Paul Ilechko

Side Effects of Gravity

The first thing that

it’s odd but
drinking in
overwhelmed by
that emanates

and manipulated
on the patio
are blithely
in the bleach

you need to
the hospital bed
of summer
as the raindrops

as dogs unfold
and flesh turning
turning towards
left coiled
towards the waves

I wanted to know
where does typeface come from?

here I sit patiently
my feelings
the odor of garlic
from your hair

gravity is chained
and collects in pools
where mosquitoes
that failed to kill them

look beneath
behind the tubes
unhinged and splashing
cut my skin

into skeins of fur
towards the glowing coals
the abandoned rope
and groping like a spinal cord
that slowly surge
the quicksand and the forest fire.


I am watching / your tongue / no longer able to (speak) /
and as I watch / (it) sticks / (and then) repeat (your tongue) /
I realize that / your tongue is / the usual stories

your tongue / a normal tongue /elaborate (but) /
not forked / but no longer / the usual (tongue) /
not rubbery / (but) able to / (repeat) myths /
the ones that / keep the dead / away

the myths / (the) membrane / between the / salt-packed /
(tales) that spin / between the / green of forest / (a) wound that /
(is) such a delicate / blue of ocean / between the / (wound that) /
festers / from / dreaming / to reality

and as you / (see) blazes not blue / or white /
(you) light the fire / not purple / just a haze of (energy) /
an evanescence / not red or yellow / energy displacing /
space as it acts as / deconstructive / like a ghost /
fire does (as fire does) /changing between /
(states) destructive and / states (otherwise)

a ghost that / seamlessly as (energy) /
merges between / (the state of) water filling (a bucket) /
(between) brick and air as / a (water filled) bucket.


Talking strange
your country had acres
stitched and compact

interpretation of space where
future events staked out
the necessary      the wild

and the dangerous
imposing harmony
in shredded clothes

in derelict dwelling places
wrapping stones
in breath      the spark

the quilt      the doorway men
a hummingbird seen
as grimy assassins

cowered in corners
and suddenly a hymn
was heard in the sunlight.

Light of Desire
(after Mark Strand, all lines derived from poems in “Man and Camel”)

I had been an explorer
and now
it was just

but the children cried
and I rose

with their patios
out past
theirs was

the crows had flown
and the dark became
and desire became

and ashen light
I closed my eyes
to dwell

that sudden

in my youth
I sat on the porch smoking
one more thing to do

“come back”
above the marble gates
there were guards

and pools
the cemetery
the bliss of another age

and it was cold
the light

fell across the floor
in that light


The Day the Horses Wept

Your body floods stiletto
      a killing move      flooding
vulnerable to the remnants
of fever      remnants chained
      and perfect      as the pregnant
moon swims monsoon thickness

a golden sky-halo shells
its wings      as paper steals
your attention      paper wings
      winding golden from the valley
      where sentiment treads lightly
and horses are said to weep

horses weeping golden
in the wake of a torn burlap
sack laid to waste      weeping
torn and rough      with horses
under dappled shade       weeping
      from distant memories of oak.

Paul Ilechko is the author of the chapbooks Bartok in Winter (Flutter Press, 2018) and Graph of Life (Finishing Line Press, 2018). His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Manhattanville Review, West Trade Review, Yes Poetry, Night Music Journal and Rock & Sling. He lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ.
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