Issue 6: Ron Stillman

From Revelator



on in or about blazes

molten edge of the sun

spurts – the plane banks left

below Lake Michigan’s blue-green

sailboats speckled in the glare

architecture matters when nature lacks

features – Hermes, is it, atop

old Monkey Ward HQ, not

some other Adonis, great brakes

of the wing flaps rise,

indoor heat, door frame’s height,

“Swap Swamp Swells” sells all,

tells less, nightmare with flashbacks

figures precognition, people dropping naked

from rooftops (“When I saw

water pouring in, I knew

we were under attack”) attempt

to reconstruct the sequence, build

narrative bridge, classic Bob, air

syntax out, neighbor waddles out

to fetch paper, hard copy

is old copy, cold stone

atop which to scoop even

colder cream, white chocolate kisses

battered in, the maple reddens

while the oak goes yellow,

all the others already leafless,

lifeless on the street, yellow

tarp atop the torso, hollow

lung hollers for help, envision

this all without sound sung

deep in glade, inaudible oriole

aria as an arch aches

stretching across its trestle, test

the tree stand’s strength before

adding tinsel, glass balls, small

ornamentation, avoid clusters, clutter, dis-

in distribute understood, but tribute?

That is harder, I hear

wheels across the gravel wet

with a dense fog hushed

then digging in to turn

then softer, the newly paved

Goat Hill Road, river makes

a natural border, already icicles

hang in the woods, grey

is the late autumn forest

reduced to branch & trunk

I stuck by the plan

as it by me, hark

as syllables harden, to shape

shifters shaken shine, consonants lock

into crystalline scene, saw

inch from the trunk’s base

before setting into water, upright

encircled with light, you stir

“much mice in my mouth”

the bed too firm, impossible

& I too tired drift

book still in my hand

sleep at first sitting, green

encased light over the washstand

behind which thin pipes tangle

into the wall, fog’s light

shadowless, soft, the day muted

llamas in the next field

beside the alpaca, the sound

of water in pipes rushing

as others waken, our bidding

or theirs, again to disturb

invokes the lost root, I

sigh, superfluous lamp, light enlarges

an otherwise dark room, winter

sun, smeared, muted, infinite grayscale

the-night-before-last’s luminarias

(Lois, am I leaping?) lit

now only in the mind,

deepset rocker, heavy furnace hum

behind the next wall, camelids

in the pasture turn staring

at the man downhill gathering

patio furniture up in advance

of the forewarned storm

Ron Silliman has written and edited over 30 books, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 12 languages. He was the 2006 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, a 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2002 Fellow of the Pennsylvania Arts Council as well as a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 1998. He received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010. Silliman has a plaque in the walk dedicated to poetry in his home town of Berkeley, although he now lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania and works as a market analyst in the computer industry.