KEYS IN A ROW Perhaps someone will play a melancholy keyboard piece as I am leaving, and, stopping to listen, I’ll have a vision of what is to come if I linger, if I walk up to the player, wait, then ask some pertinent question with an eager mien, the seconds gone when I would have been outdoors in the clear, the moment interrupted with a careless insufficiency, the scattered patterns of my life converging into a broken string, a clappered wheel on which the hours tick and dance to their inoperable end *** to be released from a long slow slough, much of it impenetrable like the circle of a dream manifest as reality, frightful and avoidable, a bag in a corridor laced with shadows and squalor, which the mere eye of me is afraid to undo *** moving through the veins, a fire- ball with dim obbligatos and dark copper bangs, like old radiator pipes when the steam hammers at high velocity into their joints, warming the room and almost waking the sleeper from his sleep *** here in this morning’s morning self-forgotten sullen twang comes a star gilded and silver, climbing still like the pine branches tipped with needle- frantic green, yes, caught like a tiny chip on the great waist of some spectre surface emerging into the dissolving dark. LANDSCAPE IN FALLEN LIGHT, WITH CHILDREN Just an unimportant place, radiant and ordinary, deserving the utmost scriptory, with golden quags up to the knees, the sun blotting the lough like streaks of silver haze settling in a quay. No need for a raveled sky of quizzical significance, the wrangling heads foundering in the streets, questing the unending sop of memory and imprecation to put life into the big words, immiserating the ivory dungeon, as one antinomian calls it, reduced to bah, to babbling ooze, slightly ecstatic now and then, what is preserved when meaning is deflated, page after page, of invisibility, of pity for hope lost in hell’s sunken bolgias, or the faces strapped to the skullbones of the starving young. NOW THEN, THE OPEN EYE August’s close but I already feel the solitary cold, a sleepless place and zero of the night, like an infinitive without an end and half reluctant to begin. But solitude is just a postlude to the now where all the wrongs set in, a moment’s atom out of kilter, out of being true, where finally the heart may intermit its beat with careless equanimity or grave abandonment like a nimbus with its watery crystals of deep ice, washing the sorrows from your face, from all the lineaments of being you. VERISIMILITUDE After a passage from a novel by Virginia Woolf Somewhere in the middle I recall a brewer’s cart and the genial narrator describing the gray horses that had upright bristles of straw stuck in their tails like sprouting plumes above the small brown daisies peeping from their haunches’ clefts. And a woman, seeing this slipstream brook of burblings through her mind, immediately brightens, and sorrow drops away like a feathered colander sifting the prismatic richness of her life, kindling with equine pleasure an infinite hubble-bubble of mysterious commotion out of the pernicious flurries of gone time, a lollop on horsetail streams with straw-thatched coronets, whimsical and vagulous, like sea-green sprites, bedraggled by happiness and blessed with silly dreams. PROBLEM, SOLUTION, ETC. Her academic pedigree was impressive--Swarthmore, Columbia and the Sorbonne. But toward her hundredth year she confronted her biggest source of perplexity and vexation, the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest, and began her day with crossword puzzles, then the game shows on TV. Did she return to these as the day continued to impair itself by attrition? Ramakrishna used to rebuke card-playing oldsters— Had they nothing better to do on the verge of their greatest change of outward form or appearance? Are crosswords any better? Should Kurtz have done puzzles in the dark, filling words into a pattern of numbered squares in answer to correspondingly numbered clues to prevent facing the abyss before him, the memories in him? What is a six-letter word for a painful emotion compounded of loathing and fear?
Bio: Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky has published poems in over 300 online and print periodicals in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, mainland Europe, Turkey, Australia, and India. He is the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hedge Apple. A first book of poems, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City. He is currently at work on several poetry projects, including a poetry cycle based on Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. A book of poetry, Shapeless Works of Partial Contemplation, is due to be published by Ephemeral Arts Press in November.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)