Enter anywhere. Be diaphanous.
Make soft your shape.
Cat. Cow. Cobbler. Shell.
Let the softness, the inkiness of you
settle in in the intaglio. Seep
like walnut oil into carved coper
ridges of line and form.
Leave an impression. Leave an imprint,
a mark of your body.
Be heavy enough.
Be here enough. Decide
on something and then make it
Become a feather and float.
Become a winter moon and shimmer.
Become iridescent as amaranth.
Give a blood curdling balk — go ahead, wake them!
Now imagine sunlight glittering on the snow.
Now imagine sunlight dizzily drinking an open field.
Now imagine a wooded creek encircled by a thousand shapes of death, shades
of the lily-livered that lay dormant within us, now departed
so that we may recoup,
so that we may regain our ruddiness and footholds
we are reeducating, learning,
bearing to bear the radiance of it all.
All of it. Everything.
Every swollen ego and effective trust.
Every malevolent gold-digger and virgin Mary Magdalene.
Every last revolver and open heart.
And I wonder, is it possible?
Can our rage be distilled enough to be abandoned?
because it’s pisces season and the light of the crepuscule is mutable.
These signs are minuscule, but please, read them carefully.
Hold on to the banisters. Something is shifting.
Ode to Hermes
We are thinking to ourselves, just as we arrive
in a deluge, well that’s just great, no raincoats, no umbrellas.
Proving again that we are water, proving again that despite all horrors
we are true & beautiful & kind.
Overcoming guru death, surpassing false idols of id,
we reestablish healthy boundaries,
we dance around the kitchen in socks and underwear to a mix
of guilt & opportunism of holocaust tourism,
inadvertently our travels will have lead us here
to see for ourselves what traces remain.
We place stones on Lithuanian forest tombs & mass graves.
We eat french fries doused in paprika & mayonnaise.
Let life grease its own gears. This is just to say,
please don’t micromanage or use me as baroque leverage
to circumvent the ornate fate of intertwined snakes
or any other gilded amulet of history.
Let’s just pretend it’s by design god & that I’ve designed this
shield to shield humankind from itself.
There is always the danger of too much
symbiosis. It is possible, also, I’ve heard,
to suffer from your own beauty
& that painting can serve as catharsis, as memory banks.
What’s one more notch in your Borscht belt? The levity
of those far-away Catskills that helped you forget the warped & waterlogged
wooden homes of the old country with their triangular roofs & lace
curtains that stayed mum, never letting on that a backyard genocide was going on
within our lifetime. Let’s paint an inverted paradise as a metaphor for betrayal,
a guideline on how to invite incantations of Baltic shamans
whose broken Sanskrit, gnarled ginger root knuckles &
withered leather satchels paint you inadvertently,
in the form of a red teardrop camouflaged
by landscape, lucid against the backdrop of biodiversity
in the pines, blending you into quiet forests of residual horror.
Everyone is born into a difficult incarnation.
Still, you’re watery, rippled & not fully formed.
Still, you swoon. Mystified by the psychic life of trees
& the unconscious, coniferous alterity of your soul, here again after so very long.
Hard To Tell
looking out on the verdigris afternoon fog as the fog
horns of the fishing boats coming in come in
with a fresh catch as though for the sole
purpose of interrupting a benign thought
about the substance of thought:
[if the substance of flesh
were thought, but limited
by space, then, would
this tender embassy
of love be impaneled
by an enclosure around
the tenants of the heart’s
by a stinted moiety
of the full capacity to love?]
and if so? what then?
would the bloated boatload
of fish come in any sooner?
would we have more things to say
over the phone,
over a silence that speaks volumes,
over the aggravating static
of a poor connection?
and to complicate things further still,
what is this walleyed locus of love?
who can say?
hard to tell.
the hackneyed libretto has them (us?)
still, yet again, on either side
of a tired wall with a chink in the flimsy plaster.
star-crossed whispers are exchanged and exaggerated
under the bored patchwork cloak of night,
where nothing turns out right.
you know full-well from the outset
their walleyed plans will fall through,
you know how it will end,
(badly, of course).
Still, all the same,
giddily, you want to watch from the sidelines
like a swarming herd of rubbernecking of angels
bloodthirsty and loyal; like a pack of wolves — but angels.
circling, circling, dancing, dancing
on the head of a pin, salivating for salvation
and a love story gone awry,
with eyes shining and fangs agape,
wings batting furiously against time
and time again stories;
stories of close but no dice nor cigar;
stories of so close, yet, so far;
stories of falling.
is this the compartment then?
is this where you’re telling me it lives?
really, is this what you’re really saying to me right now?
hard to tell.
Razielle Aigen is a Montreal-born poet. Light Waves The Leaves (above/ground press) is her debut chapbook. Her poems appear in Entropy, Deluge, Contemporary Verse 2, Ghost City Press, Moonchild Magazine, Train, Half A Grapefruit, Bad Dog Review, The Anti-Languorous Project, and elsewhere. Razielle holds a B.A. in History and Contemporary Studies from Dalhousie/King’s University, and is an alumna of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.