poems by Carolyn Srygley-Moore

What we confront informs us // for R

What green cat eyes we confront inform our work
how we hammer the horseshoe;          how we weld the stained glass
filled overheaping with stories.
You have looked death in the face          as the body betrays.
I can see you           alone in your room in India       the heat rising in coils of blue
the cat of cardboard set in the window              with green eyes.

I can see you             alone             yet aloneness is not thorough
I have had the shell of solipsism break as death approached & joy overcame me
with inordinate clarity          joy overcame the stealth of the cardboard cat
walking the sill.          This morning I saw a man standing before a pit
staring into the pit             & what did he see but a bagful of treasure
a timecapsule some child built & buried yes               what did he see?
I have stood before the pit & envisioned bodies
I have stood before the pit & seen trains in passing
I have stood.

The abyss is huge even when lined in dirt & rock & root
of tree just planted               of tree withdrawn
into a logger’s dream.         Even in darkness there is direction even in darkness
the weathervane circles atop the farmhouse
even in darkness clarity circumvents          & the river is still
but not without current            the river is still
& we can see through to our banana toes                    to the underground stone
we can see through.

Remembering Beginnings // for Jim

Nibbling time’s cylindrical neck          like love’s nihilist
remembering distances
              he does not remember his own beginning:
slingshot boyhood by the blue            blue reservoir
the action adventure         stacks of comic books his father sold
               when he left for school.         Yet he wakes up
watching his child harbor the same
visions the mother has: the blue doe leaping        just grazing the fender
                   the black swan risen                 from mass graves
breathing song & fire               into each body that lies there.
Heaps of visions.            Inclinations.
He nibbles time             as the grazed doe nibbles
the return to flowers, yellow         buds on the base of the tree.
                  He is the return to forgetting
the woman so desires              claims as her own:
as she reads               lips slightly parted        he touches her
               numbing the crease behind the knee
& it all becomes a Milosz poem         manifest            he is the great composer
she                  the woman in the audience
                         & what is the middleground before
the stately dome of the yellow          backyard tree?
He is the return to forgetting
putting time in his back pocket           with the wallet
he always loses          finds          loses
                again.       Misplaced       small angel whittled of snakeskin
painted with unwatered-down colors
mailed across the ages
                       mailed across international waters
like a whisper             of beginnings
before there was water
                       before there was water indeed.

Permission To Speak Of God Given in a Coffeehouse While Drinking Espresso

God is sitting on the ledge just outside the window ~~ David LaBounty

God is standing on the edge of the abyss
or on the ledge of the towers   as they fall                he is watching
                the flesh-dolls burn.
He is no cut-out cardboard dog        lapping water of the latrine
in a camp of dirty water: I see his shape          obscured
& remember when you first gave me permission to speak of God
we were seated in a coffehouse drinking espresso
you gave me permission to speak              of God.        He is no dirty word
you said       he is standing on the painted windowsill
with anything meant to be on the edge             of things
watching                things.
                              We don’t talk anymore         you & I
there are vast differences between               what we’ve chosen to become.
Writing is a mediation          between this world
& that which we clasp within            like broken lockets           this world
& that which we clasp within.               God is standing on the broken ledge       arms outspread
hands in his trouser pockets          he has no wings
he has no voice with which to sing & sing
                     we must do it for him.
A homeless man who lost all his teeth          when mugged
in downtown Albany        showed me his rigged inner woodland        home
cardboard boxes flaps unfurled
(amazing what towers one can erect with cardboard)       & turning to me
said he loves me.             Is this God I thought
in disguise.           like some reality televised show                  Was this God
in disguise?          We don’t talk any longer
                                       this man & I.

Triumphant Structures

The lithe body of a girl at the edge of the sea
tracing the tide       the moonpull erasure.      her body a cobra
stretching against the skyscape            the scars of skyscape.
I see the shadows of blue Stonehenge behind her
around her               lurking like husks of God            I see
great shadows of myth & dwarfed landscape alike.
One considers the Eiffel one considers obelisks         the domes
of mosques             one considers one reconsiders            triumph
the shape of a child turned twelve            her wrists unscarred:
let us keep them that way.            I toss shells at the streetlights
they sing in the wind                  I toss shells
at my daughter               sleeping hard at the seaside.
What is the escape route needed.        sometimes driving I see
roads leaving the road       bypass         into ether.
That is not necessary.        Her eyes are clear
she knows despair yet manages it          as one manages
clay thrown to the potter’s wheel.      We drive in the city
along bridges crisscrossed           along bridges
that end in the sea              she sleeps seaside my child does
with the television humming cartoons         she sleeps seaside
& Icarus swings toward the sun           melting
the first aircraft           which surely was meant for her
her voice unmuffled                 her laughter carried.


2 Responses

  1. Carolyn’s poetry is intense and stunning, like a lunar eclipse and purple sunset together in a tango.

  2. carolyns poetry is a revelation. it is as if we’re witnessing organic growth linguistically from within,
    experienced emotionally,the growth described in almost unimaginable sophisticated and palpable images,at once staying on the flesh and travelling between the stars. nothing is excluded and her songs,poetry,are as overt as they are mythical.

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