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This is Jacket 14 - July 2001   |   # 14  Contents   |   Homepage   |

This issue of JACKET is a co-production with SALT magazine

Candice Ward

Four poems

Run-on Ghazal, Undone

Naturally, you imagine her eyes of some maternal color
brighter ahead than even gazania as she leaps and takes

you aback without a glance to keep you in stride, home
on the run your belvedere, her unexamined assumption

in the face of the tigers always behind, their oral tradition
chatoyant in the running order where stripes taste perhaps

blotched: non gazebo, non videbo sums up this tiffin relation of
savanna ecology — blindness and desire cinquefoiled as tiger’s-

eye theorizes hunger, the mother of all sandwiches in which you —


Nothing but glass without me, glass —
a mere self-azured air of sheer grandiosity. Cloudless your
ass may be, but that’s just good housekeeping

Okay, so I make my sky, ammoniac,
from the likes of you — too bad if suicide takes two —
wing and a pane
yes, like


All This, Accursed

a black lab crosses your path
with snow in its mouth


what gypsy grandmother
filled your hands
with such crystal

as if I die
all this to be


ouija and tisane
waking at night

the dawn borne in mind
with no din still drives
its blue veins across
the snow like this

signally so

Mise-en-tranche: A tribute song

("I haven’t been this happy / since the end of World War II."
          — Leonard Cohen, "Waiting for the Miracle")

He loves the country but can’t stand the trees
on the same grounds — real yet not exactly
there, like the World Bank — cypress sheer
madness where the wind has no currency
yet the sentimental willow goes on whining,
meaner than mildew to sour his leisure,
the pleasure of coming into his own silk
lining. Such a stitch to be talking to his
pockets at closing time. Repent, they said,
but now he knows what everybody knows

they meant: the sermon’s on account, beyond
the mind to credit, like fiat money. It’s criminal,
reversible as sonata or skin, this torn trenchcoat
indebted to the blues, the rain a rhythm section
tapping panic on his lids. Drum him in then
at the Great Event, with that dove he bought
and bought again. Stranger music, those rivers
going crazy over garbage in the harbor. A body-
bagman that time will not okay, whose workers
in song are still giving tongue just to get ahead
of their class. Billet to the Left Bank when

Manhattan’s given as Japan’s taken, your man’s
been driven from seven pillars to postmodernism.
What a relief to lie down at last with all he’s lost,
to kiss off Berlin and its cheap violins now that he’s
holding every note torn from the sheets he never
worked alone, by the sweat of the moon or a dead
magazine. Let the limousines wait in the street
for last year’s man to comfort any widowed
government. He used to live on loan himself,
at the shore where Malibu verges on absurdity.

But the bonds he bears now he wears as bracelets, like
a refugee, entrenched in foreign issue. He’s divested,
optioned, rhapsodic with his treasury of merits —
history’s indulgence a dated unhappiness: Nancy’s
phone open since ’61, Suzanne sold down the river
in ’67, Marianne so long gone now with the famous
raincoat. Will he ever get clear of their .45s and
razor blades, their dresses, their asses? Love coldly
slipped from hyacinth to barbiturate, verses for faces
lined and powdered by the bitter mirror: the river’s
answer, he guesses, to the cut of his coke or his times.

If there’s hell still to pay for all that croc DNA once
the fiddler’s stopped fundamentally, he says he can’t
complain. As beauty’s his witness to the falling rate
of prime, he’s never been more postwar or felt so
good since his bird wired cash from Bretton Woods.

Candice Ward earned an MFA at UMASS-Amherst under James Tate’s direction in the 1970s, when she was twice selected as a Breadloaf Writers’ Conference fellow. Her poems and translations have appeared in numerous U.S. journals and, most recently, in Salt (Australia) and Stand (England). Rendezvous (Refrain), a long poem, will be published as a chapbook by Wild Honey Press in Dublin early this year. WHP also plans to bring out a selection of the Anglo-Saxon metrical charms in her translations, some of which will appear first on T-shirts to be designed and produced by Louise MacMahon and Randolph Healy.

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This issue of Jacket is a co-production with SALT magazine,
an international journal of poetry and poetics, edited by John Kinsella
PO Box 937, Great Wilbraham, Cambridge PDO, CB1 5JX United Kingdom ISSN 1324-7131

This material is copyright © Candice Ward
and Jacket magazine and SALT magazine 2001
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