Poem from:

Grace Must Wander by Stephanie McKenzie

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Glosses for Theo: An Evangelist Among the Miners

McKenzie, Stephanie

    for Rex Brown


The hasbeens, junkies on the road to Damascus, lord
how their hands bleed as they hit the ground sowing. 
Some call it withdrawal or a kind of weeping
but it was the ecstatic flight of the mind that brought
the tempest to Delacroix.

Flying with angels bewilders. How it cuts the heel, liver,
the feeling, the walking alone a sandy lakeshore morning
ready to tear the hair out if only there were no people. 
And the drivers! Lord. How they come from behind us
spewing airs as if exhaust scarved them by the throat.

They could poach you, too, you feel and duck in the down,
feathers somewhere in there. This coat shelters the once
most amazing of birds, but they have been suffered
like stew to the pot.


And dying in the sky, trees tell of lost love. They dance
on a wind left over from happier times. How the birch
stripped of rights reach out their skins for deliverance.

We ponder flowers for a smell. The stench of ground is sometimes
not fit to bear, so we turn up noses, walk away idle
beside the threats of daisies. They strain to speak, pour stems
into the ground as though the humans were milk livered,
proud, too full of envy to give them any pause.

It’s as if our minds are clipped with hooves.


I’ll be straight. I do not wish to die, nor does any one.
But god, to have relief from things...    


The birds. Their chests puff out as though they challenge
us, as though clotting on their little claws was growing
blood, as if Christ were dumb to it all, fist shoved in his face,
asleep at the wheel.


Sure, the taking and its manner... It is the weight of thickness, blood
thick, paint thick, globby, like string thick, with guilt, gelatin, potatoes.
Time. We wonder how we will be fattened.


How the night tries us with lampposts and leftover trades. 
Knowing of sawdust, two-by-fours feel a little off kilter
stocked in tomorrow’s pile, the panel board heaped in a dump. 
Gangrened like the toe of a coffee pot worn and not
one of the wash-out kinds, forgotten and juiced to pulp
in the back of the alley, night is arms railed. Such beauty. 

                 Black blue, dark-green blue, blue black of feeling,
the helmeted of churches bronzed years ago with faith of metals,
souls of gold.

Copyright © Stephanie McKenzie 2009

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