Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Zachary Chartkoff


Tell me that pigeons have it easy, my
dear, someone must. The sky is vast. I love
the sky, though I am pale. The antennae
of those apartments all rise up, they glove
the whole world in their messages. They shove
old God out of bed, they must, and I think
through this door lies Rome. It rises above
the clouds. You can see it all purple-pink
in the winter sky. Or Paris? The stink
of this life — sore, wet and smog — makes it tough
to tell. Pigeons know. They are my far link
to the beyond. And this door. It's enough
to know I can go. Rise on ruddy-gray
wings. Wild pink delight in a wild pink day.

High Desert

I have been consorting with the desert's
demons, things of air, lately. I know their
tastes, their humors and woes. Let the experts
scoff at these pale dreams, figments borne on air,
laughter at the eye's corner. Asleep I
am more grand than any phantasy. They
come; a few at a time, across sand, sky,
dune and under moon. They please me, they lay
down by my body. Passion is in birds'
breath, bat's wing; not in another lover's words.
Words! I am sick of all these words! True
delight is not a single word but herds
of night ghosts. Go. I'm the last of Ben Hur's
blood kin and I have no more use for you.


"anger is an energy" — Public Image Ltd.
This is urgent. This poetic justice
concealed in the long gun's long chamber.
I'll turn to you since poetic chorus
rarely makes good Peace Keepers. This anger
turns us passive witness. Always after
our wars do we even hear a poet
condemn our bloodshed; a general slur
against violence. But this poem? I cut
it on a bullet and put the bullet
in the chamber; it's a rhyme against bad
behavior. Now, goddess of the sonnet
and the bullet, Athena of the mad
blood, speak through this poetic deterrent.
Help me cock this gun. This is urgent.

And What of the Dead?

For once I won't look back; tell you stories
about what the dead eat in the under
world, how the cold milk from Persephone's
breasts might have tasted had you been there. Were
my past a song of jade, I would forget
it. Like that. Instead, my friend, let me tell
you of the future. A real alphabet
secret, stone dream. I will meet you in hell
once the boat lands and take you by the hand.
There. Live on that knowledge; mix it with salt
and sweet honey. Friend, do not look behind.
You can't eat the past. Only the dead's bland
food can do that. Eat what's to come, cobalt
on the tongue. Eat its seed and its sour rind.

1 comment:

Lola Koundakjian said...

"Door" has a unique profound vision. Thanks for posting it and Zachary's other poems.