Michelle Greenblatt & Sheila E. Murphy

Of Plainsong

You know the reputation of the lifeline: pure, uncurious state
of plainsong. Listen to it glide through twisting vacuum tubes, immune
to flinching outside with the commiserating
sunlight. The psyche seems

no mistake today: every place imagination
occurs can be replaced with uninterrupted language-
flow; the only question

is that of scale
a tone endures its invocation
made whole on impulse
to revoke the quiet
that masks the thrum of fear’s habits, obscuring the path
of the vulture’s shadow as it eclipses
the dreamlit landscape

below, lifeline running through the grids of grass and trees, sky
and earth in perpetual motion: instinctual pattern
of growth, a snippet of God’s geometry. On the edge

of memory, gridlines morph into petals,
runes, and straits. Dusting of light where
furniture assembled marks the place
where lives fall into proxy roles.
Tact blurs the architecture of integrity.
One washes young trees
as though a blossom would be truer
than root structures, thinking

how not to admire the violent craft
of spiderwebs
thinking, work is a series of self
interruptions and perverse
turnings, yet here is another new year, earth tipsy with
the pointblank light of the raw sun.

The beginnings of our being
hurtled across the spherical indulgence
that is our rhizome. If there is a precedent for us,
perhaps it is to turn away from the labyrinthine, this boreal
timbre that levels the mind lawlessly
conjuring shadows and memories.

But here is a door,
and beyond that, the privilege of chance
entrances inviting us to cast aside the refuse
from the dredged ravine of memory and to begin


Here under the milklight of the tumid
mood, conveyance begins again: the aphotic afterdamp
collides with the intangible

and comes
alive, transforming
the nebulous

currents into the shifting
cobalt tides, unstill
and ever-turning with the waves cresting
cesious and the strong
pull of the constant
undertow. The rapids
carrying the roiling river-
water continue to rise. In every forming
vortex, a different oratorio

is lifted to breeze-
light as though dust
wings have tapped out
woven to silken film, gossamer-wrought
palpable line-drawn
one at a time
intact. Each hovering

moth a forget-me-
not. In
, lunacy repairs
to deftly silver ratiocination,
quilled, prompt, Xing
out common

tautological burdens. Evocative,
the hammock
of desire, swinging between heavenly
bodies. Given latitude
the plump flanks
of snowflesh

into lines that lead
from here to far-
away; drawn taut
and thin, they sing
with the magnetic

electricity borne to the white
oscillating stars caught
in the black

throat of the sky. Spindrift
and windfall guide

the eye away
from woodrot and leaf-reach
flinching or drawn

freehand on a thrift
plane that corresponds
to tangible lockdown.

Every majesty retrieves
woodwind from delay
of gamelon. The ricercar
delineates motif
and ignorance
of classicism, tradition dating
back decades that span
almost a century. One sorts through
choice apart from

Nighttime: whittled intonation chances
subdivided punctuation
in a moment of concession.

The clockwork
train runs
on a circular track, between
nowhere and nowhere else.

Doors with no apparent connection
between rooms dominate
the homes in the city perched
on a cliff
overlooking the sea.

inland, cold air-
currents spread the ice-
fringed coastal
winds, threading the night
with frigidity.

Oceanic solitude appears
as reflection
of humanity’s

inherent isolation, dictated
in no small
part by the colossus, vanity.

What is the spun
circumstance of hypothetical
world view,

if not you and your
beatitude made quiet,
so thin one must

retrieve what pre
ceded plaudits
on the cusp of

windsong splintered
into amoebic
trawl along

the plain foundation
of the planted
thistles. Deep
rooted, purple-petalled
flowerheads conceal the prick
of clustered thorns. Watching

through a soot
smeared window, the thick
lines of dirt
are as confining as the steel

bars of a prison cell. Early
morning, slant of light
against the dust lit bars
cast shadowed

of opaque grey across
a silver-veined white
marble floor, though little

reaches to heat its surface.
At midday, sky shifts
to slate,

casting crosswise
of stinging rain. Late
afternoon, the neighbor’s children dash.
laughing, through the run-off from the dripping
curtains of wrung-out
clouds. Here there

is a girl who can’t decide
whether to join in
play. Out on the lake the two
homes share, the ducks blink their
lids; shellacked-black
eyes regard the day, calm,

vacuous, oblivious
or apathetic, they are inattentive
to the changing
weather, and appear
to be

as indifferent as she

is: rain, no rain, it’s all the same

quotient trellising the plaits
of confiscation: whelm or
trickle through terrain

when / if is form
to mull through and revere
the central nervous play-through
viaduct repairing

Northerly wind song
pares the downside of
inevitable tension
as one argues the other
into swift arrangement
of detail

as granular, recessive
inklings. The color
wheeled through town
inflames kernels
of receptive gene sculpting
as though

formaldehyde were merely

Michelle Greenblatt is the poetry editor for Unlikely Stories. A two-time Pushcart-Prize nominee, Greenblatt’s second book, With Explorative Hands, co-authored with Bill Mavreas can be purchased on Amazon.com; her third book, Ghazals, was co-authored with Sheila Murphy. Her fourth book, ASHES AND SEEDS, is forthcoming, as are a re-release of her sixth chapbook, Dark Hope, co-authored with Vernon Frazer, and her book of ghazals. You can find her work in Free Verse, Bird Dog, Counterexample Poetics, Dusie, Altered Scale, eratio, Sawbuck, The Weekenders, Sugar Mule, Hamilton Stone Review, Moria, Shampoo, Coconut Poetry, Big Bridge, AUGHT, BlazeVOX, Xerolage, Blackbox, Fire, X-stream, Word for/ Word, The Anemone Sidecar, The Spidertangle Anthology of Visual Poetry and many others.

Sheila E. Murphy's poetry appears widely. A new book of visual poetry by Sheila E. Murphy and John M. Bennett YES IT IS, is just out from Luna Bisonte Prods. A new book of visual poetry with K. S. Ernst is in process.

Murphy lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
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