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Stephan Kirbach

Portrait of the Artist as an Animate Friction
Whereas, to trace the infection known as progress, here, God comes
again as brune Gilligan, stumbling under one globe and onto another, but thinking
little or less about planets.
He marks, thus, the moon as nothing,
another rock, a kind of blindness and basis

for blame, and in this he is not uncommon. The view, were
he to say, so to the south or, whichever way see, a waterless shore, bares
a dead and colorless terra infirma collision of crust,
a dubbed and denuded seismic locale

without color, the brine long rescinded then rid, and maybe that's why
he carries those crayons.
Give him, instead, a bucket of mud.
Give him harsh, a month he can call cold, or give
him pacific, a winter day in which the sunlight perforates what
yesterday shuddered; and thus flies a bee,
an authentic reminder of a world out of whack. Nobody minds much, on which finger he lost
count of yon morphology, those things that come from a riot
of carmine and puce, saffron and
Nobody knows better than him how to stare into the sun.
Perchance this Gilligod embodies a phallic biogenesis bestrewing his profligate chromosomes,
because once he engaged muscle,
and after he hastened a blade
into an earthen moist and unbaked aggregate skep, and after he ceased completely to ponder and instead applied the absurd, he augured apt
where the stuff comes from, twat
pottery chamber, shape he and hive
semen, an insect cadenza,

the making of which may never agree with the skeptics.

My middle name sets out with sealed lips

as a hum in the back of the throat, a singing. The tongue
is flattened, at rest. The teeth are slightly apart, while
the jaw relaxes. In silence this name remains an abstraction, but as it is spoken
aloud, the throat complies with creation in the genesis of the naming to follow. The
Phoenicians, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, "named the sign mem,
meaning water," and it appears as waves. Water exists as critical in all myths of creation, and in
the Bible it exists in the darkness under "a wind from God sweeping over," prior to his
first utterance, prior to his call for light. "M' is likewise the first letter
of the first sound in the music of words. When the lips open, the sound remains in the back
of the throat, and the tongue retracts as the vowel becomes liquid, consonant as the sides and the tip
of the tongue curl up, slightly, toward the hollow center of the mouth, and
the thick back of the tongue rises in distinct contact with the raphe at the rear of the hard
palate, cutting the name off: "Mark." This word reaches away in the breath
with a physical gesture of touch, an initial act of spoken acknowledgment, a definitive
self; and, consequently, it indicates a certain approach to the mind as a thing
which is not sequential, and unable to contain an inimical chaos of open
contradiction, as "to mark" literally functions against speech in a preference for writing, a fundamental
trait which feeds this speaking as a divisive and an aggressive event. As an illustration,
I submit this glance in to my pocket, an empty and intimate distraction, a lull that opens
in, and out of silence. One word, and then, as an appearance between my first
and my last names stands an executioner: "Mark." I study the subsequent semaphore, the violation of an immaculate and an implicit hiatus, once begun as a gesture, the first sound "Mark" in an otherwise absolute
vacuity, and an obstacle exists. And it's now that the line must
be obliterate, as "No Trespassing" signs are often not enforced, and since once expelled
from Eden, an avowal of confusion and disorder at heart leads toward a tit
-for-tat cycle of violence, a tongue-in-cheek and a paronomastic disturbance.
Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man

"There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow."
Clearly, the man is a fetish, iron
studded with spikes, a bone tree who, striding
the aisle, comes from another, a Stygian
realm. Some speak of a mortarless tower
of stone. Fiddle tune after tune, he sheds
a strange ocher dust in the thrust of his
passing. Gravid pull and concomitant
orbit, his sinews take measure, tread flung
wicked, thigh feathered, web foot. See, he moves,
but he does not move. The thick-throated force
of some mean beast, hirsute and nothing but
husk, dirt worked into a hide, a certain
heft liquid seeps into the ear, and the virtual
radiance of that which he renders askew
now glowers within his lascivious temper.

ecce homo

Maybe he's fifteen in
his anger and bending
into the snow, a snow
as consistent and regular, as
an ocean of dust,
and underneath abrupt
dirt hardens into an ongoing iron band.
there's nothing
in this country but
an unrelenting will to wrestle.
In some state of mind or mother
wise, a place unwitting
or even in an
other upper forty-
eight around an iron
range, come cold, arrive a rock
solid and squats upon
region four
months or, mayhem remoter, a boy,
by way of Bob, having the ordinary
forearms of an unwilling
stint at shovel, the paws
of which he's only
holding two,
whereby the palms and fingers
hook the right around a red,
a plastic handle, and then what's left
around a shaft
of ash
turned forsooth and sanded nether
ended, that red rectangle of sheet
aluminum and not
unfamiliar. It would seem the wind
encircles the house with
a shipment of whiteout
additional to that horizontal blast
of glower cloud unseen
now singular with dark and only
dumping wicked mantle
barrage harden
and semblative
of nothing. The cold
so snow it squeaks
and ne edles shoving and
shivery circuitous, the hard bit house, it winters,
ecce homo 2

an only inner calefacient mom, which
merely emits edicts that
the boy need moil and with one
shovel budge for almost
ever that the dad may place
his auto under cover when he
copulates by Christ.
Sinewy, for sure, the boy,
and slender frame concealed inside all
his clothing so he stiffens
as he staggers, the wrapped
and wretched fellow wand
decays with wind and
whammies at that
unrepentant yard-road
alfresco even as it thickens
fast and thereby stacks up on
cement. A wind
which hauls lackey
pain and perish and,
any human feature
could be considered distant if
wind did not slam steadfast
into the face and sneak
underneath the shirt exigent,
a cold world, Curtis,
a piece of ice,
a cunning other tongue.

Tailor-Made Contemplative
3/4after (eating) Yeats

A coat found around
a dead man no longer
warm. Either. I made
my dog look at it, a strange
bundle of song, a stiff
coat and stitched with new
fallen leaves. Do you
remember when those Cannabis
embroideries were popular, a
kind of testament, I smoke
pot, so call me an out
law? No, he wasn't old, but
why did he tumble? I wondered.
By what lethal mythologies
did he come to resemble
a potato from heel to
throat? But when
he wrinkled, my dog shuddered
and recoiled, considering
resurrection's nest and with
what fools we affiliate. The
dog caught the scent then, a trust
the dead man wore. A pallid
moon, it thrust out of his frozen
eyeball (the other focused
on pavement), a dumb stuck glance in
another world's din and thundering
at theory. Who needled his coat
with leaves, and had he
a sister? He had been a
painting they'd wrought in
some emblematic family. It hung
without ritual, without
an inscription, a song to let
go and take what comes,
whether it defines a loss
of pride or otherwise. Out in
the street I went walking the
dog, an enterprise usually
without incident, but this
time I shivered in walking,
naked and unknowing.

Gunfight at the Okay Corral

Because you are a cool bird, even under
fire, Woody, and we all know what that sounds
like, a singular wind, bottled and tearing
up in an eagerness to arrive, a hiss,
and then the splinter of cement, pieces
piecéd into dust, and followed by
a high pitched humm--Okay Woodpecker,
the bastinado boys, the Earps, alack, arrive again
unghest and we stand underfund in ammo;
plainly, someone must formulate a plan.
And, as I expect you to, at any moment
and, unbehest by other outer urge,
to render those most wicked sticks, the gravid
mother's sons of birch into the chipper,
as always pounding face, rapid with the weedy
eater, you can imagine my dismay,
my utter inability to read
aright this course, the secret meaning, or
so say, my total lack fatall, for sight
which whither them that in deed sent the stupid
waves of lead which even now, do deepe thee
puncture, that feathered fervent abdomen with
several bloudie woundings, a lovely riven bird
breast which never now whilome roar canto
come run and then, alike Achilles, thunder
at those wretches and, with humor, wholly
fitting, your pointed fury slake.
Woody Woodpecker shakes it off

What belief we have in birds,
a bird plies haft repute,
mien rapier an antique swagger; or
so he was expected, but he's been shot.
Recumbent in the dust, the perforate
bird vests cataleptic eyeballs twisted
in, and then revives when doused with
runlet discharge, horse trough
fast into the face, and then he ganders.
Plasticine, at undertime, his guts thereby
reseal. Whereof that Earp be greatly gaunt,
that fiction now, so inly smot with aw,
he fleets amazed across the dusty plain,
his fright complete, and weeps without his maw.
As having two four-fingered hands,
as fabricate of light,
yet fully apt at pecking head,
Woody chortles into flight.

Email: mornac@buncombe.main.nc.us
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