Eliot Cardinaux

Poet/Pianist

Tag: Poems

DREADSUMMER — New Poems by Eliot Cardinaux

Temple of the Priest Kings


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Artwork by Jeffrey Lipsky

“Temple of the Priest Kings”

Acrylic and Graphite on 3 x 3 ft Canvas

https://www.facebook.com/JLipArts

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DREADSUMMER


SIGIL

(For Sean Ali)

.

Shadows of

sunset under eyelids

hover over sleep.

I grieve my splinter out.

.

The wind made a lap 

in the heart. In the iris 

a reel flaps with bright 

white birdsong.

.


AFTER CELAN

.

VI

.

The thrice-flayed,

thrice-frayed leaf

in the mantle

of the stem

.

clearquestions

the ground-

gap;

.

that shrieking,

idiot 

glory,

when 

.

will it speak?

Tomorrow-

after.

.


.

VII

.

Crocus:

drinking,

the salt-weed

stems

behind

you,

ever-through.

.

Existence,

tipped

by the threshold

greys

.

a

darkness

of dried bees.

.


.

VIII

.

Lacquer,

your stoneway, 

stamen, arch

.

your tongue a wound’s

and the body corroding

.

rushes

infecting the poppy

with ivory wrists

.

of that white-red,

light-black 

.

leaf in the window,

has no face.

.

Ellipsis of a crown

grown paler, 

thrown-shadowed

revolt, 

where my stem is buried.

.


.

IX

.

They arrive,

but not train-grey

bespoke through

thought-brambles,

pigeon-red.

.

Charred metal,

candles’ — of 

a heat, their

fallimpendant

trace, 

ellipses us:

.

a scaffold

stabbing a lost vowel.

.


.

X

.

One day I too will write you,

no letter to say,

this one,

true thing:

.

to rotate 

beyond, behind

the eyefilm,

.

mantlebranched:

your word.

.


FOR OSIP MANDELSTAM

.

II

.

I remember you caught me

looking up at the blossoms.

They fell like skirts on my thighs,

and I still see the color

violet, burning through my chest.

.

I carry my history blind, like a shame.

I drag it like a weapon behind me.

.

I lay these things down for the first time

in a grave beside your image,

saying these things out loud.

.


ELIJAH

.

Left, wine-red

at the trunk of summer,

an offering of names

grown into poppies

.

folds into 

compass-points,

quivering Southwest.

.

Those ditched in the blood

now leave the door open.

The fence’s frost

heaves over.

.

Never among the dead.

.


INACTION

.

Here, you improvise the earth

and the broken tracks smile.

.

From a borrowed 

rib,

evolves: 

eternity.

.

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 talk of monotones.

.


THE WISH

.

To the walking reflection 

made one by Pygmalion’s prayer

belongs the cunning, empty shard

.

unfurling,

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.

.


ELEGY 

.

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.

.


WHEELRUTS

.

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.

.


PROCESSION

.

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.

.


ANALYSIS

.

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.

.


MARKET

.

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. 

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PRAYER

.

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.

.


ALLEGORY

.

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.

.


THE VOICE AND ITS ECHO

.

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.

.

And 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.

.


ASSIMILATION

.

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 

click of the heart.

.

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.

.


TALE

.

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.

.


A PRESENT HISTORY OF AIR

(For Adonis)

.

As her rest unfolds

her decision to sleep

lifts up the mountains

scoring the jagged air.

.

As she can breathe

she places her limbs

in a row like seedlings

and it begins to rain.

.

As it is questioned

the air becomes poems

reaching out beyond

this time of ashes.

.

In a storm each will 

sever itself on a thorn

from the poet erasing

himself and herself

.

as the rose grows deep

in the azure, keeping

one thought for itself,

that the present is history.

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ALL POETRY BY ELIOT CARDINAUX

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© 2019

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DISSENTSPRING — New Poems by Eliot Cardinaux


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Artwork by Jeffrey Lipsky

“Demon of Thieves”

Mixed media on 3 x 3 ft. canvas

www.facebook.com/jliparts

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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.