DISSENTSPRING — New Poems by Eliot Cardinaux

by Eliot Cardinaux

TLG_12_95

Photo by Edward Burtynsky

A newly developing series of poems devoted to notating personal emotional and visceral reactions to climate crises and other heavy events. The poems are themselves events, and attention is, to borrow Kafka’s words,

the natural prayer of the soul.

I would like to acknowledge the years of dedicated, hard and impeccable work the poet Pierre Joris put into translating the collected later poetry of Paul Celan (Breathturn into Timestead); along with The Meridian; and Microliths, a selection of which are available on the Poetry Foundation’s website. All three of these works including the commentaries therein have impacted my decisions in writing these poems, and my aspirations, to a great degree, to better understand Celan’s body of work and its impact on my own.

Pierre’s Nomadics Blog is an invaluable resource as well, as are any and all publications of his you can find, whether in poetry, prose, or the realm of translation. Many thanks.

Microliths: 

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/articles/91659/from-microliths

Pierre Joris’ Nomadics Blog:

http://www.pierrejoris.com/blog/


GOYA

.

The ladder sinks rung by rung

into thunder’s echo.

Flutes bite the silence.

.

The fang and the flower

ossify,

horse

falling off

the bone.

.

All animals

and their human souls

break into captivity.

.

The sun slowly covers the mask.

.


AFTER PAUL CELAN

.

I

.

See,

those knifecords —

.

a knot in the blood

overblown with margins

at that

.

enclosure —

wolfskinned.

.

Witness,

wisteria blowing

deep

.

into matter

and deeper.

.

II

.

Finch,

the lymph node swells

in the bark,

.

beneath it;

your translucent

hammertrunk,

it sleeps through the keyhole.

.

What the way,

hacks-through,

hacks-into,

the throat can give,

maybe weighs: this

branch.

.

III

.

Take these trimmings —

.

of whose shadow,

to whom

I belong,

.

round as a month

or a lunar

.

mouth’s-word —

at mouth’s-worth.

.

Horse-fetched

or Time-lent

still,

.

do they

flutter and bray?

.

IV

.

Lilac,

those soft

misty evenings

of decay

lent

your stole

a new scenting;

truth-rooted.

.

Paler than violets,

iris, the yolk-

stained hunger;

.

grounds in the morning

dew.

.

Does the round-empty day

not empty, also

the fading circus?

.

Who will inform;

.

return-

to-it.

.

V

.

Excess,

the torpor-outridden —

the more-than-

stupor,

outrid

of its other,

my unaware,

.

distranslated

melancholy

breadmaker.

.

Bloodsucking second

hand-darkened,

of the pleat-enfolding

matterstopped tongue,

begun to rewind;

its thoughts,

blurted.
.


FOR OSIP MANDELSTAM

.

Lightlid, you tenderly shed

what soft and flaring

black sunbeams

bled to become.

.

The Jessamine’s

five suns faded

translucent as wax,

.

the pale noon sun

of elsewhere

embraced by brambles.

.

Those witness, the mourners

and those

who attended the vigil

.

unsafe in the light of candles

even the acme of a twisted smile

longs to embrace, but can’t unmake.

.

And the red glare of sacrifice

finally forever

begins to silence

.

those parched singers;

never in my life

have I heard such music.

.


LIGHTDESERTED

.

Forsythia, you first

danced winter in.

.

Now, they blow inactively

and fall, squabble through random

oblivion.

.

Room for you

to martyr them,

.

flop like a hatchling

in toward city lights to die.

.

Lord, though we are bidden to you

may your light flair blue.

..


EXISTENCE

.

Tulip, your far-fetched eyes

Reach out like a world in flame,

Lip-tonguing your sorrowful

Stems as an iris, under lids

Begins to swell: the heart.

.

In you, the nightingale quivers

A fresh set of lines.

.

Like fish-pools barring

The procession of measurements,

Tips of the clock-hands

Multiply, inchworms on your silken

Breath.

.

When you draw your first arrow

Will you finally rule

The aorta forever?

.


HELENIC

.

May a horse who flares in on darkness

.

object to the stain

on your border with increase,

the sea that gave birth to your name

.

suggest your impossible

giftembrace.

.


GESUALDO

.

Paul Celan,

another man

who felt

.

(an unnameable) guilt, equated

the darkness

.

poetry is born in

with darkness

disallowed.

.


UNWORLDED

.

Poppy, you hung from colors

the breath of language.

.

Pale string, pale thread,

that linen precursor:

your spider’s-doom.

.

My dream is always,

each rung for real.

.

And the finally satisfied tick

drinks the blood of clocks,

ever-mercied, ever-said.

.


.

All poetry by Eliot Cardinaux

All Rights Reserved

© 2019

.

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