Sunday, June 5, 2016

Poetry By Catherine Kyle

Catherine Kyle holds a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University. She teaches at the College of Western Idaho and writes grants for The Cabin, a literary nonprofit. She is the author and illustrator of the hybrid-genre collection Feral Domesticity (Robocup Press, 2014); the author of the poetry chapbooks Flotsam (Etched Press, 2015) and Gamer: A Role-Playing Poem (dancing girl press, 2015); and a co-editor of Goddessmode (Cool Skull Press, 2015). She also helps run the Ghosts & Projectors poetry reading series. Her graphic narratives, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in The Rumpus, Superstition Review, WomenArts Quarterly, and elsewhere.

The poet Catherine Kyle

Ode to a Parallel Universe in Which I Give What You Demand

The gale ruffles the ivy lacing
your mansion, green external veins.
Brick face pulsing under wolf
belly skies. Shadows texturing stone
rough as fingerprint.

And I did not mean
to neglect you.
To leave words on your skin like leaves.  
Even now their vestiges rise, ghostly welts,
red and blue pentacles. Five-pointed star
for Forgive me. Five-pointed star
for This ends. Five-pointed star
for We take in
what we cannot absorb.

Tattoos work by drowning
blood mouths. Ungainly,
ungulpable heft. Like this,
I carve into you. Forgive me.
I did not think.

You descend the steps to the garden.
Your hands overflowing with honey,
a cup drizzling golden rope.
You anoint my brow and a bee comes.
It licks between my eyes.  
You thumb the inside
of my lip, murmuring,
Taste what you have wrought.

Somewhere beyond the gardenias,
a swarm is teeming with sound.
Bodies click with fur.
And a heat you could not stand.

Ode to a Parallel Universe in Which You Express Your Faith with Glass

The window shatters. The Father’s stole
two ends of purple ribbon—drooping
flaccid tongues as he teeters in the chancel.
Clutching Blood & Body. One in each hand.  
Supplicants knew the moment would come.
Hands sweat folded as howls fracture
the stoic beards of saints. Glass fireworks
shooting stars. Shards lodge in cheek, in teeth.
Eyes displaced by turquoise, by red—fragments’
trajectory flesh. Anoint me, Father. This glittering
is more than I can stand. Dona nobis pacem. Amen.

I enter the church and kneel in moonlight.
What was window: now hoop. A ring
of stone and metal, surprised as enormous
mouth. Remnants shine in the congregation.
Silent, as if bejeweled. Silent as if revering
the decorative body as rosary. Something as weak
as a human, coronated. Elevated in pain.
Something precise as a window erupted,
ore reduced to its birth. By that,
we all mean chaos. Father, forgive our arrogance.
We thought we could understand. We thought we could  
elude stigmata. And this, Annunciation.

God plays catch with human lives
in a field with no other catcher. God,
His newsboy cap askew. God, the great
toymaker. This is faith, you say to me,
palms cradling smalti—the tiny pieces
of flickering pigment you pluck from the
wreckage like sharpened gooseberries.
This is how we redeem. You press them into
wet concrete, thumb a heavy blessing.
You mosaic, by candlelight, the faces of
the parish. Their hands upheld, prepared
to catch. Needless of light to shine through.

Ode to a Parallel Universe in Which You Persuade Me to Stay While I am kissing you, the world ends. Planes drop out of the sky like diamonds, hurtling, emptied flutes. They crash beside the room where we grip each other’s necks, palms fitted to brain stems. & wreckage blooming begonias. The lightbulbs flicker—dzzt— & die. We keep our eyes shut. We are conversing. The riverbeds ooze campfire-scented lava. & meteors scorch the meadows. One knocks our school’s steeple free from its roost. Its bell a lolling gold cup. We do not mind, you & I; this is typical. You grip my face, say Immunity. That which is given shape must burn. But we defy shape under charcoaling beams: a chimera locked at jaw, at hip. Fury, disregard this silhouette, this monstrous welding of interest. Pass this speechless creature by. Love, guard us from individuation. Scramble the sensors that condemn.

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