Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a poem by rickey laurentiis

Mood Indigo


How is it out? Is, from the sky,
water still coming?

Are trees out? Do you hear
their argument? Do you know

it for an argument: how to manage
(they are yelling) this weather?

Where are birds? Why are they made
clairvoyant—flitting off, fluttering

like leaves on a single branch: they know
to evacuate, to separate from the living

world, about to be changed, world,
and the trees—?


Though I cannot see you
still I know it is

you: man with the hard
kiss, the touch of Scorpion in his blood.

That means life for you is absolute.
There is either hunger

or no hunger. There is either a body pleased—.
You ain’t been blue, no, no, no: the radio’s

dim utterance—the sole utterance.
This dark house. The way we move,

aimless—is that an utterance? The dishes
slowly washed: ignorance or utterance?

The weather outside, weather,
and the trees—.


They are still trees, right, slamming the roof-tiles?
They are trees—the world not yet totally remade?


There is either a body pleased—
or no body. Violence

or there is creation. How are they out?
Not palmetto. I mean, oak. I mean, magnolia.

Aren’t they lonely? Don’t they feel somehow
cheated, somehow violated? Here is my body

for you to use and also to protect—that
was their contract with the birds, who are gone,

who didn’t tell us they were gone. Are you listening?
Can you tell me where they went?

Tell me of their solitude. How they share it.
Tell me how to be that alone

(here is my body, Scorpio, won’t you top it?)
—together and alone.


Is the body responsive?—your question.
But don’t you feel me? My body’s tremor?

My legs? My back-in-an-arc? Each trembling as if
each the alcove for where the birds go?


Splinters are not trees. Trees are not
flesh. Here is the scene:

Two men. Blacked-out. Half-embracing.
As, from the sky, falls the still-coming water.

Life is absolute. There is either danger
in this house or there is love. Either fear

in the radio’s voice (your arrogance will not
protect you) or there is love. Where are the gods

now, prophecy in a hard beak? Let them say:
Your body will not be spared. Let them say: Your life

is not recyclable like the trees.

"Mood Indigo" originally appeared in Ganymede Unfinished and PANK.

Rickey Laurentiis was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His manuscript, One Country, received an honorable mention for the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, judged by Claudia Rankine, while his other honors include a 2010 Pushcart Prize Nomination, and first- and third-runner up in the 2009 International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize, selected by Carl Phillips. The recipient of fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Rickey's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several literary journals, including Indiana Review, jubilat, Knockout Literary Magazine and Vinyl.

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

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