Jan Clausen

 

 

 

Saraka

 

they kill a chicken in the house
Aunt Myra shopped on Utica
peeled bird toes in my face
gray-feathered happiness

Aunt Myra shopped on Utica
they make the bridegroom hose the blood
gray-feathered happiness
the seemi-deemi freaks him out

they make the bridegroom hose the blood
now Veda shrouds her mirror white
the seemi-deemi freaks him out
I help prepare the spirit feast

now Veda shrouds her mirror white
white plates with goat and melon chunks
I help prepare the spirit feast
odd-numbered everything

white plates with goat and melon chunks
let old women wine
odd numbered everything
so ancestors can taste

let old women wine
chant girlhood rhymes
so ancestors can taste
revisit ancient hurricanes

chant girlhood rhymes
bring Jesus up in time
revisit ancient hurricanes
while I yank feathers with my fingernails

bring Jesus up in time
the rite is Brooklyn Anglican
while I yank feathers with my fingernails
stations of the cross, small flags of island nations

the rite is Brooklyn Anglican
knee-ruin mounts steep stairs
stations of the cross, small flags of island nations
latex gloves on waiters, streaming sweat

knee-ruin mounts steep stairs
to build a deeper porch and gather family
latex gloves on waiters, streaming sweat
their north continues warmth by other means

to build a deeper porch and gather family
this man assigns me a complexion, not a race
their north continues warmth by other means
as if my home might be in Windward

this man assigns me a complexion, not a race
as if I knew your hurricanes
as if my home might be in Windward
and the cake lasts for years

as if I knew your hurricanes
peeled bird toes in my face
and the cake lasts for years
they kill a chicken in the house

 

 

Hot Button


           So, she quips, you’re back to realism!


Corn stubble swale, hill pale

First sight of brown bound I thought: dog

No—snow deer galumphing

(What did you expect, a bloody frangipani pulpit)

 

Let’s just say I’m down

with repetition it’s the gist of January

Slow chew of shaggy-legged lovelies

rayed out from the daily bale

 

It’s dumping, we say

It’s shaping works okay

Revelation of contour raining

limning weed stalks and headstones

 

(city people in headphones

simply zone the fuck out)

over backup wails of the damned:

snowmobiles

 

Crow a jet pronouncement

on the pallor underlying

something I was feeling

in the morning

 

maybe warning

sagging gables

off the night road

pack a skid of light, a bleed

 

Hoax repeats the parrot of my REM state

it’s a step in language learning

letting me supply the meaning

Legal Load Limit: 24,000 Pounds

 

That’s when I remember

winter is so fragile

just when I was racing

just when I was humming

 

just when I was ticking

just when I was kicking

crystal corset is relenting

narrow palette representing

 

icy stricture is expanding

Arctic bulwark only seeming

no more anything to lean on

than a myth on celluloid

 

What blankets us at best

a sort of mendicant request

a moth-eaten scrap

of old North

 

Under blur-moon, corrupt latitudes

cue tropic bludgeons

follow the money

warmward

 

Just when I was reeling dreaming back