Michelle Greenblatt & Sheila E. Murphy

Collaboration Beginning with “If faith premises just one sky . . .”

If faith premises just one sky,
how can one of us propose
agreement with-
out seeming to
ration what little we believe
is there?
as sky on film, data unshared but processed & bound to both by the white
cloud-filtered light. A causal succession of thought fired from synapse to synaptic gap to synapse as myriad sight-lines construct crimson whose brightness, lost in air, isn't retained in the present
tense. To the two who refuse to listen, who hoard their section of faith
-purchased sun, this data is merely debris clogging up their minds.
A quiet enough moon lies
in the rear view mirror,
an armoire for feelings
that show through
insistent closure. Eventually, the impulse to repeat
is quelled.

This figure of reach remains

Presence and today are snapshots
from a pinhole
camera lens, no
substrate. A shared moment of blindness
commences, creates cause and affects
all plausible outcomes. A second caught
on over-exposed film struggles
to regain the same subtle vibrations of a spider
web trembling
in rain.
Cast oxygen across semblance of sky, catch the run-off spilling
over the distended interposed arc of interruption before
the fatigue-lines of will, not
dissipated over

time, are etched onto the self,
each accentuating the others: black threads interwoven with exquisite
strands of the silver
rain that pours over the ocean, spreading itself endlessly. Dawn commences on mud walls, sea floors, & sand
castles, horizontal bands of color with no distinction between dream-object & waking knowledge. Their one-sided conversations incomprehensible so long they refuse the experience of words.
Legato trims frenzy from repeated lip prints on the glass
which, pending light, twists darkness into a self-stained mirror,

Commencement posits a mid-point (as in the from by the way)

(In the country of my student, there are no articles)

Is an object what
we purport it
to be
or objectively is the verse
in conversation
counter to
A panoply of chops arrives at my synecdoche
I parse fraternal relevance
amid sonorities
the sister I never (thought to) have
into staccato cadences by omitting adversative
connectives; I produce small sound
bites of the self I swore
I'd never be, kissing cold
mirrors, still creating
the cadences of our
conversations (only imagined
now). I tear
and repair the glissando
-wind and every spoke
of soprano sun
from matter, recreating images
from similitude, watching as black
vowels from/of the past dissolve
into diffuse

Sound opens
sound as clouds track wisps of laced cirrus
across sky, hypnotic lull of transparent porcelain over
azure. Wind
-break mimics tonality
I hold my hands out, attempt to capture sensate summers of youth: the scent of fresh-baked bread and every unedited sound of delight the heady aroma the breeze carried across the lawn; each of houses haloed in a crimson-streaked, aureate haze the setting sun casts

like a spell over the neighborhood;

mnemonic demons snark themselves into ritual
the lone elapsed configurative replay
shafts distance in favor of its stake in
homepath(et)ic integers one |one | one | one
one share
and then on to the Antipodes
at best retraced by way of symphony
and change
the lumens
whenever alteration sparks
Massachusetts overtones
at one with the leanings of a faraway progenitor
culpably donning sack cloth as though lulls were sequined anyway
repair is what we do (to and toward)
even the shelf life of a purple flower intrudes upon selfsame
flocks that mark our treatise
as we line the roadways with intention
to be as raw as facts dims languor or retracts initial urge to hazmat
the detritus a priori normed
vaults over mere tangibles the rueful
way of knowing slinks back as if willed differently

“look” begins each dia-
lecture and a priest
storms with headwinds
the electorate
the congregation
the sheep

their amens.

Soon adages overtake the common mood
the prayerbook
of rays then blanche the old
oddity. Fear duplicates

days. Lost in a transparency (the mist
of the ever-
shifting face
of water), the future brings
the past
to the present by time

machine, but there is malice
here without reference
to any field
of human presence, diffuse
and disguised, condensed
beneath the sun-
light, known

from intimate impulse, present
and crucial with its own
purposes, its own designs—to separate image
from similitude, to wreck rhythms
of presence
distance, to hide, through
burial beneath the moss-
covered escarpments, the ancient

to cause loss

from that which binds us
here: sense seeking
form in
the incremental razoring
silence, the razing
solitude. Mean-

while the vicious, determining best
figure and ground-depth, seeks
to disguise the intendment—truth

in the essence of nature, the wingflapping
of birds, the respite the horizon
offers, and the splash and spill
of water breaking

into mist as it falls
to ocean and earth—in

to purport
the apocryphal and, pregnant with
equivocation, spread canards
regarding human
reason, so to distort prospect
and principle, instead spreading

regarding destination
and design. To disguise within
the threat of dissolution the function
of mission and objective in this, our
semi-deliberate world, with<> all
its fallen rocks <>and our knees curved
to it; to report perfidious
bourns with respect

to the veracity
of the messages
spread by women
who traversed the world entirely
on their knees, and painted
their testimony
on every scrap of tin so

that we might know the humble
man or woman can walk
the full

circuit of the world, grab
hold of anything in
nature and make it
new for wonder
or utility; any one
person may seize the convulsive

incision and turn
it in-

to light, so
that we will know the intended
presence of hope hidden
inside every word, stone and scrap
of sky

and in the post–fractured
which                white
               rays of
sleek shrill stapled
intervention meant
to stow the remainder
of seeds
left                strewn
amid ashes

music returns

its angst to frost
frost upon lake snow
I read clinical
verbiage;      their pity
mid-chest, scored
by night’s unleashings, I’m sick

for a song I’ve never heard, the first
note a fermata kept most
secret, then the soaring silver
pitches, entwining
into arias wakeful
as my insomnia, then


into mournful
descent, deontological
depravity, incessantly
watched by the volute

and nothing I write can
free any
of us from the once-
white white spinning
stars, now rendered
atramentous, and sucked into
                the sundark

where, comment

cellos play
         tidy music                chap(ped)
                in execution; the mellifluous
cabalettas, soaring transcendent
animated clay
         arias have

dans l'additon
, the high
clear pitch of C minor has
lost all

associations—en plus every
tone has
split, sounds coarse-
grained and cacophonic; packed
with unpurified discord-particulates

with euphony
ceased, ariosos sour, halting

domiciles can wait; in this
silence, heaven has come

to weigh upon
souls, fealty

tremble or trample
upon intervention

watch the sliver
bird be

hear the painting
endure speech touch

in a mindful view
of granular infractions
menacing delinquency
the truth     .     the slow
of quiescence floors
even the cheapest seats


the tot reads Trotsky
and life looms
from the crèche

the otherwise

moment(um), the neurons spike
quickly, consummating
catastrophe to the absolute

of ambiguity, a new range
of feeling. Torn
awake. Like leaning

against a wall for
support, instead discovering the wall
is not. Look: see
how the relation
to truth creates a tension

with compromise as the plasticine
vraiment again plays
tidy music in       chap(ped)
                execution and the more

an object
of love is, the more we have

valued it—but now stand
where the crossings occur, and clouds
muffle the mountain
ridge, spilling
down in
runnels, as fall oaks
fold into frozen lakewater
and light blitzes
the ice; wearing
our reflection, take a further

away from the wolved, unpathed forest, where snow-
blindness comes in
alliance with the measuring out
of exile
between self
and self, harzarded
abroad; driven


complicit skies, filled
with end
-blown wind, gel
and for
and in

the ambiance
“by half”
(she me
I he are to
say (stay)
on pitch
the lavish


I meant to path my
between the vertices
of the hyperbola

I veer away (all ears)
in arrears,
said he

to Demeter
with vast sums

to draw
I keep

Tell me, Chemistry: What ought
the sauce be
by way
of integers?

What style bungalow do you
reveal in your sequestered-

How steepled is
too steep?
How does cesium keep
of all these seconds
that continue, ceaselessly, tick tick ticking?
Is there ever enough
praise for your infinite
statements and equations       these days

the truth too
often feels
counterfactual; the amount of epexegesis necessary
to make
and comprehensive your explanations
is exhausting
and exponential, yet
you decree these toils

irrefrangible. Hearing my dyslogistic
fits, you threaten
to hent
the sun again, warning this

permanently, but
then tell me, Chemistry, what possible
difference can that make
when daily you
obnubilate sky,
sea, and every

of escape?
And you presume
it is easy
for me

to sleep?

Strata sift: the
punctuate also, they
reap recency
of skyline

adage after lockstep

by the light of
a lopsided gloss

her sole rive gauche
toute seule
in a matter of minutiae

semblance after proxy votes
the tandem
and the triage
and the tripod

He is called a concierge doctor
(where talent is
in short supply
comes marketing)

permafrost yet ripe with
sparks induces
that glib sprawl at the shore
of xenophobia

Has anybody seen my pal?

the listless Kalamazoo of
doubles over effect
vainglory to reciprocate
yon invitations blessed by
drought to smithereens

I ought to call you
fall guy said he
the one you named
Arriba Bear
the one safe face
who gleamed back
from the slivered mirror
in the hall

February 27, 2013

Michelle Greenblatt is the poetry editor for Unlikely Stories. A two-time Pushcart-Prize nominee, you can find her work in Altered Scale, Sawbuck, The Argotist Online, Hamilton Stone Review, Moria, Shampoo, elimae, Coconut Poetry, Big Bridge, AUGHT, Zafusy, BlazeVOX, X-stream, Word for/ Word, Admit Two, The Anemone Sidecar, Frank's Home, LitVision, Generator Press, & Otoliths, amongst others. Her second book, Ashes & Seeds, is forthcoming.

Sheila E. Murphy lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Murphy is a prolific poet and visual poet, with recently published collaborative and individual books and commissioned artwork. Xexoxial Editions is bringing out a brand new volume of visual poetry by Murphy and K.S. Ernst. Murphy's most recent individual poetry title is American Ghazals (Otoliths Press, 2012). Her collaborative book with Douglas Barbour, Continuations 2 (University of Alberta Press, 2012), was shortlisted for the Alberta Book Publishers Association's Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award. Murphy recently completed a trio of commissioned visual poetry pieces for a private collection in New Hampshire. She serves as Principal in the newly merged consulting firm Executive Advisement, LLC, in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in Performance Management analysis of organizations, with innovative services designed to prepare for mergers and acquisitions in the private sector, and Performance Management delivery systems serving both public and non-profit sectors. Murphy was originally trained in performance and composition in the musical arena. She consistently believes we are all hearing things.
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