Thursday, September 1, 2011

Three Poems by Dan Rosenberg


Here deep light. Here deep light rising
from a sack of rusted whistles.

Rustles in the closet’s deep light.
A breath is a breach, cuts a lip
on deep light. Here bedpost tops
wicked in a rattle. Brassy
like an undergarment. Undone.
Such keeping tracks the eye.

New holes make a shirt perfect
for this deformity. The box cries from its corners,
the mold-bearded box.
Here air ages. Manners tip gently
in the lone. Deep something
thumps down and startles.

In the sleeping hour, the hour of disobedience.
The scavenge comes
unbidden. The tic, the squeak.

Here deep light beats back.
It comes in slats. It comes:
The hamper of efforts drooling knee socks.
A blue vase collects itself.
Here blank walls for walls

are not lit by deep light.
Not the bur on time tugged forth.
See a fray failing a shoelace.
Here deep light kept rolled like wrong carpet.

Deep light without aim. Dying
pockets of air. Each pocket
sent mewing at deep light.


the floor is a storeroom

we keep each other
in the original packaging

I bought you a t-shirt with many kinds of breasts
I was desperate

something to say I care but not too much

The sun taxes me heartily
                                          and my heart

lost in our angular house
for a place to leave       things and never remember

I want to go to the movies I said
            I was joking       the hand on your knee
when we were alone was mine

I slit the folded paper: a book! of dust-
collecting     the air mattress’s sotto voce

Am I using this bookshelf wrong?

that child safety cap fails
because you’re a grown woman stumped

to listen hard I ignore my own pulse
we all do
the delicate touch       the stamen     a stone
bookend shaped like a book

laundered the sun in a pile of feeling
up oneself absentmindedly on the phone

slouching over my weak core like protection
not a symptom

when I forget to say “I” you remind

the chickadee all puffed up      the driveway

how much of our favorite non-stick pan
can we safely eat?

the tongue of the prayer book        on the hardwood
a stack of change won’t do me      ok then

the plastic frame worked all its scuffs
would have happened to the picture if

a stretch of the esophagus
            what’s bloodied by the camera
            what’s lost without a backup
            plan for fire: a tangled rope of knots

and the anchor      the doorknob’s inside doesn’t match

                      but fits


Epistle, a yellow footprint on the hardwood. Open the fist, a
palm. A shake. Nine walnuts in a Ziploc baggie chatter. I'm
holding. I'm shaking. My photograph slinks down. Its frame.
Frayed like shoelace. Her lips purse. Every edge threatens a
fall. Even hems, even lips, even beauty's tight edge. I'm
pressing against. The factory atop my neck. The spill. One
flash surprises, the next captures. I freeze wide open. It's a
countdown. If thunder comes. Chewing comes easily. Yellow
my finger in the lily. It doesn't keep to itself. As well as it
should. Woman in bra between dogwoods. Red spills on her
head. Just a magazine ad. A dangle. A docile puppy in a nook.
A shoulder. I've fallen. Not my nook. Limpid with springtime
my angles. Shake, a greater tremble. Tremble my ginger veins.
A color wheel of fingers. Pointing, a basement before dawn.
The chimney a finger. What she wants. My eyes, then the
frame. Then my chest. A descent. A cracked cocoon. No
moth. Bulbs in the basement open. It takes forever. Petals
fall, her feet. Recover the ants all together. Light, then hand,
then wall. Thumb becomes a mandible. Touch my crushing
organ. My outreach. A small apple falls. The worm inside.
What eats. What's eaten. Two flowers kiss, wilt. The cyclist
falls. The garbage is a nest.

Dan Rosenberg's first book, The Crushing Organ, won the 2011 American Poetry Journal Book Prize and will be published in 2012. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in several journals, including Pleiades, American Letters & Commentary, Subtropics, and Gulf Coast. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he is a PhD student at UGA and co-editor of the poetry journal Transom.