Issue 1, Poetry

Middle Voice

1. Lust’s Rages
Not drunk on you but summoned
I heard the old call sounding from deep beneath the folds of the made world,
The call to stop fucking around,
To wonder,
To emerge from hiding,
To fuck.

A thing like beauty awakens a body
And what awakens bodies is what exhausts them
And what awakens in a body knows no day or night, only endless exhausted morning
And the lovely delirium of vanity
Which graces both sleep and sleeplessness
And finally enacts their unity.

I am tempted now to catalogue, among the further unities
Some spirit achieves by moving blood around in bodies,
The unity of power and its abdication,
Of selfhood and communion,
Of trembling and firm,
Of prophecy and fraud.

But we all know temptations to be truth-tellers
Who know our bodies just as well as spirits do,
So we must use temptation like a mirror:
Study its gifts of longings for other longings,
Study long and well, and sometimes in solitude,
Or else our summons, heard, will go unheeded.

2. The Seasons in the City
Winter comes and goes and still I don’t know what to do.
The ribbed and riveted sky is brightening, brightening, blue.
If you were here, I would drink you like the water
In the mason jar on the windowsill,
But the words aren’t clear because the lights are out
As I write my doubts about who you are
And drink my fill.

Spring has troubled the air.
Humidity and impatience arrive with the buds.
The weary, wired carnival prances on.
I, refugee from my own mind, find sanctuary in the abstraction of the page.
“Whoever you are holding me now in hand” is a weak alias.
You: yarn spun by firelight, embedded, embroidered—spilled forth by my hand—
Into, onto these sheets.

Now the beguiling languor of summer.
Sweat. Dips in the lake after work. The water went from icy to sublime in a week.
A parade watched naked from a window.
A moment on a porch: contemplation of adventure, the pursuit of danger. A glint. The memory
Of bewitchment. Its mark lasts longer on you than you think.
Avoided calls. Distracted reading. The sounds of a ceiling fan.
Heat waves and cold fronts do battle like armies on a plain.

3. Night is the Bringer of Gifts
The people strip, or don their sleeping clothes,
In a great slow wave around the world.
The contagion of a single yawn ripples like whalesong in the ocean of their million mouths.
(Auden not so long ago
Heard it on the Aegean slip
Now through night’s caressing grip.)

Nothing stops. Nothing is stopped. The middle voice drones on.
How you spend your time is your business (is time a business expense?).
Oil sounds. Moon sounds. Mud sounds.
Moon pool with nobody
All cops are bastards.