Claire Marie Stancek
from WYRD] BIRD
I woke at 4 and believed that all of my thoughts were little bloody teeth, so I tried to collect them in my fingers as the first predawn
expectation lightened the window from grey to lighter grey. What I wrote with hands trembling hands is now illegible, except one
fragmented passage about the sea of sleeping lapping the edge of the sea of waking, two chaoses without shore. I wrote lying down,
my book on my chest in the dark, and as I watched the shade of my own hand faltering across the page, myself somehow wrenched
out of myself, I no longer knew my own body, and I had the feverish conviction that something else aside from—or outside of—my
mind compelled the pen.
Do we resent our permeability, you
loved me best in dreams in dreams. A rusting tank on the cargo train, everything empty
everything all the time. Among the violences of our love. When travelling alone one joins stranger families. Or, the families of strangers. Permeable in time. Parallel tracks, a child’s stare, and then a woman slides her finger under her watchband, rubs over her wrist, under the band. As the light changes, so too does the world underneath. A field of wires, what some call power. Along familiar paths of feeling, I taste the future, I / what taste, not ash/ ash.
Blood seeps through to the other side.
I don’t believe in “Satan”exactly, but down the hall someone went dragging and grunting, as though pulling a long bag.
Times I almost text you. The wyrd in the trees.
Whose unmade remembrance, in the station I wait for no one. All the memories are behind scaffolding, behind the door painted orange. A sign says to street as though making a verb of a direction. But here, looped wires hang from the ceiling, an unremembered plaining fills my heart, and the voices from the radio merge with inner voices. Shattered glass bordered by blue tape: sunwrought web.
And again today, Hildegard’s vision of night arrived with night: the darkness grew and spread farther and farther across the air.
And I saw massive, tank-like machines turning over the corn fields, harvesting corn, and I saw fields dotted with hay bales, and I saw families of cows, and soon I saw fewer trees, an almost indecipherable change, and soon a strip mall, and then a movie theatre, and then the highways seemed to thicken and choke the view like metallic snakes, and we were in the city again, stuck in traffic among towers.
Would that the song could take some pain away. But music adds more to what’s already more in the world. Keats got a crush on someone he called a nymph and wrote her a slightly insulting sonnet because he liked how her mouth parted as she listened to him. because thou listenest is a phrase that slips honey soft from syllable to sibilant syllable, and it’s true that much of Keats’s beauty resides in the masturbatory sensation of being made aware of how words feel against one’s own lips and tongue. I want to believe that there’s something communal even in solitary pleasure. Keats loves to write about his own hand writing. Keats’s hand is warm, Keats’s hand is holding a sticky oozing nectarine. But his earnest grasping is also a messy and overexcited reaching out:
Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I’d better
trust to my feelings, and write you a letter.
And the bottoms of the clouds were flat as though to mirror the landscape. And I saw the shadows that the clouds cast.
But what, without the social thought of thee
would be the wonders of the sky and sea?
Claire Marie Stancek has published two previous books of poetry, Oil Spell (Omnidawn, 2018) and MOUTHS (Noemi, 2017). She has also co-edited an anthology of Australian poetry called Active Aesthetics (Tuumba / Giramondo, 2016). With Lyn Hejinian and Jane Gregory, she co-edits Nion Editions, a chapbook press.