Author: Mark Kerstetter

(after Cy Twombly)

So long
C Y
long so sigh
in all fours
solo slitherer

C E R B E R U S  C H A L K B O A R D

muddy sneakers
polished floor
a long slide

[home? no, we’re not there, i’m not there, still in school, in front of the blackboard,
writing a hundred times, get it right, godammit, this shouldn’t be hard, maybe i’m already
in hades, can’t get out, can’t outsmart teacher—bitch-breathed, serpent-ended,
omnispective and soulless.]

so long
C Y
past a steady keeper’s hand:
a wedding band
and regal sheets
untainted
so

[virgin sheets? are they ever? tabula rasa? or always/already written? is the task to
discover what’s already there or to rewrite the new? do we black out the purity when we
write or do we make a human space in the perfect void?]

long
Y O U N G  C Y

whose balls bounced
through marble halls
danced tumblers
of liquid yellow
suns
a squirt
in discerning eye
cyclopean circles
in jagged staggers
on sober frames
time, Cy
and memory

[but whose? the greeks and romans are names only, scratched in the sand on the edge of
the sea, your paint does not reach them, nor carry me there, it keeps me here in the
everpresent of a child’s scrawl, not even a barbaric yawp but the glee of a kid playing in his
own shit—without the glee—i’m an adult godammit, too big for this chair, can’t find my
locker, books gone 100 times 100 times]

scuffed
in the crust
of profligate paint
neither Dionysus
nor Apollo
but a cerulean flow
past pallid crowds
and yawning guards

D O  N O T  T O U C H

but you married the Baroness
shat cadmium lire notes
no question of mess
taste for waste
but time, Cy
and so memory
long scuffed
the edge of a sneaker
slide
into first
base

 

Contributor’s Notes: Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write poems and stories and to make art out of salvaged wood. Please visit him at markkerstetter.com.

I.

He was tethered to possibility.
But his body, neither spring nor anchor,
would not allow him, without letting go, reach
the instrument broken at his feet.
He held but a fragment, a mere stick.
Caught comical, pathetic, useless stick hovering in air,
his eyes rolled edge to mirror’s edge,
his tongue swollen, filling his mouth
like a piece of rubber.

It goes without saying shoots browning in the field,
while green swamped:
it was Springtime.

In the towers, highways and public squares everyone saying
everything that had ever been said,
he told himself, “say nothing,” or “awake from history,”
or some variant thereof.
Engaged to silence and unfaithful,
his thumb jerked toward the wide world,
and smudged itself.
His befuddlement took on substance,
clear as a shadow,
inescapable.

II.

As one man looks at himself
all others pass through his gaze too
yet, if he follows them,
who is left
to complete the spiral?
First of all children,
then those digging around in tar pits
under a blazing sun,
alive to ask the question:
beyond the black edge of brow
is only blue sky and clouds
but why, Thamyris, say “only”?
For it is the field upon which everything begins anew—

As it is.
Even a stage framed in black.

Down in the pit the musicians make ready to play,
waiting only for the conductor’s baton.

 

Contributor’s Notes: Mark Kerstetter steals time away from restoring an old house in Florida to write poems and stories and to make art out of salvaged wood. Please visit him at markkerstetter.com.