Marsh Hawk Review is an online poetry journal sponsored by the Marsh Hawk Press collective. Marsh Hawk Review will appear twice a year, under the revolving editorship of collective members. Each issue will offer a selection of poems solicited by the editor, in addition to new work posted by poets in the collective.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Peter Nickowitz

Jerusalem Song

(after Sylvia Plath)

These are the mind’s construction stones--

built, as if reliquary themselves.

Cold, blessed.

I compare them to teeth,

infused in cigar, bold-boned,

dyed-in-wool, coffee-toned teeth.

They could be my grandfather’s—

row upon row

climbing along the Old City’s wall.

If I were historical I’d come armed

with scrub brushes and Lysol.

Instead these stones are transitional

and wind between their crevices

imitates music.



I awake and jump to find coffee, knocking you back an email

thank you note, reading: it was great to see you

in and out of your hat. You should always wear one. Does anyone

still wear a hat, drawls Elaine Stritch on “Company’s” original cast recording.

The subtext of this note: sorry I’m so difficult. Apparently still going

through puberty. At 40 culture of the unsaid, breeds, stay alive.

O to break loose from the confines of you-ness and me-ness. Oneness

our goal, time and my mood swings, the goalie. When you are in

me I say your name three times as if I say my own. As if I

say be with me always. Tyranny of the unsaid, the left behind

in yesterday’s slush-snow.

What’s the difference between you and a symphony? Between you and a concealed

weapon? Am I more of a player than a play for the love of drama? I don’t even know the difference between you and typical dramatic structures?

O just tell me, what’s in a name when each morning I awake to a different one for you?

Digby or Montgomery. Justin Cleave. Sprocket or Lorazepam Mike

(why not, then, Lorazepamela?) or Allaster

Rutledge which is ridiculous because you are swarthy Sicilian, not Scottish,

both are “S” places, or something other than the thing you

are which is Tony. Which is not only slang-short for Anthony but also the Antoinette Perry Awards. They give them for a good, live

performance, like Oscar. My Tony isn’t any more adjectival than I am

though it is also an adjective: fashionable among wealthy or stylish people, as in

La grenouille is a tony restaurant even though grenouille means frog

which isn’t a very tony thing for just folks like Tony to eat. Tony’d know

if Elaine Stritch won a Tony for “Company.” Not that awards other than you

mean anything. Afternoons like this I can’t remember

what QED stands for. Queen Elizabeth Demands. Quick n’ easy

dinners. Quiet electrical days. Quadrating elements demand. Quicksilver

effective disorder. Queen Elizabeth’s decolletage dictates, dines, diddles, doesn’t,

define, drums, or daggers, QuED QED QED QED.

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