Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Three Poems, Michael Begnal


Room 14
Someone’s in the other room,
the one across the hall,
*having a nervous breakdown*
and also making calls
(to Medea?), trying
to keep themself alive—
but in this room,
such gloom has passed,
and there is only
the white fitted mask of years,
the pages amassed,
and that kind of jive—
or, there is gloom too
sometimes, or soon: a trip ends,
the next one never begins,
yet the lens or mirror
remains un-cracked in here,
but it warps, slightly, in waves
Someone fumbling with a key,
a metal key, not a card,
in the doorknob lock
across the hall—what awaits
inside that other room—
love, a hag, a dagger?
I’ll not know, I’ll not
peek out along the brightly
lighted carpeting, the beige
walls freshly painted—
no, not fucking with that
now, I got the lean of the lines,
and the white-footed hind
dwells in here with me,
in no other room but mine

The afternoon rhythmed brightness
in what felt to be
must have been Santa Fe,
its old cobblestone lanes,
adobes, its flats
in the colonial-era Spanish style:
outside the open portico
entrance of my flat,
families strolling
on the streets,
the hillèd pathways,
in black formal attire
     —flying in, many-hued,
the hummingbird pair
flits among the rafters,
and the two bats appear,
one getting in my hair
the other down my shirt,
disentangled finally,
they perch upon my hands,
peering at me
with sapphiric ocean-eyes
Working with the medium
of light in the body,
waves on wet air
my work taken up
in an attuned essay titled
“Sun and Moon and Emptiness”
published in an anthology
called Spontaneous Oaks:
Art against Life,
by which the editors mean
not “against life” per se
but rather
the shit
the system yokes you with
(yes, “the system” is
still a serviceable term)—
the essay’s author
remains anonymous, dark

Michael Begnal is the author of the collections Future Blues (Salmon Poetry, 2012) and Ancestor Worship (Salmon Poetry, 2007), as well as the chapbooks Tropospheric Clouds (Adjunct Press, 2020) and The Muddy Banks (Ghost City Press, 2016). He has also written a critical monograph, The Music and Noise of the Stooges, 1967-71: Lost in the Future (Routledge, 2022). Twitter: @Michael_Begnal  // Web:

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