"Spectre," "Desideratum" and "Magi"


As if his wounds are
family members, he’s become
kinder since his accident. Sun’s
heat against her back, she gazes
down into that curtain
of mist in which -- enmeshed,
glimmering -- stands the giant of
herself. Walking hand in hand, they
spin round, thinking they’ve heard
French behind them. He takes his own
life not long after creating
the blue in those windows,
as well as -- above the infant’s
head -- an amber halo, last
piece to fade in dying light.




Pauses between minutes, hours.  Effacement
of canons…that bewildering record of
rulers, wars, idolatries, and
Procession of torches winding
up a mountain path.  Page emptying
into a fold, into a marsh, into
a charm.  Tearing alongside the creek, chests
heaving, snatching a
snapping turtle out,
studying it, dropping it
back in…spittle upon his beard, he
scrabbles at the gate doors…




Once again, climbing over
anyone necessary in order to
reach the highest moral ground…longest,
most elaborate, most sophisticated, and
lacking any sincerity…
Scholars’ elaborate
come-ons create their own gravity, tepid,
echoing.  The empty tent appears one morning,
so they try to fill it:  plants, veils, hoops, curtains,
shovels…pitcher, wheel, and golden bowl, all
Odd how imagination falters near
the summit…alert to any spiritual
and intellectual current; restless, eager for fame…



Joel Chace

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as Lana Turner, Survision,  Eratio, OtolithsWord For/Word, Golden Handcuffs Review, New American Writing, and The Brooklyn Rail.  His full-length collections include matter no matter, from Paper Kite Press, Humors, from Paloma Press, Threnodies, from Moria Books, fata morgana, from Unlikely Books, and Maths, from Chax Press.  Underrated Provinces is due out from Mad Hat Press in 2024.  For more than forty years, Chace was a working jazz pianist.  He is an NEH Fellow.  Joel recommends supporting locofo chapbooks.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, May 23, 2024 - 21:10