Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three Poems by Jack Christian


If that’s what you really are
If you are that flat and I am that round
If I am a rock beside an embankment
And if badness is the quality of being very far behind
And your sidekick is what others term vision
And then there is no then
Because you owe from the east
And hold closely a cotter’s joint
And yours are instructions on how to spin around
And in your kind of heaven and in your kind of paint
We are the pink inside the gravel
And you sell coats from inside your coats
Because your city is large enough
Your are always there to sell us something
We are always in need
And the sign for this is the octagon
And your butterflies are quotidian another word for incessant
And likewise your occupation causes you to teeter
between noticing and looking after
And we discuss this motion as demonstrative
of the fifth and sixth law of flight
And in truth and in longer days
an earlier truism’s small corollary
becoming practicable now
The pipe and plank and space
And I am without approximation I am edged and all
And speed in conjunction with
And I beguile the highway


When great movies are in my device which is clean
and I’m on my couch got secondhand
with elderberries in the compost and fruitflies in the kitchen.
The chickens I’m to meet in weather unapproachable.
And the defenestrator who stays in my mouth
and the river I discard.
The gift bags full with lemonade powder
in time for reenactment. And often on the perimeter of thought
on a knotted street.
The governor necessary to incite these things:
the calm, the golfcart and ugly shrubs
the trail unrumored and repeated.
A prayer for courage
which is superior to the feeling of being brave.
And is brought by our bumblebee, our mother’s rose,
her dogs who mistake swimming humans for boats
and attempt to climb aboard.
A caterwaul across gravel. Mom’s ghost in the graveyard
or skunk in the bushes.
The light the bricks take. The brick and ivy together.
The apartment complex aglow
the basketball goals. Their shadow-games
the crows-nest that clears. Our great speckled bird
by exhortation – how sane to be a knucklehead!
with a wagon to tote a friend in across the bridge
with the traffic jam.
And the variety and all of a terse debate.
The sunspot on the sidewalk that travels with me.
The parts unknowable and so, impossible to tame.


We were scientists and fringe scientists.
We had the feeling of a new morning
with the lights off. We were a possibility.
And one of us set his hair on fire.
And one made a box. And one grew a forest
in the ruins. And the box split in half.
We put the halves on a train that went away
and on a train that followed a circle track.
We, who stayed, acted as ecosystems.
Insistent as pillars, we stood.
We comported ourselves in the attitude of parked fire trucks.
We weren’t thinking; we were conducting thought experiments –
a thing as natural as jumping rope.
It was tic-tac-toe with ourselves, a match seen in re-run –
a nothing, also, that could not change.
And one was housed in ruins. And one grew horns
to guard her shell. And one curled.
And one bloomed. And one sought heat in soil.
One bore children; their eyes were open.
And one split her skull in half.
The tests were not called How Stupid We Are.
We who remained were with our questions.
They were the river we bathed in.
Our bridge walked from the water.
Our rumor shivered in the cathedral.

Jack Christian is the author of the chapbook Let’s Collaborate from Magic Helicopter Press. His poems are upcoming in Drunken Boat and Thermos, and his work has appeared recently in Sixth Finch, Cimarron Review, notnostrums, Phoebe, and Diagram. He is from Richmond, Virginia, and lives now in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Links to Jack's online poems: