From Revelator



on in or about blazes
molten edge of the sun
spurts – the plane banks left
below Lake Michigan’s blue-green
sailboats speckled in the glare
architecture matters when nature lacks
features – Hermes, is it, atop
old Monkey Ward HQ, not
some other Adonis, great brakes
of the wing flaps rise,
indoor heat, door frame’s height,
“Swap Swamp Swells” sells all,
tells less, nightmare with flashbacks
figures precognition, people dropping naked
from rooftops (“When I saw
water pouring in, I knew
we were under attack”) attempt
to reconstruct the sequence, build
narrative bridge, classic Bob, air
syntax out, neighbor waddles out
to fetch paper, hard copy
is old copy, cold stone
atop which to scoop even
colder cream, white chocolate kisses
battered in, the maple reddens
while the oak goes yellow,
all the others already leafless,
lifeless on the street, yellow
tarp atop the torso, hollow
lung hollers for help, envision
this all without sound sung
deep in glade, inaudible oriole
aria as an arch aches
stretching across its trestle, test
the tree stand’s strength before
adding tinsel, glass balls, small
ornamentation, avoid clusters, clutter, dis-
in distribute understood, but tribute?
That is harder, I hear
wheels across the gravel wet
with a dense fog hushed
then digging in to turn
then softer, the newly paved
Goat Hill Road, river makes
a natural border, already icicles
hang in the woods, grey
is the late autumn forest
reduced to branch & trunk
I stuck by the plan
as it by me, hark
as syllables harden, to shape
shifters shaken shine, consonants lock
into crystalline scene, saw
inch from the trunk’s base
before setting into water, upright
encircled with light, you stir
“much mice in my mouth”
the bed too firm, impossible
& I too tired drift
book still in my hand
sleep at first sitting, green
encased light over the washstand
behind which thin pipes tangle
into the wall, fog’s light
shadowless, soft, the day muted
llamas in the next field
beside the alpaca, the sound
of water in pipes rushing
as others waken, our bidding
or theirs, again to disturb
invokes the lost root, I
sigh, superfluous lamp, light enlarges
an otherwise dark room, winter
sun, smeared, muted, infinite grayscale
the-night-before-last’s luminarias
(Lois, am I leaping?) lit
now only in the mind,
deepset rocker, heavy furnace hum
behind the next wall, camelids
in the pasture turn staring
at the man downhill gathering
patio furniture up in advance
of the forewarned storm




[Ron Silliman has written and edited over 30 books, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 12 languages. He was the 2006 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, a 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2002 Fellow of the Pennsylvania Arts Council as well as a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 1998. He received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010. Silliman has a plaque in the walk dedicated to poetry in his home town of Berkeley, although he now lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania and works as a market analyst in the computer industry.]

Copyright © 2011 by Ron Silliman, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.