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, June 10, 2012

Mark Scroggins

George Bush

drink you, he says, drink my oil
consume my heat – break
            your ears on words
            of consternation, flails
of knotted cords, squeaky-clean
mandibles or hands – which if they took of
moderately, in antique measure, might
                        break, unbalance or siphon off
the bile collected
                              in those administrative bourses –
pearls we do not feed to swine,
                                                     but display in
rapt aesthetic gestures,
                                        totems raised above the trees
flags whipped to shreds in a data
storm, Permian sirocco of leaves, pages
            register ribbons and plain paper
            facts – press your nose against the casement,
            little furry one, add your cry
to the bruit in the street, baked goods
                        and costly fruits de mer
when nothing is unclean to us,
                                                   each dish defiles
            by its meager gratuity,
                                                 token leavings
and irrecoverable totals
                                         a bitter color, magenta
tonality – open my eyes, small friend,
            and help me extract the obscurity
                        from my father’s gates

            Humanities Research

            Flesh marble of the bath
            laved their hair exfoliated their backs
            so that two guttering candles
            then one alone cast bright
            ellipses on the conjugal ceiling.
The goal was to singing dance
across a shimmying quarter-deck
lightfoot passing from wall to rafter
while six discs shuffled them
from windy New Brunswick misty
Northumberland to melancholy swamps
of doo-wop the Romany klezmer
fiddle-accordian.  Red pure as blood, though soluble,
                             black and white checkerboarding
                             the goofy pantomime faces of beasts
                             and birds.  A flushing of excrements as glib
                                               as the thrust of missiles or pounding
                                               expensive lubricated machinery.
Hat on head pen pressed in hand
he could bleach places names identifying
marks more surely off the page
than the collapsing building “vaporized”
eight hundred carcasses, shifting their
debits onto a separate account.
                             Detailed expensive the automobile
                             spins noise from the water
                             beneath its tires its shining
                             engine a sealed, solipsistic hum.
                                               Exceeds its pellucid prose.
                                               Skips its composition. 
                                               Stylometrics inferior says P. Arbiter
                                               to close reading (old news
Broken-backed similes to tie
            floating pictures together
                        asserting unlikely consanguinity
she knits big words to little
            a fishy taste to the water there
                        air conditioning pressing you into
a borrowed sweater on hundred-degree
            days Measure that man’s life out in linear
                     feet numbered boxes personal
                     effects stored in an off-campus
                     location:  his reading glasses his silver-
                     handled stick his vast collection
                     of smoking pipes inscribed first
                     editions the elaborate custom writing-
                     desk and quaint typewriter displayed
                     behind a warning tape They must have bumped
            into one another going to and from
            their interviews with surviving intimates
And it’s all built on oil.  Clowns and curling ivy
            in marbled composition books, letters typed
                        and manuscript, carbon copies and browning
ancient xerography, right hand on the head
            of the youngest son.  His son wanted to be an opera
                        singer.  The guy in the mailroom
                                     plays in a Tejano band.  The ah-hoo
                                    of the polka, identical from Paris,
                                    Texas to Minneapolis.
                        The sheeps’ and goats’ heads ($5.99 and
                        $3.99) intended for some regional
                        delicacy.  Remove the fell.  Layer the leg
                        with slivers of garlic – all over.  Somebody
else’s coffee maker, someone else’s
            dishes and towels.  The torture garden
                        is okay, but the computer pitted skips
                        and drops out at the worst
                                    moments.  The rain beats
                        against the screens.  The beautiful ringlets
            of the Polish woman in the reading
            room, with whom the whole cadre of pale-
            bellied near-sighted note-
            takers seemed to have fallen
            in love.  The caves are clammy dark
                           and deep but the giant armadillo
                           blue and pugnacious shaking
                           spears from his back
                           is a fake.

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