Poems by J.J. Blickstein

The Photographer

He found the dead crow covered with a marquee of bees.
There were bees on the ceiling of the bedroom,
on the dust-storm at the base of his spine.

He laid on the hardwood floor & photographed
the discipline of the giving. He was at ease
when the soft bruise flowed from his mind
to his fingertips. He imagined the open window
as a plastic bruise, an invisible membrane
with the face of the wife.

The sounds of the bees were a horn of labor,
a simple song that pirated the lung.

The man that understood the doorway conjured
by the wings would walk his blight into the propeller
of an airplane. The drone in his spleen would be the pebble
that broke the womb of the stock-still water. And after, the longing
would paint his hair & the carousel of the bullet lodged in his heart
or throat.

The room had no telephone, but in his memory it was the bruise
in the rattlesnake, it could not ring with the abstract tone of the pulse
or the itch & fidget of the bowel tortured by sand. He would contact
the flesh of his necessities with his absence & with the smoke signals
he burned into the photographs of the made world.

He missed her.

He made his way through the world with dark humor, heartbreak & film,
chaining the disparate auras of the visible to the infinite subtext of the fly
in the soul. His images were our image of ourselves, our blood-milk, our
self-obsession, our faith in the hernia in the rock.

He saw no angel in the river, only her face. He cut
the face in the photograph. She felt nothing. He cut
it again. He would not bathe in the water. He would baptize
himself in the truth of the treachery of his photographs. He
photographed the execution. He would try to drown her
beneath the lens, in the water, but she was already dead.

He saw himself in the river.

The sunlight pissed through the window & drooled a spotlight
of dust on the purple crow. There was no one left to amuse. He
never thought that he was funny, after all, there was
a vacancy in his shoes, his staged death, his cannibal.

He picked up the crow with his hand crushing
a pair of bees into the eye of his palm. He walked
to the table & brushed the ashes of her effigy to the floor.
In his thoughts, he toe-tagged the instinctual voodoo to the scissors
in his DNA. He wrote on the paper "pillows for mummies"
& laid the bird atop the ashes & broken glass. He photographed
himself with the death on the floor. He felt the lantern
turn on in the flood at the village in his heel & then cut the Achilles
to draw the green in the grass to the fly in his blood.

He began to whittle away his toes, he wanted to witness the bones.
He looked at the perfect bird, there was nothing in it. He crushed the bones
in his toes & found no light in which to surrender, only the broth in his bones
with the tint of the water.

He laid down on the bed with the hammer. He found in its weight,
its chocolate rust, an interior canticle. He mistook the odor of himself
as the weapon in the boiling decay of the bird. The mind in his mind began
to hallucinate that the bees on the ceiling were drinking his pool of blood.
He saw himself as a pool of blood, dripping upward. He muttered
"as above, so below"-looked out the window & saw a river
on top of the river.