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Sample Poems by George Kalamaras


This Being Human



We shall slip the unrestricted dagger into the sunflower's furry delirium.
The ranunculus sun shall sink into the trenches of the moon.

Many moons, many microscopic worms, as if we were born of Jupiter.
Jupiter, the controlling planet the ancient rishis called guru.

Toward the shredding of the body is an arrogance of salt.
Smell me, touch my, mouth me toward dissolve.

I wish I could trouble-musk the moon into my very.
Skin of me-be born of myself, through myself, the way the bark of a tree grieves fire.

Poison, then, the ivy of my passing. Postulate my mouth.
From the ocher robe of soft brown planets of the blood, we remember what it was like.

This being human. This touch and tough of tongue.
This always begging. This human reach and sting.



Our Various Sads


Now we come to the study of skulls fragmented and repositioned as bones in the hand.
We come in torrents. We come as a torque converter. We Saturn-turn our various sads.

We query. We querulous. We fret over the quenelle.
The dumpling of forcemeat is bound with eggs and poached in buffalo piss.

You garnish your wrist with chervil, check your hat for the green felt of a hypothetical imperative.
I have forgotten the way hypnosis can fracture into hypoplasia of the left wrist.

Now we torrential. We planet-turn. We skull-step the grass growing up through the bones of a possum's head.
We relinquish even the hyphens and express connection by passing coalshaped stones through a gland.

Do not lose your footing while trimming back the dumb cane. Do not worry your childhurt, even your speak.
We come in torrents, all the while talking ourselves back into the birth bag and out, all the while trying to talk ourselves whole.



Birth Chart


It turns out the birth sores were real.
I cannot recall if it was the father energy of Saturn darkening my sun, or that unusual Capricorn moon that slipped shyly into my sixth house.

Barely. The lunar light of sadness made me adult even as a child.
How my mouth, my fourth-grade depth, my awful, and my almost.

One day I awoke just beneath the bones of an old Tartar warrior.
The next found me buried in the backyard with the bowls.

Once, the mere mention of the word absence was enough to make me crave a sister's suet pudding.
I was handed a clay mug, instructed on the anatomy of the breast bone of an owl, and dared to climb out.

There's no such thing as a bad moon; my teacher said all conditions are neutral.
I love my moody lunar drift, my balanced chance and oceanic depth, my sad and alone and watery and sometimes awful.

Here, witness the optimistic Eros with which I aim high.
There, see my Sagittarian self draw and shoot as I come again into the body and somehow childhurt survive.



Piranha


Hand me the piranha, but avoid the death of my acquainted self.
I showed you only a schmear of my bitten onion breath, and it was alive with virus.

You approach the project of listening to me as if it were love.
You unzip our rapport, poring over the figures, making strange moth-against-autumn-glass mouth movements.

Yes, I have been accused of sad things, even of a relentless mixing of metaphors.
Part of my sadness is a vision that refuses moon-madness and the settling on a this or a that.

Dichotomous or dichotomaticity?
Two times two times two suggests the infinite weight of an entrapped 8?

I have come through with my mind separated from the temperature of a milk snake.
I will undertake the infinity of toast, reclaiming the sour smell of yogurt with vanilla.

Hand me back my freshly severed hand, though with what will I hold it?
I keep giving too much of myself away, letting you undo, even, my trousered heart, letting you trace the bloodlines, plan my hands.



The Cosmologies of Sexual Congress


Apparently I was busy last night while I slept.
I woke to letters from John and Patrick-that I had been in both of their dreams.

I'd dreamt of Gene Frumkin.
He and Alvaro were back from Spain, and he was reading poems in the backroom of a restaurant.

Then Thomas McGrath arrived with Moroccan oranges.
I was embarrassed to be among them, with the sweat of garlic at my groin.

My report cannot-will not-be official.
There are two whooping cranes in a forest preserve in Illinois who practice invisibility.

Strange need of impossible fear, how might I dull your pinprick sweat?
We are alive for such a short sound we cannot possibly remove our scar.

The compass of my heart keeps turning in all directions at once.
That's one explanation for why part of me leaves when I sleep.

I admit that I practice austerities, that the cosmologies of sexual congress, when retained, leach into my brain.
A woman with perfect breasts keeps handing me an orange from Barcelona, and the juice of all I could possibly be drips down my chin, across our mouths.