Poems by J.J. Blickstein

Elijah's horn

He dreamt that his ear was a small Africa.

His horn was a seismic instrument parting the water
in the boat that brought him here.

He played, superimposing the continent in his ear
to the soil beneath his feet, to reinvent the tired fire
of his mythology, to split the plum in the throat of the angel.

He pulled notes from the river. He parted the lips of the angel,
in his dream, searching the tongue with the original hand
for the ashes of its maker. He found only water, but he
was changed. He had become the water & slept with
the fingers of the angel in his mouth.

He played the air as if it were brass nipples of the saxophone
mutilating the lice that lay between the fire in his fingertips.

He designed a new sorrow in the circle of fifths
cutting his name into the lamb in the lung of the angel.

He set the landscape of the land where he was born on fire,
it did not burn but sweat the melody of its element
into a perfect sphere.

They, in the parallel water of the mutual dream, spilled out the formula
of the voice that formed the antique heart.

The angel asked Elijah if he knew the sound that would break
the lump of gold in the eternal breath & cut the blueprint in his vein
from the simultaneous.

Elijah paused, took the throne off his shoulder, away from his ear,
when it landed on the water it became the dirt at the foot of the door
in the angel's chest, his chest.

His face was in the water, the angel was in him.

* * *

He woke up humming the melody in the pearl
of his breath. He fingered the air playing the keys
like the breasts of a Siamese cat. The water flowed between his fingers
breaking the rhythm, disinfecting the small Egyptian wound in his pelvis
shaped like a flaw in the perfect rest. His skin sweat the feathers in his fury.

The sand in his cuticles had not been born there,
but rested on the floor of his rhythm, on & in the wet water,
burning the bridge of the journey into a million notes,
crushing the bird in the rose of his cranium.

The water was his wardrobe,
The angel his dresser, the water the gossip in the natural pitch.