Before the Storm

before the storm
Before the storm

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

3 thoughts on “Before the Storm”

  1. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Listen Online
    This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. Preface to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Public Domain

    NOVEMBER BY Edward Mycue
    As in November when we plant
    tulip, hyacinth and daffodil
    as old bonds grown dull
    among mutable
    imaginary satisfactions,
    like those meiotic moments
    in dreamed carts of hay)
    those things remembered
    trail, reflect
    The torpor brought
    from the soft thocking
    has gone and left us only us.
    It is time and nothing waits.
    It is soon and nothing waits.
    It is late and nothing waits.

    I hear in the wind long-gone voices
    who knew the language of flowers
    tasted the bitter root, hoped,
    placed stone upon stone, built
    an order, blessed the wild beauty
    of this place. Can you hear
    in the wind whispers, crusts
    of soul-insulted soul, scattered
    ages, decided, gone yellow, thin?

    I hear in the wind those old sorrows
    in new voices, undefeated desires,
    and the muffled advent of something
    I only define as bright, new angels.
    Can you hear in the wind independent
    people who never depart, have no time
    for friends, who want to go and want
    to stay and never decide in time?

    I hear in the wind old phantoms
    and the swirl of the released mustardstar
    and the cry of innocence.
    It is soon September.

    What was finished, celebrated is almost finished again. My life is your story.
    Your story a submarine skin envelope holding my story in worlds, walls dividing
    my story, your life. The where’s and when’s keep turning on a spinning plate half-dipping into the Pacific Ocean and we on this tilting/raked stage where great ships
    foundered with their great sentences of life and death—unfinished symphonies for the future out there that is our audience and who’ve driven-in to watch thinking that they
    today have cast-off the overcoat that stifled thought for us, not realizing that thought
    was the marriage of these rocks of experience this broken glass these diamonds in
    exciting shapes the rising sun fallen where the rainbows arch over beehives.

    Ugly is just a sharp paradigm shift. Praise for a red tractor. Dancing for chump change. Death an epistemological rupture.
    Between lust and first folly is misspoken weeping. Ice skater on the glass of love.
    Apple hooking into taste as it pours from the roofs of mouths.
    I’m hitched to a string,
    the shape of a heart. If I pull it or yank it, it comes apart. My past fell apart, it fell on the
    floor. Do nothing, be smart, you’ll hollow your heart. Go to the end, jump in, take a
    swim around your island. You’ll learn that the noose comes from within.
    On an island
    in the Bay—tears, anger, snot, spit; born, unborn: love, pre-intentionalist, is a soft
    sunrise. Twitching. A covenant drifting. The dead are among us. Tactile interface of
    memory: the dead are a lifetime buried in every moment. Baghdad heart, brick-red, done
    in the antique style of rooted standards, outlaw blues, kiss of troubles. Is it worth it? In
    the crosswalk on Oak Street near Gough (rimes with cough) where the red and dusky
    San Francisco night before the dark looks upward for birds flying south from Canada the
    earth is a body of interconnectedness. Life’s a daily scavenger hunt as the helicopter pushing air down lifts and the shiny lacquer of a left-out lawnmower partners seven little
    boy and girl pirates at the toy red plastic barn offering evening-pardon from bay wharf
    to a barn owl with tufted ears north over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma County and Bartlett pears, Gravenstein apples, Blue Lake green beans, new squash. Memories to come lemon green of the young dad in sandals on a bike with his kid laughing. Their
    names are Joe and Julian who’s lost sandal, blowsy as jimson weed, was found again.
    Clemency, concord, representation of peace. Although in this old book the one of our lives everyday has a scream in it, mental garbage but not every syllable for misery. The
    bacteria of emotions are domed spires, sample rooms and surrogate rumors that saunter, propagate invective, treasure, warning saddling ships of joy on angry hooves.
    Strange shapes appear, macular degeneration, summer youth play-out, bumpkin, yokels, book clerks, truck drivers, anxiety to alienation, old chestnuts, aggregations of barnacles
    force allusions, disassemble adolescent abstractions flipside to windows on hell with
    bell-bottomed deep passages, bright chambers. Pulpy earth curdles its muscle dandling
    rose red morning. Ethics reason a new bed, authorized desire, enzymes’ unction for the day’s comma is the crossover moment that says: “Take me, give me, send me away.” A
    Mexican mango with champagne flesh light as a feather fluttering like ash once awkward and now terrible. We are fish in a net where roses of soot silt down into a lake of sleep. A woman came up to the edge. Pilgrims knelt to each other. Fiction can’t erase the teeth marks. Salmon pink, a slice of tomato, annihilated rendezvous-silkiness. Picnic. Drip pan. An unknown subtext beckons tumult in lavender flames. Enchantment: a dark speaking through a megaphone to this woman who bites her hair and code-breaking the gates of dreams that quench beauty red as blood, soft as cream. Light is amber, lantern-lit, catenulated halos drifting over riptides toward dawn gloaming. Surf is a pale tan woman, a green silver surging, a blue yellow renunciation. “Wkhah” “Wkhah” says the wind in the mind. This is action’s rose with green streaks of diagonal light igniting the garden in Tumbletown. Stardust a diminishing gusher of milk as it pinkens becomes a slight wicker coracle. The scar of full daylight has you crawl some days and boil each third. The old Queen Grandmother rages. Baby hummingbirds long for the cap and cowl
    of a trumpet bloom. Slippery bridge this silver fire and blueberry cream: these are lost lessons and an inner journey where deer in a protected park flood the experiment’s unity.
    Slowly. Glow. Earth jimjams a jungle under diamond skies as long-nailed dogs cut bark, tree rats scurry in canopies and ungrounded creation sticks hard red grease into fault lines, a welter of cherry-wood, linen, grass. Then rain. Guts erupt with reason, choices, the trigger of harmony, of Edens envisioned, never actualized, echoing gunk, churning and gurgling hope.
    Memories, notes, glints, glances, baroque voices that carry love, sorrow, dancing images into the evenings of tall reeds that stand in moving waters sinking with the waters into the soil absorbed, evaporated to crust to dust that under later rains give over to damp earth ripening with memories that come from whatever life will press upward for the death ship for new sowing.

    Telephone call then a summary a sea change, something more masochistic than divine.
    Playground happenings, pals, thin, tough, jittering with velocity, high horses: they are scattered and buoyed by discipline, some say a high art whose escutcheon has low pay.

    The wheel is round and childhood desire turns life’s wheels, these large hoops, propelling them with sticks under the tall park elm trees. Movement of wheels.
    Everyone there is here now within you and all of your kin and all of your kith are here now and it will take a lifetime to flower and to fly and to sail this sea of thickening light. Room-tone, mouth-feel, a reordering of parts, rationing of emotions: I hear voices: they live here now without forgetting the way back under the surface of consciousness, the bungled aspirations, of leprosy as a model, and grim ire. Life pushes, photography wins over time, and over the mind a brown shale. This is November.

    © EDWARD MYCUE 30 June 30, 2015 APT 320 3595 GEARY BLVD. SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118
    TELEPHONE 1 (415) 387-2471 E-MAIL mycueed@YAHOO.COM

  2. I hope you don’t need them. Ever. Or the pants, though they are very comfortable. But both of us spent the 4th writing poetry–what could be more truly patriotic.

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