CURRENT ISSUE (#50)
"Tilt-a-Whirl" and "The Museum Guard’s Guided Tour"
by Stephanie Ford
The desert slings a silicate glint
through mail slots and blood cults, sings,
wind-driven, a rent-garment monologue,
and even in green spring intravenously slips us
the clack of a hermit-saint’s sandiest sermons
(O speck of earth, broke and celibate climate)
which jumpstarts the dead engine Reverence,
stirs up eddies and vespers of grit,
clings to thorn-tip, toe-bone, red tangle of root,
and kisses the congregants’ whispering lips—
Lord, this land’s a syringe, a ballistics.
We’d drop this acid, leave the newlyweds stranded,
suck lungfuls of smoke through a hole in our throats,
but a gaunt stranger said Stay—
some goading god dwells here,
still flicks and flicks the lighter’s flint,
still twirls over carparks and jackpot slots,
still spins in infinite hot-pink rings—
as we spun and spun and thrummed with lust,
the hermits’ scripture tinseled us.
The Museum Guard’s Guided Tour
What jerryrigged thing
are they getting at, the pale-face saints,
such a squaredance of hellos,
or are their flimsy hands just pointing,
opened, to the giant pulley system
of the universe?
All day the prep-school kids rush past
to gawk at their gouged-out eyes.
I’m here, too, statued in my rubber boots.
Art loves the body’s bulk,
glamours the body’s bony luggage,
blings the soul with spokes and orbs.
“Note the Gothic painters’ genius
for granting figures fleshly weight”—
then watch the unnamed window-washer
blade the glass and leave no trace.
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