You are reading Fiddleblack #4
The hat I wear, this beaver thing, blocked tall as rooster caws
mid-morning; this night it will not move from me. More toils
it takes, more viper coils and rings of years of bursting heat.
Artillery hard-driven, tombwards, magazine I am, and black with
bullets, drugs and curses, armaments prepared to stab, smite, strike
out any life. Already native, well-tuned to affliction, almost
handsome; sick only with openly vetted sores, wellings and
psoriases; I permit myself the vice of theater, although citrus lights
cannot bring men to peace, harming more eyes than coke fires brighten
gloomy factories where bodies harden and forge cannons, guns and
engines of war havoc. There are fog souls I have seen, worn
winter amputees–joint shoulders only–set adrift battalionless,
frightwork of resurrectionists set forth to ambush my soliloquies
and speeches, housecat tread more delicate than breath. We halt,
exchange looks, nods, or sometimes cutting words of consolation,
solid clouds of violence in the liquid air–statues striding out to sea.
Book, delay me. Patient I will be, player of Cancer ballads,
necromancer no quill can scratch nor rapier pierce, burnt-world
Atlas. Have at me, sting me to health, smother me in the hour
witches immerse eel morcellations and brood hatch of salamander.
Joint me before my rigor rite begins. This coal still living, through wind-
starved and shiver-thin; I seek no evil, ask only for oak wand enough
to ward off idiot, brute, lout, brigand; to spell-link leaded bull and codicil;
to wax waned gibbous backwards to full orb another hour–a final whimsy.
Page, sustain me as I scan; ingrate, malingerer, self-pitier, yet wanting
to write once more. Tell me–I will hear it, ivory horn set to my ear–
what word wafts now? I die walking, this new eye-wearing midnight, blind
with conscience; breath Paraclete through me. I pledge to speak you well.
Machine-rain puddles after midnight, cosmetic-withered
lips; your germ engenders our sour city, its salt and ink
industries, widens slender streets. Bone hands quaking, set
dorsal, ventral, searching out some inner itch; ruin rises up
inside you, singing vowels, commas, dearest partings of
the body ready and laid open, tabled, named. Liquors poured
aid not against such typhus, gout or tubercule. By less-than-
antique names, miasmas waste as many lives–rose flaming
prick of them–go as all come–slippery and careless of bed-
ware, smooth leather case the urn to which it slithers, leaving
dower of its offing in the shape of esemplast, so bald and damaged
its ghost issue. Your peeled hull exposes bone of amethyst, kidney
of sun quartz, heart oozing outward, oil fire aflap amid dark ribs, dim
golden thorny ardor. Forge-borne European, iron-crowned and ox-
idized; enameled luminosities glint forth and pour rain kingdoms
of fair light about your scalloped head, resplendent, narrow-nosed, thin
in the front, though seldom fluidless. Once webbed ice flanked, sheer
theater, about you, gale winds stabbed wounds and even-colder openings,
encrusted trees with sleet until war-goblin squadrons, basilisks and filed-
tooth wild men wandered in search of sanctuary from the hurt, frost
burn wedging hard against them, splitting fastest locks, until knees
buckled, became log-legged. All fainted forward. Leave berth now
for warm-weather moons, nuns seated on park benches, monk clutching
leather safety strap, overtly happy now that three-times beaten, free
to repent yesterday’s harness, born to live. Ship must somehow ever take
to sea, drop net, send cipher over whale-road–Lalage! All life must barge
through night’s debris, bare splinter-heated nerve, weigh anchor and be
drowned in bright impossibility. Spout forth your perorations. Beneath
God’s eye, all inkwells equally dry, lest he fail to work word miracles.
Set up gantries. Raise fumes that waft, drift gaolmost. Birds-eye autumn
worms may digest psalteries, two-hearted men may not abide love though
they issue its banalities, sufficiently wizened, each his own school of heathen
architecture. Their iterations may resound, lies in midair. Mind such chatter
not. Stock inner books against their breath, hold fast to the abscissa. Glass
banister it is. But firmer rails await you, surer stations, better deaths.
Brian Kubarycz lives in Salt Lake City, where he teaches Intellectual Traditions for the Honors college at the University of Utah. His work has appeared in The Quarterly, Puerto Del Sol, Black Warrior Review, Unsaid, New York Tyrant, and other literary journals.