Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stephen Ellis

Plaster of Paris

        For Enyalion as medicinal ecstasy / Enyalios – Pharmakos / before he became, 
        as Mycenaean / Ares (Mars), the martial action we / know as war.
                     --Harvey Brown, In the Branches of the Upper World


A lighter blue
than grey settles

out as morning
comes to formless

form, and a nature
that works as

well in us is
the happiness of

God, where
black narcotic

fingers twist
the key on an old

kerosene lamp
by an eastward-

facing window,
and light rises

in my heart
and in eyes

that have seen
the mechanism of

a death that is
forever impermanent

and in penumbra

a madness
that draws itself

up within another
dark September,

a mercurial silver
in the lining

of the night that
reflects in dream's

obsidian eyes.
When death dies

in the human,
when humanity

presumes to die
out for not wanting

to do otherwise
and refuses anymore

to forge life's
signature across

the pale rise of
perfect cleanliness,

what can grow?
There is only left

to blow a hollow
clavicle to herald

a Spring that has
no soul within which

to flourish, unless
the heart harden

against the heat
its circulation

provides: Boats
float on the basis

of displacement.
The Other is just

those fellows here
about my

living history
that stare like

snakes into
a night's bright

stars from
the chariot of

my body, whose
flanks are long

and perfect white.
When you are

no longer you,
life begins to die

into knowledge of
mortality's wonder

at how long it
has to wait to

realize just how
short it is. We

come to our own
demise too

soon, too soon
to have either

the pain that is
all too brief to

relieve itself,
or the relief

of which there
happily is none.


The runes in
the book close

my eyes and make
my lips move

over pale walls
to help an unclean

yet cleansing
sweat emerge:

A pale and heaving
belly, a house

upon a hill. My
fingers freeze

and authentic
electricity refines

my Fate by
trammeling its

and spreading

crushed violets
and mint along

the floor of
the Underworld.

The underside
of the bowl of

heaven goes
porcelain in my

kitchen and gleams.
If not here, where

else would I
be in order to

do what needs
to be done in

order that I hear
my departures?

Day is done
but how we

never are is what
day's demise

reveals. We
disappear within

our bounds.
Our outlines

are what we
stiffen ourselves

against, and what
we always

have been, are,
and will always

imperfectly resist.
Limits are what

hold back the sea
so we can

smell its smell
beyond it.


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