The Stars Down to Earth
Some people call that tinsel-tetanused cut the sky is suffering, the moon.
I say that is a matter of perspective. You came around today and I thought,
I could get real deep into astrology.
The Real too often gets confused with actuality, and anything
in actuality is actually really hard to get accomplished with you hanging ‘round
the bargain bin of my ideas. I’d say I had a dream, but maybe it was just the frost
under my soles that broke and opened up as a reminder that the earth insists
on holding us aloft. The space between any two objects is called a symptom.
Maybe a meteor fell on Tunguska, maybe you just brushed my arm.
Minerva’s owl must be gorgeous, the dusk, however, is inscribed with awful signs.
So, quick, gather apostles, study middays, yell obscenities into the sink.
If we could just unrule the world for a day.
In the dream, it was the stuccoed bark
of a mechanical money counter, piped
through a bas-relief-accented burial hall.
In the dream, this marked an sense
of scope and took the place of what
the lovers in Helsinki had said the dream
was meant to have in it, before they drifted
off together, baywater around a vagrant riverboat.
Even this bold, blue anxiety—its thunderheads
accessorized by starlings in the afternoon’s
narrowest hours, refracted in the superstructures’
rippling chrome—creaks, in the dream,
with the absence of anything resembling
a guarantee. In lieu of this, upon awaking,
after we have polished our gums, a lance of blood
worms, sinkside, to the drain:
hard evidence of all our gormandizing mysteries.
Thermology Ending with a Working Heart
after Mary Jo Bang
I think I’ve heard there is no thing so hot to touch
it can’t be handled. To try this, I would like to cock
the unattainable and lob it like a javelin across the room,
clean out of its distinction as a concept
and into the fleece-scorching heat of the moment.
Imagine, a hot-air-balloon that’s swelled
and knows no limit to its physical potential.
Its basket peopled by a clump
of tourists—visas to this side of youth
so near to running out—some certain
and some nauseous, watching the palmy country
spreading tumid, arras-like, and tight as the ball
and whorl of a thumb. No fun, to be so close
to earth when our ideas inhabit heights,
when such impossibilities are dammed behind
the firmament, white as a welders torch along the rampage
of a jackhammer, bright as the guts and smelters of a heart.
GEORGE KOVALENKO is a poet whose work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Ninth Letter, The Cincinnati Review, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from New York University and the Saltonstall Foundation, he lives and teaches in New York City