LA | NY A Special Edition of The East Village

Jen Robinson

Pieces of Nine

Five-and twenty heaps of cinders
Fall along the line.
Alone we range, even
The outcasts of beasts outcast.  Sea, horizon,
Gannets, cormorants.
We come here
By books,

But let us to particulars:
I am a user of language, yellow and dark.  A fabulous hue
To the dreamy mind, a mystery never solved: never
A thing: not paint but brain.  Devotion, incantation;
Written formula designed to produce an effect.
Estoy encantada.  Like sea-glass

Transformed apace into a craggy keep,
We sailed a gray day in the Solent,
Fetching up in a shuddery cavern inhabited by
Three dozen shoats, a steer, and a couple
Standing by a broken down car;
Dim raining, swung hopes, those
Who do not use "ing" words, and above, more
Birds, sky, distance.  This is not forthright
Which apologetic, I apologize.  You are not the only one, my dear,
Who cannot make it cohere; we cannot make it anything --

How we get there, we alone know.
Afterimages of pink sky in our conversation
Thursday, different souls.  We are many
And one, and do not always get along.  Last night, for example,
We compared colognes and whether we sleep on the floor,
A boundless watery Kentucky before us --
Like the time when New was always right beneath your elbow,
You had only to turn your arm to pluck its skin.  Fire and demons
Occupy the gorge at the top of the mount now, striking their anvils
Epiphenomenally; red is not a neuron!  Synecdoche of mind, ablaze in
Synapse and chemistry, dense like wood only discovered
In 1670.  That sort of thing runs in the blood, and may be seen
In pirates as in poets.  Meanwhile,

Lying becalmed one morning:
A good daughter is a bad son.  A girl does not
To war, not to lineage.  A woman is not
What she seems to be.  But don't take my word for that.

Freebooters at large: once
Shriven, we wring the wimpling wing in our ecstasy,
Off forth swinging on a skate's tail as it shimmies in
Low water, shine sparkling on breakers.  Since then,
We are chidden of God, and frequently show off
Our knowledge of 'pre-Modern' poets while referring to ourselves

Hereby hangs a history.
Now you know my sources,
If not my dictatorship, my canine companions,
My anarchy.  For there is a riotocracy in my soul where we all do
Just as we like; we banish us temporarily
From our island with regularity, inviting us back
When we feel benevolent.  Occasionally we keep us as

One hundred hostages
Underneath a shooting something.
A blend of pink sinks stunningly.  Up and
All around are trails of spinning darks, lovely,
Lovely.  One must find the channels
In order to navigate them; all the sextants in the world won't help
If we don't know where the stars are.  Who can say
If geese enjoy a sunny afternoon at the beach?  Suddenly a ball
Of a foot appears, suggesting to me a new word
Of comeliness and variety -- isinglass, or what you might find in

A vitreous cove --
At six bells we the crew are called to dine.
Time we can employ or set aside,
For true there never was that wasn't tried;
With twine a man can tie or plumb a line.
This song was bellowed far below the fin-
Ger painter past his prime; while guttersnipe
Goes well with fear, mofongo (that is, tripe)
Is best consumed with angles and some gin.
A heart an organ red with blood.  A rose
Whose thorn is pierced will green and sap spill out.
A sneeze (a fountain from which phlegm will spout)
Is more a heaven than you might suppose.

And jelly between retina and lens
Reflects the humor in the light that bends --