Four Poems by Brian Blanchfield
COMPANY EDITIONS is an independent publisher of poetry and visual art. The journal, Company, was founded in 2013 and is published three or four times per year. We will also be publishing chapbooks beginning in late 2016. Company Editions is based in Athens, GA, Iowa City, IA, and Cambridge, MA. You can contact the editors by emailing email@example.com.
The History of Ideas, 1973-2012
In the different forms of alienation some other entity had obtained what was proper to man:
in religion it was God, in politics the State, in economics the market process and cash nexus
At the end of the capriccio we each reinvented the last night
of youth as we knew it, in which,
so you wait, one determines,
there are no prerogatives but to return to the car
and fog up the windows with your socked feet and sulking.
If the old compunction in your mouth will not now
be voided, and you won’t outlast righteousness, seal in
the soda sound of your breathing, and then open the door again
on night, moonless more profitably, as to walk off here
from the commonplace porchlight has the benefit of peril.
Or, in her bed that night have the protagonist ask, Is what I am
the thing I can do? All her life, one determines, she will mean
never to forget the vocation’s imperative, as the finer dancer
is better than fashioning a fall.
First, my body related me to others whom I did not choose,
and this was before I was a subject, so what I am comprises that
humiliation of my judgment in matters of love and this
attempt to recover ecstasy, volunteer for pleasure. At least
match waists with Evan. Rotate the trunk while holding
the arms fixed in a hoop shape. Polish your elbow. Zero in
on sympathetic laddering. Follow anyone’s finger.
Maybe at the end
head out into the movement field a final time
with the company and the touchpoint actions
a sideline of proctors listed to see you repeat. Select
pleasures made tasks, let my body find
what to do besides, please, because
this familiarity is the one I leave with.
Or, in the corner of the boat the tide turns beneath
a spider covers her territory. Tomorrow, the long day’s
sun. And you are he who carries her eggs in his hair and needs
his something slaked. Him in the mirror tarnishing above
the stoppered bottles. In that bay beyond the bayside
bar—around whose cool brass rail a boy disunites his
heel and sandal—she runs again the rim of the rest of time.
Since, why stop at youth, one determines.
On your stomach, rear back high. Yes, this is my well
you’ve fallen in, and I need you now to remove your shirt.
The fire moss is crawling with why you came, and say that
in Portuguese, and again looking now into the camera
say it. Boa noite. Boa noite, Vitor. Come out from among
the others and be ye separate. Starmint stuck in a dish of pennies.
Or, you teach the child to spell his name in sparkler light and feel
you shouldn’t’ve. He autographs the night, but it’s not hereditary.
So who are we? We are the life force power of the universe,
with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds
The History of Ideas, 1973-2012
What Heidi’s grandfather learned from the eagle he taught himself
Aggregate is a pavement rough on the feet. We spread it around
the allotment gardens, where monuments are most prone.
At level grade, we introduce the churn, a procedural masonry
flocked with beak and shell and pattern after, a deuteronomy
all over the ground, much like that the maestri spotted
on the monticule and derived, halfway down again,
Trueness to type is the objective in aggregate,
and chalking it up, roughly, the signature business
of our internal audit, summarized over the translator before
the hearings of grievance. In truth the gardeners
are lucky to have us, and if their gratitude is tactical
it is no less affecting to have pressed into our aprons
the gentians indigenous to First Elevation.
A blossom sometimes, in their parlance, volunteers
out of season, and it is not without precedent we
element the youth we find one morning at the pour
and pattern after. It seems an act of love paradoxically,
the expulsion they call going to seed—his kiss curl twisted
up and out in a manner we now recognize as preparatory,
fontwater wet. While we work his boredom brings to him
one of our handtrucks and a duet all day to choreograph,
rock-tip-twisting into dervish a leverage of himself until
the beck he was assigned to search our faces for
escapes him and we break silence. He yanks his balance,
wheels out, skids again. When we escort the probate
to the audition granted him and his hum among us
in the melody of the closing prayer the novitiates lead
after grievances is resonant in our walk back, we notice
like nuns the march of our feet in its beat and stagger,
whereupon in testiness we huff and ditch the stiffened
batch, then mellow. We clap out dust from the proving trays.
Extraordinary achievement is less about talent than it is about opportunity
S APOSTROPHE S
The pelican cocks higher her wing
for good get at. Nibbling the blister
and siphoning the mud by bill to the brood.
Hey, how did the consecration go?
Aristophanes and Judas, but not
Johns. Memphis’s (emphasis mine)
on the Mississippi, but not on the Nile.
Hey, how was the peroration?
The bronzer devises a rapprochement,
the mulcher, the parents, the host. She
plans to rephotograph the memorial bench.
So, what was the beseechment like?
Bluing is a way to whiten, the bottle of
bluing agent reads. It takes its place
beside the finish. Or should I have said solution?
Hey, where will you be for Thanksgiving?
Or else I were alone in thinking something
had been in the air, a frost phenomenon,
a pestilence, the AM station’s affiliate switch.
But, then, who gave the benediction?
With a tail as big as a kite, for something that
by itself repeats. The windsock on the helipad
and blame enough to go around.
So, what was the turnout in the end?
Two in a pew, one stressed,
the turn down in the thread of her halo
screwy. And whose little boy is he?
NURSE MUSTN'T RUMMAGE
Even then and although a latecomer’s look around
suggested I had confused the given with consent
and my keep for comprehensive
I burnished the tunic. It was disintegrating;
I brought it on as once a gloss was brought out.
Even then and however assiduous still I
found my flagrancy and, david of me, divulged.
And, raising myself, soaked lip to chin in compote,
shot back a telling giant glance.
What ordnance tore down,
revealing, eaten hungry,
from the looks of me:
If no one grew up of the integer—you
know the one—I raised myself, and was to be a man,
in him grew a throat around the fear, once around,
to feel it rise and a valve to catch
its olive taste
and send it—person to personnel—below.
A bete noir, a weak suit, one that breathes.
Never is it imperiling integrity that
depresses the call button. Nothing so helped me
more. Who may I say is leaving ill enough alone
and what is all this antecedent
pulling moreover on
the fitted bedding of malingerers?
What’ve I got here before I got here
that isn’t—outpatient intake—
there there consolation?
Him I found in the dative case
thrown concussive on the very air, west expectancy:
he said I sat close enough to notice if I wanted
his black eyes burgeon at cruising altitude
and before descent he could, he believed, if I wanted,
taste it rocking back,
like dialing a memory.
Brian Blanchfield is the author of three books of poetry and prose, most recently Proxies, published by Nightboat Books in 2016. He was awarded a 2016 Whiting Award in Nonfiction. His two books of poetry are Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004) and A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014), which received the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry. Recent essays and poems have appeared in Harper’s, BOMB, Guernica, The Nation, Chicago Review, The Brooklyn Rail, A Public Space, The Paris Review, and The Awl. He has taught as core faculty in the graduate writing programs of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and at the University of Montana, Missoula, where he was the 2008 Richard Hugo Visiting Poet. Since 2010 he has been a poetry editor of Fence. He lives with his partner John in Tucson, where is the host of Speedway and Swan on KXCI 91.3.