as if it mattered

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the night tears away
like a match, billowing
and booming in
movie stills —

the mind, a hand turning
images, sepia
and azure blue.

something slips on nights
as these, the track of being?

i sat in the car all night
nearly frozen, alone
surrounded by the machinery
of worry –

she had left

this storm is dark, I am
a character looking for a line –

what is the meaning
of this storm and rain
and why is my mind
fixed on it?

as if it mattered.

 

 

poem by chris woodhull / art by mark rothko

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solvitur ambulando

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never lose track

of your shoe-

 

laces in the

hand securing

 

the knot guided

by the eye

 

from above.

 

 

 

 

chris woodhull

 

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on the surface of things

 

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I

In my room, the world is beyond my understanding;
But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four
        hills and a cloud.

II

From my balcony, I survey the yellow air,
Reading where I have written,
“The spring is like a belle undressing.”

III

The gold tree is blue,
The singer has pulled his cloak over his head.
The moon is in the folds of the cloak.




poem by Wallace Stevens / art by Danielle van Ark
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Apollo

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We pull off
to a road shack
in Massachusetts
to watch men walk

on the moon. We did
the same thing
for three two one
blast off, and now

we watch the same men
bounce in and out
of craters. I want
a Coke and a hamburger.

Because the men
are walking on the moon
which is now irrefutably
not green, not cheese,

not a shiny dime floating
in a cold blue,
the way I’d thought,
the road shack people don’t

notice we are a black
family not from there,
the way it mostly goes.
This talking through

static, bounces in space-
boots, tethered
to cords is much
stranger, stranger

even than we are.

 

 

by Elizabeth Alexander

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je suis

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you

the invisible
who-ness
is present, bidden or
not bidden, so

i admit to feeling

(you prefer
lower case i’m guessing?

i do)

your nearness,

much more

than God – is that your father:
enormous, cliff-
like, unknowable shore line
everywhere and nowhere
or did i make him up? – and

you remain unseen yet noticeable
and quiet, as a young
girl, painfully shy

supine?

and here:

are you the swing? are you the hush?
are you the dusk

light, and why is your name such
a problem? i admit to feeling un-
comfortable with it
in public,

aloud

i don’t mind thinking it

je suis is as close as i get

why do you keep
showing up discernibly concealed?

what did you learn as a human? and
what do you continue to learn as a
God-formerly-human-yet-still-human-but-waiting-
for-something-i-don’t-understand-to-happen?

you are
the missing
person who
i look for
everywhere
in a stadium
crowd, far off,
other side of field
eye contact
we locate each
other, impossible
to talk, we wave,
sort of, our
gaze in a
pause
held in that
small holiness

just seeing you is
seeing me

you are the being in
a person without a
body, right? though in a
body, is that it?
that certain near-thing
we know is distinct
and unique
in me
here

like being in your own car, your own pew,
your own bed

how am i
doing so
far

stop me if
i’m going
to
fast

 

poem by chris woodhull / photograph by kumiko ishigaki

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for days now

 

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for days now
i awake in
emptiness —
not unlike
fear, a kind of
vacancy

as if
flying
above an ocean
with no map or
navigation, only
fuel enough for
the remainder of
life and

the silent sclaffing
sound of the
propellor

the sea, a flat
horizontal of mottled
filigree, blue in green
spread between

air and floor

why remain in flight?
what is this in me that wants
to wait and see?

 

chris woodhull

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wonder

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sometimes in the day,
sometimes at night
I walk outside and in,

all around the wooded property
not looking for anything
in particular, nothing really

but this and that, hoping,
no, not hoping: wondering
if the incessant searching

or hunting or waiting
for something to happen,
to move, from beneath
the thing I call my life,
will give it buoyancy.

 

chris woodhull

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The Red Poppy

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The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.

 

Louise Glück, 1943

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erasure

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you left —

that is how
it should be

a cantilever
reaching toward
a ghost

 

chris woodhull

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glance

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glance:

she looks my way
and i look hers

eyes open
as windows

without a word
we think —
who are you?

windows open

eyes turning elsewhere,
mind moving
into privacy

where we
sit and
think about such
things as meeting

strangers, new

friends we
may enjoy —

i sip coffee, she reads

wondering and wondering,

we both
return home.

 

chris woodhull

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