≡ Menu

Two Poems

 All Night, I Dream of Prisons

Bless the cloud that blessed the sun and hid it
from my anger, my red face. In the sometimes broad and often pressed

so tight that nothing can squeeze through container of my mind, love exists. So, too,
there are flashes of a red so pure it is my only access to a first red, an ether

red, Plato’s red, Plath’s red headband
torn from her head by Hughes at the party where, in my head, they meet, they meet

again, it’s a beautiful dim-lit
place, and sometimes jazz plays, a riot of forms

gone wrong, I don’t even know, for Christ’s sake
what a cornet sounds like, or when Ornette Coleman lived

or played and maybe died—

bursts of red, the flap of a red-winged black-
bird, the upright strike of a proud salvia, Sylvia goes

where salvia grows, wherever I go, the same god
that has never called me to sing of him might even now be calling me

to sing of what I think is godlessness, but is instead
a crack of light—sweetie pie, there’s a little fetching keyhole in this

day, reminding you the severance you strike between your
self, that bundled hive, and the day is another lie, another method of survival

that will kill you in the end. Look in or out—there is a red so vast, each red
thing is a falling off, a fat vat of jewels to run

the sun through, an empty chalice dunked and filled with derivations
of this swell, nameless in its light. It’s light. I swear, I sing

of this, or I am silent.



I Will Blow This Poem Up


With a fire in the belly stitched from stars

who might, who knows, begin or end it, always

these decisions– earlier, I noted

the way speech is a line I draw

how the words creep

along, little wheeled trains, exhausted, the fat chuff

of my life. I wondered what that had to do

with that sad, bald, sexist fool trying to write

poems, trying to sleep with me & nearly every friend

I have who writes, I saw his sad apartment

lined in books, the Kama Sutra laid out & winking

on the coffee table, I wondered if he ever felt his words

go heavy in his mouth, fall out: silver coins

he pays those beauties, their lips like parting

sparrows, hair like braided wheat, they clasp his words

inside their open hands & warm them. They retreat. He unbinds

his lonely cock, unbidden, from

the trap his mouth has woven– god in god

in heaven– here are women and men bound like chain link

fences writing in a glory that never gives way–

the opulence!

the rubies in the palms!

the hidden cunts that thrust like cocks!–

for fuck’s sake, where is that poem I conjured

with that fat English woman’s

fat English novel speaking to me

from my lap?

Spring from your locked box!

Be the woman throwing light

upon the bodies.

Poem, you flay a trapped tapestried Marsyas

forever while a Countess snores; a servant catches a wink

of his anguished eye. You crawl inside

a jukebox & fetch me

downstairs to the bar

You are Roger Reeves in his skinny jeans, delicately

showing me, drink in hand, why I should give this hustle up–

You Lie

You Lie In A Split Atom of Detail

threads gleam like discs of fat pearl

laughter from a woman

still a girl

twirling husky smoke

from her throat– yellow silks

a spoiled whore

would flaunt–

There is a moat surrounds me, but listen, there are ways

to stick a pin in the cloaks we think confine us

from the next wide, frozen world: today, my son, barely

three, pointed to our discarded Christmas tree

which earlier wore an angel on its spindly top:

Next year, that tree will wear a star I pluck from the sky

he said, in all seriousness, at the start of this poem



Emily Van Duyne is assistant professor of writing at Stockton College and a 2009 graduate of the Solstice MFA in creative writing.