Jesse S. Mitchell
I. And the ice floe became endemic, because the water was cold
And it was thin
And it spread everywhere, all around.
Standing in the backroom of a noisy petshop, waiting to drown,
Imagining Cocteau, a film (a shimmer) on the storefront window
Orpheus: Le Sang d’un Poete
As the rain came down.
Leaving dirty streaks in the dust, dusty streaks in the dirt.
II. And composition suggests death.
The boundaries are set and they are smooth.
The periphery is set and it is smooth.
It is a casket-aperture to let in the light,
Because life needs random.
Because vitality is chaos.
And all we see are borders
Fill them in, fill them in, we fill them in, fill them in.
III. And then it all gets old, it gets old
And all you have left is bones and soul, bones and soul.
The cars idling in the streets,
The roar of engines
The clouds of smoke.
IV. “Greetings and welcome to Jaipur.”
The bathroom smelled like soap, old ratfaced brown towel hung over the railing.
All the way back to Earth, were lines, full spectrum bright lines, like sunglare, lines streaking back.
Trusting the burst behind them, the rushing crushing transfer of light, the blur between them,
Weaving around them, the dangerous-shaking shapechanging
building images in my mind, the images my mind will come to commit to memory, outrageous
namecalling, tracking mud through the room, confused feeble little mind,
The last second reflection of light (fluorescent) in a passing by mirror, sheen of the glass, corner of
V. And don’t ever be afraid, there is nothing to fear.
And don’t ever be ashamed
Of what it takes to get back home again.
Busted blind, or deaf and lame,
All the bended bent outside in, dim lit,
Rushing rivulets away,
To get back home again.
Amphibian reptilian paraphyly
Air-filled-lungs, expanding gills, words falling out of ash like scales off of eyes.
Plague, pulque, fire, flood, and gramophone.
VII. and we sat in schools, in little classrooms, bounded in by glass, bounded in by glass.
And we listened,
James Fenimore Cooper, Max Planck, the dreadful XYZ affair.
The devils on us that hide in every subject, behind every pause.
Deconstruct the clause, graph the sentence out.
IIX. Fire-pimps that hide behind the tinder.
Lightning-skies that hide behind the storm.
Reckless are the curtains torn, the rattle of the steel.
The storms behind the clouds
And this is what the tuhunder says as it begins to pour,
Rushing rivulets, rivulets away.
IX. Dans cet abime, abondance.
X. and the fire became endemic, it was far too hot,
The blood so warm and the skin so flushed,
And the rain come spilling out.
The noise so quiet and the light so bright,
The visions so blurry, the lines so static, the colors so fade.
Fill them in, fill them in.
There are stars up over the ocean
And I know because I have seen them.
Like words written mutely in the sky
And I know because I have read them.
Tiny sea beacons to guide all who between the waves still malinger,
Little dots shining bright
That the darkest of night
Cannot cleanly obscure.
Jesse S. Mitchell
Yorba Linda’s Cephalopod Blues
So, screech the cyanide strings
And glow the Baba Yaga shine
And love the lemon yellow sun
And dance the barbed wire whirl.
More and more
More sang rouge than Khmer Rouge
Because that’s blood
It’s heintei twister girls
All cyclone breathing and never sleeping
Hot and heavy, until you cannot imagine calm.
Makes a hollow in the center, all the stirring, the churning, in the heart.
Just keep you spinning
Like a rotating planet (big hairy knuckled rock) in orbit
Until you read your name in the obit.
I believed myself awake then but only half-drowsy and half-dreaming, oh merciful God, a certain kind of violence written across my brain, curved cursive handwriting and between the etched and entwining loops and spaces I saw a pause and for a moment the silences replicated stingy threads like DNA (proteins stuck clinging to each other, pornography) and through the pauses I saw visions, heaven help me. There I dreamed of Mexico but no black Madonnas or border towns but Chiapas, Emiliano Zapata, there revolutions, honey spun, a thin strand of spider silk that connects to every corner, shaking like candy floss along the coast from Cardiff to Bristol or home Atlantic, some beach drenched lovers surely cryptic, in the sun, breathed too the same air in my lungs, fueled by similar oxygen and other molecules. And all over my body I felt a breeze, a cool breeze from the north, an all over wind, a numbing that means complacency for I am on the rung American…but reaching upward always, grasping for the next. So, all I know is smothered . I cover my wounds with grease and ash and leave the faintest footprints, carrying away the rest.
And rainy streets that stumble down and sudden downpours that drench your feet and back alleyway-drifts that spring up in hectic fits
and corners stuffed with this independent business,
Tempting-changeling like bower birds, trying to make a go of it. Carnival barkers and newsprint shills, broken off words and movie deals.
And what heaven acquires…
Overcome and drowsy down, hazy trace and spirit bound.
And tastes like blood-spit
The sort of thing that happens with busted lip.
And what Hell loses…
And all gone.
And looks blurred green sky
The kind of distance that comes
With hard-crossed eyes.
And what Earth regrets…
Or with falling down and smacking face
Knocks you brutal all over the place.
From careful tedium, strolling soaked
Through tepid wet Cartagena
I had a dream that was the same as Romeo and Juliet.
Except in this case the hero of the story was a small coiling spiral
Of double helix DNA
And it was a tiny lump of highly protein encrusted couch fluff
To which it was conjoined.
And they floated together on hot air currents
Billowing around the world
Looking for a simple pool of their own in which to self-replicate.
And thoughts traveling wildly across their minds (what minds you could speak of, little synapse and sparkling little cell-buds and ganglia)
like how different would Cabaret have been
If David Mamet had written all the lines for Sally Bowles
And how much they both hated the work of Paul Theroux,
And how much of the history of the human race on Earth
Is basically a big iron screw jammed in the middle
Of a large misshapen clay ball.
And how we all could use some more productive occupation.
Bio: Jesse S. Mitchell writes books, has a wife and kids, and dislikes
the slow disintegration of time, immensely.
Poetic statement: I mean to make noise, a great deal of noise, so much
noise it will be impossible to ignore.