortunately, the timeline offered to me to complete this project did not allow for me to include more of Monica’s photos. More to come in the future though, as we hope to collaborate on something, eventually. I personally admire her work a lot. Hope you do to. Enjoy.

Frisell_FieldPhoto.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

Mindfulness––A Mantra and Afterword

Part I: Writing in, Writing out; Invention

In his book of essays, A Nomad Poetics, Pierre Joris writes of the necessity for poets not only to learn other languages, but to invent them. If it is possible to invent one’s own language, I have tried. It may as well follow that it is possible to learn—to write, indeed, even to speak in—those languages that others have invented.[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Mother of Two

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