Victor Ekpuk slave narrative
face tracings dissolve into
a black blood tsunami, benches
like coffins, eviscerated by the gold
trade; masks are discrete beings.
Punu link the white-faced masks
with female beauty, the afterlife
& spirits of the dead, while the black
masks are said to be ugly & male.
Afewerk Tekle stained-glasslike
homage to Russian ballet,
red, white & blue & yellow
& green, a ring of pale grass,
money recast into something
useful, other objects good
for when the system dies,
other masks come out to dance
& ride the one within;
the mask known as Hawk
was exiled from the town
because of bad behavior & Eagle
to take his place.
Staff of a counselor,
an impressive command of language,
the one gold man eats,
the other goes hungry.
The food belongs to the rightful heir.
A window of veldts looks
out upon ascending stairs,
forms crosses, quatrefoil
emblems, a crosshairs
or a zen circle—the well of the soul
as an eye.
Secret society, secret birds
like the doves or the hens shown here
are supernatural & can see the future
rimmed with blue Turaco
feathers. Eyeless masks
wrapped & kept on person for healing
or protection, furrowed brows,
stern lips overseeing,
choosing to speak
A rue of verbena, extinct birds rise
from clots of white
flower spikes, daisies freer
at the periphery pollinate:
Adspice Respice Prospice.
Asters in urns bloom before the byzantine facade
of Natural History.
Whistler’s mistress thumbs though
meisho, blue Hokusai bricks,
kimono singularly designed
to grant egress, Hiroshige configures
the industrial landscape
of the Thames. Nocturnes: Silver & Opal,
Symphony in Grey, Blue & Silver,
Grey & Silver: Battersea Beach,
Grey & Silver: Old Battersea Bridge,
Blue & Gold: Old Battersea Bridge,
Blue & Gold: Southampton Water.
Statue of celestial dancer,
quickly-worked chloritic schist,
soft when quarried, hardens
& brittles into pendulous-breasted
Madanaki—epitome of love.
Bright blue wings of an aphid
so formed by white-throated kingfisher
feathers cut & glued
to a lightweight metal substrate.
By comparison the National Air
& Space Museum is crowded
& bloated with marketing, people
in lines spending money
in front of defunct ICBMs. Apollo & Soyuz
kiss above brown, stained carpets. Ours
a great bullet, theirs a giant dildo
or lime-green chess piece, spare solar
wings furled, a Baba-Yaga bird.
U.S. spends $20,000 on a fountain pen
that works in zero g, the Soviets
Spasibo Ivan Ivanovich, 35 years
in suit, so lifelike they had to stamp
“MAKET” on his forehead, an anti-golem,
a dummy & his dog, prana hissing
out his third eye, his body full
of mice & lizards & guinea pigs, singing
alone every part of “Alexander Nevsky”
& a recipe for borscht.
I shall go across the snow-clad field, drowning
out squeaks & pig trills,
I shall fly above the field of death, high
above Kuybyshev. I shall search for valiant warriors;
heavy weather, March 1961,
my betrothed, my stalwart youths,
Ivan Ivanovich lifeless in the snow:
Here lies one felled by a wild saber;
rats crawling out his opened throat,
there lies one impaled by an arrow,
birthed by Moscow Prosthetic Appliances
next, peel & slice the beets into match sticks
& add them back to the pot, now
on loan from the Perot Foundation.
In Soviet Russia space
walks in you.
A foreigner, I expected my feet to be shod in cymbals.
A little boy throws karate punches in the air
in front of him, May the arms of the cross-bearers conquer!
Let the enemy perish! Cold War Bad Guy, sidekick
Natasha says kill moose & squirrel:
Two years, five Vostoks after Ivan, Valentina
Tereshkova becomes the first woman
in space, a solo mission, followed
19 years later by Svetlana Savitskaya,
Soyuz T-7 & then in 1983, US’s
Sally Ride, STS-7, Challenger crew of six,
Mustang Sally, they must have called her.
Challenger explodes in Social Studies,
1986, Ride gone in 2012, Tereshkova & Soyuz
still going in 2014; Tereshkova at
77—ready for a one-way trip to Mars.
Turtle dove down,
was gone for four days,
four hundred years—time
isn’t that important.
between upper & terrestrial
worlds, black beak
like a scimitar.
An operational consecrated space.
floats in a bowl
the story unfolds
by turning the jar.
Jar in the form of a woman;
summer or winter people—
no ambiguity there—
I weep for the end
The smoke purifies
whatever it touches.
All prayers begin in the West
whose color is black;
red the North,
The blighted man
hears a plaint through
& brings back this
an old man’s lips,
a singing angle.
Assimilation & integration.
Bone & horn combs for daily use,
wood to groom the body
Shaggy blazing star
Marsh lady’s tresses
Oblong leaf snake herb
Norin 10-Brevor 14
O moon made
regolith & breccia,
fragile gleaming sheaths
a heart of basalt
A ghost in a crystal
is a cessation of growth
coated with mud then
to malachite green in the blue
eyes of saints.
A crystal is produced
by repeating configurations
By repeating configurations
a crystal is produced.
Differences in temperature
can cause crystal
faces to grow
at different rates, creating
on one basic shape.
A crystal is repeating,
produced by configurations
A crystal is molecules
produced by repeating
of a crystal,
by repeating configurations
Molecules of a crystal
is repeating configurations.
& hydrogen bombs.
Thus are we wed
by purple lepidolite,
towers of spodumene, bloody
glass; iron molecules
suspended in quartz
give the purple color
Mark Lamoureux lives in New Haven, CT. He is the author of thee full-length collections of poetry: Spectre (Black Radish Books 2010), Astrometry Orgonon (BlazeVOX Books 2008), and 29 Cheeseburgers / 39 Years (Pressed Wafer, 2013). His work has been published in print and online in Cannibal, Denver Quarterly, Jacket, Fourteen Hills and many others. In 2014 he received the 2nd annual Ping Pong Poetry award, selected by David Shapiro, for his poem “Summerhenge/Winterhenge.”