Sheila E. Murphy

from Syllabix

I'm thinking you are very Betty north of atmosphere. Good orange, listless word sphere. Am I ominable, or retreating from your ecstasy, self-named? The holy brand of aluminium refigures how we plate glass every skin we name. And severally the integers claim sheet metal where advocacy ought to scream. I'd rather flit than Mitt, said Jezebel. Or tint my wagers blind, the more the Mary. Chain smoke pork pie hats and Brewer's bats and sylph like shimmy chan ga ga ga.


Unbuild this house
in my sleep, call it
your own dream.

In a minute,
it will be

Any old hypotenuse
from there to here
will do.

Fracture makes
pure fact
in due time.


Target hardening, effusive compliments
unlaced. What kind of security blank
et tu brutality condoned? Con-graveyard
sequiturs regale us with

disks slipped away from
fear lines, the long "e" sound
you rarely form yourself.
Unto us a wild endorphin forms.

One looks away, one tweaks
the outcome one supposed
amid a tangled, woven web
of sinecure and previous restraint.

Scores two until we fail,
the pro unveils mistakes by
a free agent. The backfield
is a synonym for low should(er).




This is what you penetrate
This is what you inculcate
This is what you denigrate
This is what you sophistrate

When I am down I grow a cure
When I am written I look for chameleons
When I am down I ritually release
When I am down I show my grit

Heaven is a parcel at the door
Heaven is witty, graceful, the antithesis of codified
Heaven is rarified
Heave in sheer justice with a body in between

Strict cleaning means there will be room
Strict band music offers an excuse to march
Strict cranial sacral work means job creation
Strict stoicism translates to fewer donations


Rabbit relax oratorio. This afternoon,
a mere concerto in the key of steep
contralto. Go a few rounds with me
will you? Say we sleep,

or say we chant in chime ways
in the overcast intaglio of chicory
winter. Bleary view of anywhere
from here. But I am not a pilot,

I am not a stoic person, I am not
a hingle. Just try to seem polite
for the duration. Curve ball.
How well do you tolerate

others' contractions? Salt away
whatever is left after
the important volley of
information to be kept.


Here is how my poems are in the night: freshly made two-handed, a concerto
poured across the forehead of a child
made safe amid the stacks
and in from rain forthcoming or evaporating
on the sidewalk.

I made them just for you, honey.
Scrappy, eventful, jaggedly brassed and stipplive
via razor thought juiced out of trees
and feather soft or ribaldly. I take them
out of context for a walk around bright trees,
that you might notice me.

That I might remember to be who I am
as holy as my inner muted sanctity left
on shelves nominally replete
though friendless as the rest of nearby kin.
The woman on the show was shoveling
her things ornately diagrammed
into pilgrim hands. She wept.
The people, glad of work, repaired
to chores, obeyed what she endorsed,
and made a short-lived home
of how she spoke.

I try to memorize my feelings,
that each of them might lift,
that I might be on edge while seeking
to reconstruct each one,
apart from puzzle fit and function,
that I might know the distance
from each one to one young self.

Sheila E. Murphy's American Ghazals has just appeared from Otoliths Press. In addition, the second volume of Continuations, her ongoing collaborative poem with Douglas Barbour, was recently released from the University of Alberta Press. Murphy has been writing actively since 1978 from her home in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
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