Somewhat Gray and Graceful by Michael Anania

Left behind. Consider the frayed
horizon and the likelihood
of birds. Someone in a photograph
glances upward and flight

extrapolates itself as a story
proposed by one thing and then
another, each surface accomplished,
each act a definition, the self

in a prospect of birds, flight
arrived at in the unconsidered
assumption of flight, finches
sprung forward and eased against

the edge of sight, the improbable
reach of this and that, somewhat gray
and graceful, doves in their white rush
like breath anticipating speech.

Incidental Music
for A.K. Ramanujan, 1929-1994

i.

stylus bobbing
above dark vinyl
like a dragonfly,

Mozart, then Horace Silver,
their bright waters,
onyx spun across shale;

it must have been
the basement
used record store

on Hyde Park Blvd,
hubcaps and wheel-lugs
at eye-level; cities

seem so purposeful,
their musics half-formed,
urgent as traffic;

lake effect snow–
the day not quite cold
enough–brightens

the pavement only
momentarily, laughter
and exhaust plumes,

their sudden clarities
passing; across the Midway
science and industry twang

ii.

what flowers should we
drift along this course
of dampened asphalt

in your memory, Raman?
mullai, kurñci, maratum,
neytal, each blossom

a precinct in song:
forest, mountain,
clear stream or dark sea?

and what transpires there,
a bird among the millet,
peppervine and palmyra,

their moistened palms
extended, fresh blossoms
and finger cymbals?

in archaic Tamil, then,
“what he said,” “what she said,”
generations of poets masked

along the stations of song;
nearby the city’s improbable
flock of brooding parakeets

stirs a sudden iridescence
above bare box elder
and salt-nettled pines

iii.

the faith we have
in song exceeds its
melodies, notes struck

in speech we only
imagine speaking;
music surged then

hand raised in breath,
stylus fingered above
syllables, not feeling

merely, but how we take
its measure, pronounce,
inadequately, patai,

the fifth region, flowerless,
a place of separation, note
held against emptiness,

a saxophone sighs, steel
brush on brass, the beat
extended, patai patai

petals opening iridescent
birdflowers city singers
are blowing in their hands


Issue Two

Editorial: Archipelagos and MFA's

Babylons: The Conclusion

Russian Poetry Now

Michael Anania

Joe Francis Doerr

Catherine Kasper

John Matthias

Orlando Ricardo Menes

Jeff Roessner

Reviews of: Janet Holmes and Stephanie Strickland



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