Joseph Cooper

Ghost Sonnets


When all falls from me and I can only
Hold you in water, in air, a gesture
Of despair, all those radio waves with
So little more than a collar turned up,
A thread of smoke rising in finial
Caprice between hands clapping and pumping
Dampening the field of sound, thoughts gazelle
Like messages from other worlds. Without
Touching the ground, feminine, marvelous,
Tough dreams dispensed a listening ear, an
Essential imaginative space, an
Asylum’s open gate comes as a child.

Dear disconnect, our translations sounded
Like eyes becoming slits inside black slits.


I sing the bone road unwavering blaze,
The old man’s beard bridging a scrawny pulp
Long, skinny fingers thrust by runaway
Arms flushed in gutters of human cosmos.
Pleasuring rival solitude. Risking
The guillotine defines the bandage, strips
Polished light with whipping ghost. Restores
Belief bewildered with commotion. Scruff
Bundles swept along by a cold, damp wind.
I am bound to it. Your breathing touch. It
Is your love that sonnets the dead searching
Faces without recognition. Suspected

Into you, into you, my heart shadow
Plurals like a fountain’s entrails caption.

Joseph Cooper has published several books of poetry, most recently Porlock (Spuyten Duyvil, 2015).
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