WHAT IS POETRY?
"...that which cannot be paraphrased?"
Well, so is a rock. Scissors. Paper.
Rock. Scissors. Paper. Mind.
Put your hands behind your back.
Just cup your palm for mind.
Choose one of the four. Be sly.
One. Two. Three. Go.
Paper beats rock. Wraps it up,
as history's lines wrap lies. We're stoned.
One. Two. Three. Show.
Scissors cuts mind into paper dolls.
(Descartes throws up before multiplied I's).
One. Two. Three. Whoa.
Mind beats rock, beats against rock
until world relents, and the matter settles
grit on the tongue. Two. Three. So.
Paper slices mind in tissue samples,
soul's salami, soul's Salamis of utter
defeat to a Kleenex-thinness of thinking,
how can a tornado drive a piece of straw
through a roof beam? But deep down
you know, you really know how,
if you've ever played the game before.
If you ever saw a page behead someone,
yet leave the heart furiously beating.
This is the praying mantis, death-in-life,
which leaps from leaf to leaf, life to life
and the dead all turn their heads
360 degrees when they are inside it.
And lovers are the only ones will ride it.
—W. B. Keckler
BOUSTROPHEDON TABLET 1
What does death matter if the energy continues to flow
Figure with decorated amphora as brain the permeating water
Appears to be bottomless knowing which is impossible
Masks have animals widening cavities without reason to
Someone killing someone awakens beside themselves, scattered particles
Images in drowning victims the seen we've greatly magnified
Many speak the shapes submerged and feral choreography
Self or tile forgets slack tide the whole idea subsumed
Dancing nudes pronged with dildo goving over memory hills
Markets weird affairs joining slaves touch masters yawning
Are these idyllic erasures the opposite surface polished our ears
Misses near language's a lattice of texture by ripened
May be traced to a film which develops appearances
Alive longing parasitic inhabited known but seen never
Imagined a bull's-eye blazoned on noise from Big Bang
Crackings vast the given is whosoever changes resemblings crossing
Having only a feather's weight the axiom is silence's tool
Soul the god's itself reveals number a division cell during
Matter is peripherally a centrifugal essence the rushing voice
Sleep core becomes everyone filling timing the inevitable is space
(lines to be read alternately left-to-right then right-to-left...
—W. B. Keckler
The punctuation of erotic cries shows, wet paint in the museum,
you want to photograph the proof, the grand stairway of entry
where the leaves stick to your shoes before we awake in gilt twitters
like the wrong Buddha on the right year, you open in the terminal
after a thunderstorm, the people are only music, forgive them.
~ ~ ~
A man twisted and gyred in the fires of metaphors, he was on the news,
we saw him return always, on the windiest bridges, on the parapet
where the police had cornered him, on a branch of a tree in a poem
two thousand years old, he would never give up, a skin memento,
he was a spider-monkey in the tree of philosophy, screaming
like the bull of Heliogabalus until we could no longer hear his cries
in the traffic of our time, which was clearly in his key.
~ ~ ~
You were leaving me,
it was an interesting lecture, The Cloud versus The Phallic, I was intrigued,
I found myself invested, holding stock, my skeleton worn to your shape
like those stairs in Benares, swaled almost to the shape of a woman's sex
I bent to kiss them and where were you just now, here's baba ganoosh
and sushi in sweet little alcoholic travel cases, because you're like that
aren't you, and I know how to sing along. The mortal lovemaking clouds.
~ ~ ~
I mean the window shivers and laughs at the crucial moment
between something and everything you leave, I bend my pinky
into the problem, there is no "crucial moment," no crisis, no passion
that hasn't already survived us, nested elsewhere in the cosmic fluid like a swan
as fickle Zeus was, a shower of gold, a great waster of time, a better god
for this art, but why make love to a critic, anything that needs sick understanding.
~ ~ ~
The rooms continue to mouth your damage, the nipples of it,
which is the ancient mother really, is wet sand. I walked there beside you,
without memory, the indivisible sound the ocean is continually trying
to make, like Cy Twombly invading Roman history with crayons
you are warmer, you are very close, now drink him down and find
at last the divine animal he conceals, love him lost, be grateful.
~ ~ ~
The present has a flesh-hinge but denies it is a book. I have learned
unforgettable things, the fingers must be steel inside the painting,
the fingers must steal inside the painting, the kleptomaniacs of space,
like the white peasants in Malevich, who went ahead, brooming
all the snow of vision in preparation for Suprematism, cleaning out clouds
that chimed as if they were high crystals or vodka, or dead lovers, or lovers dead
to touch, how can I not love such peasants, those janitors of the avant-garde,
the only love of the New Year, a color's cold staring back.
—W. B. Keckler