Daniel Y. Harris

Isle of the Dead
      (after a painting by Arnold Böcklin)

Steals the corpse and faces the watergate
with its sharp islet and steers a gaunt, white
figure, maneuvering its rowboat from the

stern. The oarsman’s yellow, fetid hair
drooped over his red ears, hears the faint,
whisked laughter of waves resist brown

oars. Cypress trees hemmed in by ports,
engrave the rocks, are molested, cold,
blue-black by salty, sea air with the gray

hum of stench rot rising with bony gulls—
soils canvas with mustard chiascuro, and
now, emptied of color, sees itself on the

green hill with the crescents of wolf eyes.

Les Poètes Maudits

Avec l’assentiment des grands héliotropes.
—Arthur Rimbaud

Innards culled for goths of the virile
, the maudit décor, red
and black puissants de la terre with

swells of flecked blue, conspire to
mock the agony of hands, albatross
and crow lit by haloed skulls, reach

the cipher casting a hook in search
of lost wine, at the Chat Noir, dips
plume in laudanum to séance fin

de siecle
specters of the Paris quay
with espaliers: erect grin of Satan,
Delphine on a scented sofa, add

to this rancor, alchemy: Rodolphe
Salis’s iriso subversive below a
wrought iron chandelier in frock

coat with copper beard—below
the accursed spirant, the green
haze of absinthe’s steady drip.

Cobra Lily

In the acidic bog below a seepage
slope of cold, running water, of insect

prey, of symbiotic bacteria, goes
unfed, does not lure or trap or see
the prayer of Ezekiel on fiery

wheels and yet its swollen tubular
leaves are perfect fangs under
whose purple-green grip lie

translucent false exits, which
only reek to trap with five

sepals of rapture.

Daniel Y. Harris is the author of Hyperlinks of Anxiety (Cervena Barva Press, 2012), Paul Celan and the Messiah’s Broken Levered Tongue (with Adam Shechter, Cervena Barva Press, 2010; picked by The Jewish Forward as one of the 5 most important Jewish poetry books of 2010) and Unio Mystica (Cross-Cultural Communications, 2009). He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Some of his poetry, experimental writing, art, and essays have been published in BlazeVOX, Denver Quarterly, European Judaism, Exquisite Corpse, The New York Quarterly, In Posse Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poetry Magazine.com and Poetry Salzburg Review. His website is www.danielyharris.com.
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