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By Chris Nelles


I see her walking by the mouth of seas,
Her feet forlorn, her finger counting waves,
And pebbles, birds and freighters, anchored
In their preference, moored against hot curiosities.
Amid her dim despair, and my corruption,
She lets go of all the promised green, and nights
Of reconciliation, hugs that only sweethearts know,
In greying shade of thorns i pull from love,
From brambles on my tongue, embedded in my bed,
Adorned with little horses drowned in blood.

She runs as swiftly as Achilles, fleet in foot,
To open cupid’s cupboard she has locked,
And hides from every memory she desires
Was hers, and withers, mourning what she owns,
Not knowing what she knows; alas, she burns,
And turns to where the river meets the strait,
Where seven boats ply nets to douse her feet,
So that she might swim free, and set her teeth
As rings of resurrected mountains in G-d’s need
To sweep her up in ecstasy, break down the gate.

Come out, come out to where i am.
We together, flow as power, as water.
As rain upon a corrugated roof, you,
In you, thatch my unthatched song,
And solder, altogether, what was part.
And parting, weld a new beginning
To a sunset, and give life, give birth
To that which we already are, in love,
In each one’s hope, in fading earth.

Why should I fear death when I belong to you?
And yet I fear, not for the death, not for the wings,
Tempting as a pit, as vinegar against my teeth,
But for not having seen your sleek and starry breast
Run roughshod through the unseen pool of poems
Knitted from the sunrise locks I stole from eyelashes,
And auburn manes, you left upon my pillow slips,
Before the ransomed midnight whispered twists,
And turned you out to beg for bread, and beggar me
With choices unforeseen: unwelcome wealth,
A commonwealth of chaos, smoothed and taught
To toddle, poodle like, for time’s insistent stride,
And bury strident verses, shaped as lovers’ crosses,
At the crossroads, through the empire’s eyes,
And so, forlorn, watch poems die a thousand deaths,
Each one passing from this love, damnation’s wraith,
Sent out abroad to scour every reader’s life
With melancholy lost, and searching for itself
By hook, and crooked means, by brook and stream,
A song without a song, a scream without a scream.

Weary of its burden, dry docked ferries pause, mid-winter,
While the forlorn strait heaves heavy logs ashore.
Their clamor camouflages secret weeping in the driftwood.
Ambling feet, confused, seek purchase over moss
And battered stone, while hands shield sensitive eyes
From penetrating suns, from last year’s conjured romance,
Now abandoned for a new confession, and conspiring plea.

From rutting mist arises myriad elk in heat, and, disregarding
Airport schedules, leap all fences barbed, or otherwise,
To mingle morning frost with few endangered memories
That still survive of her surrendered tender ritual:

Over kitchen sinks, now centuries old, she stooped
To gaze upon the rushing street, while I looked on a gape,
Oblivious of the earthquake summoning the ground
To shake the quicksand seas, and call delirium ashore,
Roving like marauding Cossacks waving scimitars and stars,
While she slipped silently into a private boat, and ebbed
Back into passing time, as if she never was, and is no more.

The ground swam up as I waxed eloquent and full of port,
I listed back and forth, between such dialectic sufferings,
My mind fell black, and scrambled for a shore no longer there,
It cobbled paper hearts from modern day collages, posting
Glued post-modern modes of romance over compound breaks
That pierced the vertebrae, the under-bellied neck exposed
To shrapnel; swimming free in crimson tides, her subtle hands,
Her gentle palms, with little blood, constricted, bathed
In many gouts, that spent intent upon her eager touch,
As if to circulate, around her crying thumbs, enough red
Warmth to comfort any lack her family tree did not pass out.

The boats proclaimed the movement of the discoursed day,
And rocking back and forth, a peacock on a porch, its feathers
Reinforced the refrained plume of mortal dance, through solar
Cycle and blood moons, as if to say the future is a certain
Stone pressed hot against our pulse, as blind as any past,
Its iterated verse reiterated, and then coaxed, coerced,
Until the city in the foreground falls like Icarus on fire, plunging
Over Jericho’s collapse, as mount Olympus stoops, with longings
Sent abroad to hallow all uncertain hope I place on slopes,
That sees us running to the wilderness, our bloody hand,
Unclean perhaps, but clasping seed and sand and rope.

She sleeps as winter wheat in frigid undiscovered tombs,
Beneath a marbled road, alone, and free from me, and all
That might coagulate, and crack the concrete pillars with a rose.
She is a grain of sand, a pearl’s irritant on sea beds, tossed
With spurts of boiling magma, cracking mantles to the quick
Of magnetism’s core, and there she heals in dark obscurity,
In gleams and glimpses ruptures flash, in submerged valley rifts.
She is an unexploded charge, that’s pinned into my unpenned
Thought, where men in shock may fall back from her loss,
In hot despair, as she remains perpetual, in loneliness, in last
Year’s dross, in every mortal tense uncoiled, en-coiling in sea air.


About the Poet

Chris Nelles

Chris Nelles is a north west coast Canadian poet, influenced by the Russian and Latin poets which include Mandelstam,Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, merini, Lorca, and Vallejo. it is his hope to import their sensibilities into English poetry as it is his belief that the sublime riches their poetry affords has long been absent in our language’s verse. His work is also influenced by the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape. It informs his lyric and lends authenticity and immediacy to the ambient mood he intends to create in the reader. He seeks to create a spiritually conciliatory affect upon the reader, by celebrating the muse, so that the reader might rediscover the refuge verse can afford us in our affairs.

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