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An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
Long appointed, village elders enter a charnel house
reserved for birth. They stand silent over a woman, then—
after severing umbilical—hand her the wet
razor. From memory she incises circles, one, another,
on a newborn's face. The elders rub bitumen
into cuts, as she fondles her necklace. Soon
she'll knit a pouch to hold the ritual blade (her child to prosper).
A score of years later, the woman's daughter gives pure life
to William Blake and twelve extras, mostly
angels. Blake, born an elder, furrows his left brain at cherubim
writing a dirge. Ugly, profound, their unvoiced lyrics
etch a halo in the face of courage.
Daily I ran down Upper Street and turned
at the mansion, on my way to buy darkness
from a 7-Eleven. Some days, empty-handed, I'd
saber-charge over broken sidewalk, a lad of empire.
One Sabbath, edging past the ghost daughters'
bicycles balanced on pedestals, and the open window
to the bedroom of the matriarch always in
a coma, I scrutinized the row of black-painted
iron palings. Behind, in the yard's northeast corner,
lay a tarnished bronze plaque half-buried at ground level,
shaded by ancient butternut trees. I stretched an arm
through to whisk off rotting leaves, dirt—the tabula rasa layer—
and finally struck words. Cast by the DAR
perhaps a century before, the text hove into focus:
Here we commemorate a place where
you realized the first battle of the War of 1812
occurred in 2181, on Indian Ocean floor. This only
deepened that house's mystery for me.
After the Shuttles
A Saturn rocket stands at attention,
set to blast my poor old truck into space.
We assemble atop a gantry, the pickup like a cherry on a sundae—
but the tires are flat.
The astronauts all laugh inside their helmets, and one says,
"There went your prize for being American."
Mark Blaeuer lives in Arkansas, a few miles southwest of Hot Springs. With an M.A. in anthropology, he worked in the fields of archaeology and physical anthropology. Later he was employed for twenty years as an interpretive ranger, in the U.S. National Park Service. His poems and occasional translations (from Spanish) have appeared in dozens of journals, over several decades, and Kelsay Books has published a collection of his poems, Fragments of a Nocturne.