Spring 2018, Volume 24

Poetry by Steve Mueske


What we're really looking for, if we're going to be honest
            with ourselves,
is a form of magic—although we won't call it
                        magic; we'll simply call it

“a serendipitous collision of living rooms” or “that posture
            in which tongues turn to water.” In our state

            of exile, of belonging to no one else
but ourselves (e.g. adrift on a black ocean
                        of ringing bells), we write our luminous names
on scraps of paper and send them like dreams

                        into morning, where we hope they'll bloom
on the faces of those who love us. “Good morning,
fellow ghost-in-flesh, will we squander

                        again the bracketed silence
between the first awakening and surrender?” O, parallel lives,
            all this time I've been saying
we, but I really mean me. Is this true for you

as well? Do you record
each designated path through [ ] as an aperture? I will never be
            you, you never me, each other ever
ourselves. Despite everything, this evening

                        is filled with fireflies,
the only form of magic accidence loves. Kiss me,
            my dear, my other self, before full night
arrives and clouds occlude the stars.

Sunset, Zeus!

Sunset, Zeus! is a practical term that means
To Climb Into Presence, Suddenly.

And suddenly, an appreciable difference
Between a kerchief & fire! One is a square of red;
The other, a square of red

Plus wind. Cameras. A crowd. The whole apparatus
Of documentation. And then:

After the quiet, quiet's echo echoes quietly.

This is when we plumb the cold water in pails &
Obsess over the loneliness of chairs.


The future, as we well know, is aromatic.

Through a torrent of dream windows
Starlings fly in to escape the cold, the moon is, if not
Absorbed, transposed

Into an old man tuning his banjo.

When wronged, we behave as ourselves, in falsetto,
In-committee, a tad knowing, a tad sure
Of the seismic package of starlight.


It takes more than hermeneutics
To reveal whether a spinning weather vane is,
In fact, a grainy metaphor for impending weather
Or a hair-trigger system of gesture & need.

Nothing is contraindicated by saying
Our monsters are kitchen instruments.
You can hear them rattling in the drawers,
Occasional, a bit so-what, but not without potential.   




BIO: Steve Mueske is an electronic musician and the author of a chapbook and two books of poetry. His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, Water~Stone Review, Hotel Amerika, Poet Lore, The Massachusetts Review, Thrush, Redactions, Crab Orchard Review,Verse Daily, and elsewhere.