Poetry

        Quantum

 

If you were to wait

For an act of magic

To happen of its own

Accord, a diamond

Jumping out its box,

You would have to wait

Forever; but shrink the box

A thousand times and more

To something too small

To see and the diamond

Would leap out suddenly

With the whole web of stars

Shifting imperceptibly,

No one would be the wiser:

The sky would keep its color,

The human pigmy would eat

And fuck, and fall asleep

While the dark ladders

Climbed up about him,

In the thicket of hours

On the edge of empty space

“Quantum,” Grain Magazine Vol. 42, Issue 4 (2015): 86.

        The Library

 

I had never seen

such a trunk before

the wet, black bark

sleek like the skin

of an animal in the rain;

and instead of leaves,

its branches bore

drops of a purer water,

liquid orbs that hung

on all the outer edges

of the oak, like glassy

evanescent beads,

their self-contained

synthesis, wholly separate

and lovely, and I lonely

behind the spacious,

terrace windows thinking

the thing’s vastness,

and my own poor words

falling from the object

and objects balanced there

 

And I became aware

of others, like myself

who want the view

and come to read,

someone now sitting,

or speaking on the phone,

a woman folding

a wet, blue scarf

intent on something else,

and smiling at that sight,

and I pausing,

wondering what to say,

the world growing

with the mind

and becoming wholly

self and real,

like the rain beading

on the tree, bringing

its weight to bear

without our consciousness,

but beginning

to fall down anyway 

“The Library,” Grain Magazine Vol. 42, Issue 4 (2015): 87-88.

        The Mercurial Man

It takes so much to make

The human engine sing

 

I’ve been breathless between notes

I’ve felt the metal hum

Of pistons, wheels and gears

Burning the inside,

A fire that demands a price;

And though I reached up

Into the ideal night to pray

My words still fall in scores

A burnt-up year thrown

Like refuse to the side;

I ask: what is its name

That cannot bear the breaks

And runs so recklessly?

He breathes my very breath

But doesn’t have my fear,

And when I close my eyes,

I hear a dark wind blowing

In the corridors of sleep,

The final chamber filled

With the friction of the earth

And all the doorways open:

I ease my ragged chest

I put my little words in place

And push beyond the pain

One foot set before the other

 

It takes so much to make

The human engine sing

“The Mercurial Man,” Grain Magazine Vol. 42, Issue 4 (2015): 89.

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© 2019 by John Michael Corrigan