James Meetze

[T I TA N O M A C H I A ]

         A tree grew me; I was green and wood.
Parents run amok          in the twittersphere.
Tectonic plates shift          our relation
to the world          to each other
no ballast to hold
to carve runes into.
Whose fault is it we fall
         out of ourselves?
         Here I am           only a tick-
mark on a ballot, hung chad, long vowel
in an imagined electorate
falling further into otherness.
         It was the clock not fallen back
that told the future prescient
         the future deserved.
                    The fricative word, flesh-
pressed air          into O                    and through.
It is not my voice          who speaks
through  the same portal                    as my voice.
What we say is systematized         is entered into
the will to do to run to say:

                    nobody has the right to rule.

City swallows its children
storm drains dump          into our screens
even stenciled curbs tell us
we are all just desiring-machines.
                    Can’t buy
demiurgic will          without selling soul
first American rights
already sold.

+

I am most myself when with you
I am almost                     evergreen light
in every not-blue thing
in this new Middle-Age,
stuck between dark money’s bracket
and radio silence                    reality so impossible
to comprehend          I can’t help
but comprehend it.
          Robin says           LOVE IS FORM
but we’ve lost the world
structure, lost the word
friend, lost the connection to cosmogony
but some say we, some can, some hope.

                   Who can swim this Charybdis
                   and make anything
                   like a modest middle-
                   class life?

          O valley                    splay          spill homes
from hills          into grid night                    inaccessible
to us, an oppressive force
that ruins everyone’s party.
          Even gods find fault
in the space between earth and earth
in the not-to-touch
two bodies split
by force
and fury
                    O valley museum
meridian car dealership corridor
the air fractures brown then clear-
ish: shorthand for
dollar store plastic baskets
in the widening gyre.
          Every body is erased by itself
even love a simulacrum          even home
is only the idea of home
the image of an ideal life
reversed.

+

          I tell myself the truth of it.
                   I truth myself into it.
                              I try myself truthfully on.
                    I too want to truth over
the family schema on a paper tree
like a vintage map to the stars
exed out          and corrected.
I want to work to win the heart
          but lose
and think, why do we ascribe such power
to injured and healing things.
          Why can’t we fake our way
into the collective unconscious          wait
we totally can.
          Parents too easily fooled
too pale          to know the face
in the moon                    is an  other
is a mirror’s reminder
of the previous day.
The toll it takes
stays on
in the chemistry
of the body
waking

into life like a day-burned room
blinded by fire from a dying star.
          Truth isn’t any longer
a thing to seek          or write toward
or make into a headline.
It doesn’t matter
matter in the instance
the great unknowing.
Fuck it. This is a poem for no one.
This poem for everyone’s after.
In the wreckage of every city
family, friendship, and fight
if some earthly forefather of mine
stormed your homes

tell me I’m not alone.




[M A N D A L A]


My shadow is inside me
like mitochondrial DNA.
I can’t step outside its double
though I want to be other
than just a body
subject to the sun’s affront.

I take a word from the sea
the word sea.
It moves in my body
because I am word of it.
The center of an orb
everything else around it.
This is how it feels to be
in the core, surrounded.

Initiate to hymnal introverse
I feel it in the space between me.
I feel poetry as an ache.
The gods are as guilty as anyone.

X out the array, end order
in the world around us, entering us, O.
It is the same story
we buried and exhumed
and buried again.
A forest of trees ripped with wind
a hand full of dirt
a new knell to grow.

 

+

Jitters in the halcyon body
shaky with a case of the futures.
In the radial proximity
an eye’s iris gray-green
the color of democracy’s end.
The city at the center is retroproductive.

We celebrate the smallest victories
the manifest chance of the other
shoe dropping.
What circular logic
always brings me back
to myself, only older?
Are these the  rings
I’ve carried with me?

The problem of the mirror
isn’t the poem peopled with singers
but the face of the clock
age and youth and passage
mistake for a linear thing.

There is a shape about decay
to play to spin dizzy out of
the lyric and into its secret
saying, whose machine is this?
I am Optimus Prime
and I will dance around
your lifeless body. I will sing.



+

In the minor rift, we are
enfeebled machines of unmaking
what we have made.
Earthly element, glowing dish.
Thulium gray expectation grows
into all-day screentime twitch.

In the air, I am pierced
am points of entry
have taken your pain
as word into me, as wand
susceptible to energies
wind encrypt with want.

It wants to be made word
our dim unfettered id
collective undeniable act
arrhythmic arc.
Just time will tell
the circle’s purpose.

If dry biblical names for trees
if I am coming toward you
as an answer, I am not bound
in my body’s ability. Energetic air
encomiastic disc in which to draw
in time the word, around
the thread, the face
between these others.



 

[W O N D E R  V A L L E Y]


What is the poem made of?
Wood           quartz           poppies
          glowing on a high desert ridge.
Tangled light           uncomplicates
          life           the best medicine
you say, is the sun
and sure.
If he          If he drives a chariot
          If we must say father
the poem must eat that word
          and cough up a god.
Hills ease into their fault
          sprung goldfields and purple
          convene ephemeral
                    the séance          the breeze
the fucking neighbors scream
this isn’t supposed to be the air
the poem is made of
          All that the father hath
is mine          say it           granite sand
          temporal heart and time
enduring time.
We can’t
make
it
stop.

Postmodern rain in me.
Not for clouds          not for love
never from the inside out.
I say through
I say through
the poem the wonder this perfect black
field of bees          Hades never had
          power over          So let us go lie
down in the curtained light
of early afternoon
and look at our phones
our accumulation          of likes
the instance of mourning
doves’ coo talked over
in an anti-voice
in salt          flat          abundance.

          So many filters to see
          so many reasons for
          proprioceptive lack
          in public          space
          and so vast an area
          to vector.


Whose fault zone
          is it anyway? The slope
                    the fields, the gold                we came for
                                                            is this single
                                                  name for flower.
                                        Its biotwang a behavior
                              of uranium-sick
                              earth-sprung
                              life.

 

Every love multiplies like cholla cactus
breaking into pieces that never let go of skin
or denim or dreams that recur and warp as if to punish
the psyche for being itself, cholla like, multiple, and traveling to you
or you or you. Witch in the desert. Witch in the harbor. Witch in the cross.
Witch in the city of witches in the valley of wonder in which we forge
whole new hermetic rites to join, enjamb inveigle the breeze-
blown floral crowned fated to a future like I’ve seen
played out and preyed upon and riven
to fear the wind scorpion (solifugae)
to love the poem you are in
because it will take you.
It will call you back 
into your truest
openmost
uncanny
self.

James Meetze [pronounced Metz] is the author of three books of poetry, including Phantom Hour and Dayglo, which was selected by Terrance Hayes as winner of the 2010 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, both published by Ahsahta Press. He is editor, with Simon Pettet, of Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems by James Schuyler (FSG, 2010). His poems have been translated into Spanish, Turkish, and Croatian. With Ken White, he is the writer of the short film, The Conservationist, which is currently in development as a feature-film. He spends his time between Split, Croatia and San Diego, California, where he teaches creative writing and film studies at Ashford University.