Untitled by John Peck

Veniceís last
treasurer
disrobed one night and bathed
but did not rest.

The treasurer
of Venice
who came last had prepared
an accounting, sure

of the next step,
unlike
the Chinese minister who
intently steeped

his tea on rising,
not knowing
whether he would survive
until evening ó

he was at it,
warming
his pot, when from behind
he was beheaded.

The last treasurer
of Venice
took nothing, practicing
disvestiture

as he rowed out
making
for the Lagoon, raised canvas
and cleanly slit

the moonís gold track
for where?
What do we mean pointing
Adriatic

gropingly, thumb
blueing?
He had committed no crime.
We have no home.

His oars were not
muffled,
the sail bellied mauve and orange,
maps have no feet.

Veniceís last
wentó
joy is another world
next door, one must

set out for it
when
the time and the accounts
have settled that

between themselves,
the final
manager read that signal
when sun dissolves

the remote lion,
or perhaps
the puckery domes, banner
bright and then gone.

ź

Past these four walls,
a road,
Norway Spruce, stacked rooflines,
then the hills.

But try again:
do I wait
trying these limits, or sleeve
home to them? On

past this glass burst
the extinctions
of stars and men, and their births,
and, unforced

because it goes
unsurveyed
as knowing, goes a knowing:
that none of these

lends a name to
the flame-sound
streaming beneath and through them
as bond, nor to

the seeing that burns
calmly
across them; that light rodding
the lofts in barns

streams in oneself;
and that
space buoys up the spark
of home in the gulf

of appearances
to some end.
And this is what the soul knows,
and what it is,

though by the drum
scattered,
by the sword broken, Lhasa,
Jerusalem!

Heraclius
had come
nine years before, returning
the True Cross.

Now his own people
saw him
wait at the Bosphorus,
Constantinople

not far, in terror
of the sea.
They built a boat bridge for him
and screened the water

with palisades
of branches.
He was dead three years later.
Across reeds

in the salt marsh,
threading
filaments of a wall-hung
forgotten torch,

the secretóthat
the full
manifestation is
what is and that

its images
are
where you are though you be
covered, rages

or contumelies
hiding it
in the kernal of your fire;
that the armies
must come home;
and that
I am, and shall come to
know that I am.


Issue One

Introduction

Babylons: Poems by Michael Barrett

Piotr Parlej on Zagajewski & Polish Poetry

Adam Zagajewski

Stephanie Strickland

Reginald Gibbons

Göran Printz-Pählson

John Peck

David Kellogg

Ken Smith

Jesper Svenbro

Kymberly Taylor

Ilya Kutik

C.S. Giscombe

Reginald Gibbons and Rosemarie Waldrop



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