Jean Vengua


black drifts upon a spring of obsidian.
rings a glass bell and breaks it
knell of desire: blame it on yourself, fool
but “with compassion.” in the conditional
world, lover is the greatest circus ever
struck down on the broad banks of your
own river ~ pungent, sweet styx flowing


there's a break in the night
wider    a milk glass emptied
               medicinal link
fletcher deals the shaft
gone       to foreign marks afield
                 flyting days ~
speak for yourself     a marrying
kind     memory bungles and bruises
                  lyric flesh
i might by singing see the thing
bluish     by light and a capful
              of sugar skull
owns fore knowledge of the practiced
hand pale     vein where the fretwork
              worries it


morning     first grey steps.
           shuffling upright and into a day.
garbage truck grounds
                  subterranean grits honk a mean
bleat to raise the blood;
                                        engines burn cold
there is      oiling of turnstiles
            rocking of hinges, cold drip of green
fluids clock the motion of bodies, traffic
                     i remember this gravity from a ways
       past, when the sun coming up
was a salt remainder
        sickle of crust left dry from plastic baggie nights
                                                                drastic players
fear fraying corners from Arthur
               Brown's froze "Hellfire"
          (that was a god, a forethought, and a hound;
a toothsome
bite too). Dread delirious year, i recall --
                     what i remember of it.


The wristbones freeze in their moment of halt
unhinge with thought over the keyboard. Likely
the salmon will infuse the blood with some flow.
Or time. Or endless overflow in which the passing
is and was in time only. A hard bench. But thinking
about raising my self, for which a horizon is useful
for orientation. These are the sounds: an engine,
a bark. Metronome tickling a carple out of its tunnel.
Click and damp of keys. Funny bone remains silent
‘til struck with the ping of irony.

Jean Vengua lives in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends a lot of time migrating from point A to points B and C, while working as an editor, and a teacher at Gavilan College. Her poetry has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Moria, xStream, WE, issue one of Otoliths, Fugacity #5, Interlope, Proliferation, Babaylan, Returning a Borrowed Tongue, and Going Home to a Landscape. Jean's chapbook is The Aching Vicinities (Otoliths Press), and she has just completed a manuscript for a book of poetry.

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