"palmers" and "nearness of"

palmers

 

on graying   outer wall of the shed       patch of cold   dry
sun
                     and turns out they need a house for their home       too
bitter-damp by the river flats       plus  now they’ve chosen not
to speak the town language       and have even rejected
that narrative that rejected them
                                                               in mole-manner   the
smallest child seeks but will not hide     for fear of being
sought
                             once lines  —  of water   light  succession  —  waver
dissolve     a readying begins       the little one asks   “Will you take  ——“

 

*

 

from the time the Holy land came into the hands of
the sultan   it was   and remains   excommunicate
                                                                                         when
any traveler receives his license to go there from the
Apostolic Father   there is a clause in the bull
to the effect that he shall not buy or sell anything
in the world   save only victuals and clothes and
bodily necessaries   and if he contravenes
this   he is to know that he has fallen back again
under sentence of excommunication 

 

*

 

even if just a patch on that weathered abandoned
shed   the sun never knew how great it was until
it struck the side of a building
       it gives the wall
a consciousness
                                     but it appears they take themselves where
taken       their destiny is all that’s behind them on
the road       and that child’s voice   not even a memory
within an architecture of raw air

 

*

 

the party with which Margery Kempe reluctantly
travelled to Aachen begged their way   and before entering
a city deloused themselves   which suggests the
appropriateness of the bequest made in
1474 by a widow
of Hildesheim for the provision of two
“soul-baths” for pilgrims on their way to and from Aachen
 

 

*

 

dust     gravel     lucky hard-pack       feet packing hard along
a road
                    if there     if there are those who’d wish
to succor       but because who’d not do rule       yes   do rule
                                                                                                        if
you can’t pick up the cadence     check your own step

                                                                                                Hector’s
dead run around the outer walls     with his destiny
right at his heels
                                     but in this other case there’s no
question of running       no longer even fear       their
destiny taking form behind them     as they wander on

 

*

 

did the world need the Fifth Symphony before
it was written    did Beethoven need it    he
designed it   he wrote it   and the world needed
it    
                   desire is the creation of a new need 

 

*

 

solemn pilgrimages are when the pilgrims   having
received leave in their parish   with cross and holy water   are escorted
or accompanied processionally on their way  

 

*

 

a perigrinorum sepultura existed at Broni   where
Contardo d’Este   on his way to Compostela in 1233  
was for a time buried until he was recognized to be
a saint and translated to the church itself       the
story of his sickness and death amounts to a novella
illustrating the trials of the moribund pilgrim   left
behind   with his consent   by his companions who wanted to
fulfill their vows   and inhospitably ejected from his
lodgings since his sufferings were troublesome to fellow-guests  

 

*

 

here man performs the six works which God orders   lest  
when the day of Jubilee should come   he be
adjudged guilty and a Pharisee by the faithful  

 

*

 

theory of this flight       reason       reason not the need     reason
never reason for such quick leaving     such journeying
                                                                                                  blight
of a land       hand to mouth       lightness that quickly
becomes heaviness     sickness of spirit     leeriness of
light
                   children of night   with its cold urgencies   bleak
comforts
                        their weak   old and youngest   break backs
and hearts    
                                o don’t       o do not reason the need

 


 

nearness of

 

wants to hear all the music again       wants to
listen   again     track by track     movement by movement
                                                                                                        once
not knowing how near ending could feel       once     listening
to a movement     without feeling how near ending might
come                hearing     thus     without clarity       wants
to track feelings       not scores       wants to move within the knot
of scores of feelings
                                           wanted     once     only to follow
a movement to its end              then move to something
else       some traces on a surface       some without
                                                                                         now       without
ignorance of ending       wants out       wants without       a
without that’s just as much within
                                                                       except
                                                                                                     also needs to
feel certainty of altitude       as much depth
as height
                                        or whether all’s surface       upon which all strive

 

*

 

the hunch sweeps round a corner       and its brunt       panic’s
tempest-crest       smashes

 

                                                                so that       now       wants to count
those crunches   dunkings     drownings    
                                                                              needs to number       to
number     measure     weigh       those hints
                                                                                       to feel whether
all once colossal has become a hamlet of runts

 

*

 

needs to figure how       without uprising   scorn or
scrunch       the dunce returned to table       where he proclaims
that ending’s false     ending’s not     ending’s only
language figuring in fear     trafficking in
sorrow       that tomorrow     tomorrow     tomorrow
will follow       ounce     ounce     ounce       of relentless gladness

 

*

 

doesn’t want number       wants figure       wants to find a
figure     or figures       doesn’t know the number     one
two     three     clear   or hazy
                                                       doesn’t want to know
                                                                                                  wants to know

 

 

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as The Tip of the Knife, Counterexample Poetics, OR, Country Music, Infinity's Kitchen, and Jacket.  Most recent collections include Sharpsburg, from Cy Gist Press, Blake's Tree, from Blue & Yellow Dog Press, Whole Cloth, from Avantacular Press, Red Power, from Quarter After Press, Kansoz, from Knives, Forks, and Spoons Press, Web Too, from Tonerworks, War, and After, from BlazeVOX [books], and Scorpions, from Unlikely Books.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, October 8, 2017 - 19:59