Poems by Bruce Bond and Paintings by Aron Wiesenfeld

Poems by BRUCE BOND and Paintings by ARON WIESENFELD

 

Scenic View

Woman on rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woman alone atop the precipice,

what does she fear more, falling or jumping,

 

or doing nothing, standing here a while,

leaning shyly before the awful grandeur

 

of all that is missing.  Hello down there,

she says, and it is the timbre of her voice

 

returning.  Which is odd.  One’s own voice is.

One’s own question answering its question.

 

One’s own long stare, exiled from a native

land that only seems so at a distance.

 

How many feathers does it take to fill

a wound like that, how many silent answers,

 

how many women as small as life is long.

She wonders, she aches, she knots her arms to bind

 

this body to its heartbeat in the wind.

Branches thrash, shower her in needles.

 

What does she care.  She is elsewhere.

She stares into a glorious indifference

 

too large to fit into the heart’s eye,

and yet it does, the way the train’s roar

 

fits into the hungry tunnel, expanding.

What does she fear more, death or the great

 

dust storms that tear away the hieroglyphs,

the fury of earth as it shreds its garments.

 

No, she has seen death before.  It is small.

Brittle as a fly in a storm window.

 

The scenic view is alive, too alive

for life alone.  It is a childhood

 

grown holy with our first hesitations.

Our father, our canyon, our abandoned cradle,

 

bless this lady who shivers like a star

drawn to earth, the fallen, the other sky.

*

 

Runoff

Runoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The door to the otherworld is the mouth

of a drainpipe with a little wind inside it.

 

What girl could resist, her hair blown back

with the gentle force of all that darkness

 

as if in perfect stillness where she stands

alone and listens, she were falling through.

 

The door is not a door.  It is a yawn

so monstrous it would swallow us whole.

 

It makes her smaller, more breakable

her glass heart, her jar of silent fireflies.

 

This is what it is to lie in the center

of some black mandala, never knowing

 

what source trickles through, what it is

in the shallow water between her legs,

 

in the body’s quiet questionings,

that frees the ghost to wander off ahead.

 

How is it the space of sleep is larger

than the body it’s in.  How is it, we ask,

 

and the earth responds in whatever

language we would give it.  It knows them all.

 

It understands none.  Whatever water

comes this far, it comes from somewhere,

 

we trust.  It tells us.  We hear it crackle

like a million tiny typewriters.

 

It is writing a million tiny letters

to the part of us that writes.  Or longs to.

 

After all we were born of it, this shadow.

So far behind we are walking toward it.

 

Hell.  You look at anything this long,

and you are not looking anymore.

 

You are a girl before the unlit mirror,

who slips through, not far, but far enough.

 

You are the voice that oracles the tunnel,

the one you hear in the faint exchange,

 

when you swear there is no one, just you,

your face turned away from your face, you

 

the million tiny needles of the dark.

You the breeze that presses as it pulls.

*

 

Hallway

Hallway painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you talk to the marble of the hall,

the hall talks to the man in the middle,

 

stone loyal, stone still, back straight against his chair.

It talks to the straps and mournful shoes

 

of a file clerk in Kafka’s Prague.

If you talk to the man, you are talking

 

to the woman friend who shadows him,

equally proper in her marble gown,

 

modest as a rock inside some rock

basilica and bank vault of the gods.

 

Man and woman echo one another,

they echo you, you who are the long view

 

they long to enter, the voice in the throat

of this, their emptiness, they look into.

 

If a column had hands, it would have hands

like these, the man’s fingers laced in his lap,

 

as hers too are laced, the v of her arms

draped down in an open zipper pattern.

 

One person’s closed curve is another’s

portal in or out, however shy the heart.

 

And yes, they are sweet, they are patient

with the lengthening silence between them

 

and you who search the eye that searches you.

Not you in particular.  But the you

 

of the bricks in some cathedral tower,

their vertebrae stiff before the father

 

of the father of the mirror of the man

who parts his hair like a loaf of bread.

 

He is beautiful.  He loves his body

and so fears it, feeds it, binds it fast

 

against the spine, faithful as echoes are

in a lovely death parade of echoes.

 

And if he rises through the ranks of deacons

to lead a parish of clerks down the hall

 

to nowhere, who are we to criticize.

We who move as the spirit moves, afraid

 

to look back at the door of the shadow,

or worse, to look and find no door, just

 

the canceled check of space that has our name

across it.  And then it doesn’t.  And then it does.

*

 

Flowerbed

Flowerbed painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To see the woman lie in a wide-eyed field

of flowers, her lids a heavy shade of blue,

 

her hair in fiery eddies against the leaves,

I wonder, is this look of someone half-blind

 

with weariness and pollen, the sweet smoke

of everything about her busting into bloom.

 

Does she gaze into the distance to see

the land dissolve where the sea-fog meets it,

 

where all she knows trails off into the pleasure

of knowing it once and letting it fall away.

 

Is the glass of what she looks through glazed

in Vaseline, amazed beyond amazement,

 

or does she read some microscopic script

etched across the surface of the lens.

 

What does she know of the force that pulls her

toward a sleep she does not enter, not yet,

 

this earth just strange enough to be the thing

she gives her self, the chest she lies against,

 

sinking like a sigh.  What could be better,

say the lotus eaters in their island grasses,

 

the diet of flowers they crush as they roll

into each other and close their eyes again.

 

Some sleep it off.  Some long to lie down

where they are lying, already and again,

 

the tiny cameras of the blossoms, flashing.

Too soon the end that’s late to everything.

 

What is it about getting home that is so

crucial now, as was the urge to leave it,

 

to step into some crowded train car

where faces lean into the morning paper.

 

Too soon the mist that veils the eye, the eye

that sets a veil on fire.  Too soon the sun,

 

its call to something, someone in the fog,

to strike the sea with his long deep oars.

*

 

Bruce Bond is the author of eight published books of poetry, most recently The Visible (LSU, 2012), Peal (Etruscan, 2009), and Blind Rain (Finalist, The Poet’s Prize, LSU, 2008). 

Aron Wiesenfeld has exhibited his paintings and drawings in 5 solo exhibitions including a retrospective at the Bakersfield Museum of Art, and a new show at Arcadia Gallery in New York from November 10 to 15, 2012. 

Poems by Bruce Bond and Paintings by Aron Wiesenfeld

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