if we think of history as a bruise, and it's not much more than that--a soft, yet hyperbolic sign of trauma past--then what is a black eye? the night sky. the origin of the human constellation. i think of eurydice, wife to orpheus, cut down early by snake bite--and her eyes once greciangreen (verdigris, literally) reduced to shadows. poetry is the redivivus ritual in vain, the orphic plea to hell that even sisyphus pauses to weep at, the irony of hope, and cetera...
my sonnet errant was the ultimate of a series of elegies to my son written in the months leading up to his birth (which happened to occur in the dark morning hours of father's day eve):
sonnet errant after forty weeks
sancho, would you deliver these for me?
two flatrate boxes full of rain
saddle up your straus
and walk on aphorisms--long knobby legs--
from mountain top to top o'er the valleys
the quixotic wind is at your back
singing early one morning, new world rag
would you kiss me gypsy rose
and whistling dixie
that first time with maria was
like holding out an apple
like changing from an aspen into a willow--
you laugh, but it's all over now
metaphors breaking like waves into each other...
could you give her these, she's expecting
now that he's here, a few words about my son: jackson is wide-eyed and almost amphibian. he still doesn't know that he has arms, not wings. and he is ignorant to almost all the music around, except the original sound--mama's lullabies--into which storms and trains, the television and the awkward gait of russian grandparents on hollow new england floors, are all translated.
his first time to the beach: last saturday. his first storm: the day before. his first fireworks and second holy day: tomorrow. it's all one to him, the eternity of hunger and the eternity of feast. the inevitability, then the ignorance, of death. i love to hold him when he sleeps, while he's dreaming of sucking on...something, mumbling, the uneven breath, the trembling eye under its lid. he's still sensitive to the ether we take for granted, out of which mushrooms are growing in spontaneous corners of the bathroom, through which lightning is running errands between the street and sky, ether that gets heavy and light as clouds turn the dial. but he's slowly coming out of the fog, forming habits, expecting ritual returns, building on that basic unit, the lullaby.
he's smarter, handsomer, humbler (a hundred times!) than his father, and has turned every beautiful gene his mother gave him into an improvement on an obsolete model.
я могу смотреть на своего сына до слез.
there is still about half of the original edition left of 'nursery rhymes,' the chapbook of formal invenziones aforementioned that were written for jackson in the nine mnemonic months leading up to his birth. you can order a copy ($3) by e-mailing me at email@example.com with an address.
james h. stotts