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Landis Everson, a recent photo by Ben Mazer

Landis Everson, a recent photo by Ben Mazer

Landis Everson

Five New Poems

Where Truth Lies

The truth of your lies
renames me. I am not a name.
The street is swept of leaves.
Homeless dogs invade the park.
My own backyard could not be
more beautiful
than the shadows of difference
between what you say
and the escape of shadows
behind words.

Sun and shade.
Truth that I am loved.
People say the watchdog
will never bite
unless silence fills him.
True, I am not loved.

Listen to what you’re saying.
Watch the shadow.
It covers your mouth.
Who taught you to open your mouth

against the caress of a
rough shadow?
I can’t imagine a tongue
without a mouth to lie in.
Lying in your mouth.

At the Window

Insanity is a precious thing under
an umbrella and grows like twisted vines
in our heads. Sometimes the rain comes down

to tickle us and drown out our tears.
The cows outside the institution
have none of our fears. At the window

the bars seem to shift shadows
on the backs of the sweet beasts, and
I wonder at the pastures of peaceful stupidity

that are always inside them to eat.
Like zebras one moment, if the sun
is just right with the bars, their made-up

stripes dance, until the rains come
to put them out. I wonder why
these magic drops tickle when they don’t

hit me on the ears and like crinkled paper
getting wet, the vines uncurl and grow straight
until the rain stops and waits for the zebras.

Lost Cabin Fire

The National Weather Service calls
for isolated lightning storms, Oh Lord,
and the threat of fire most honorable,
visible and beautiful in the night.

Not a warrior, a girl or the moon,
but the gift of Prometheus to man,
surprising even the blind spectator
has also burned 421,000 acres.

Called “The Lost Cabin Fire,” the crew
said it was burning half the west.
I saw it chewing on the moon, eating it up,
consuming $330,345 to date.

Holding your hand in the low humidity
as if you were part of the fire crew
I prayed for rain but at the same time
the destruction thrilled me out in the wild zone.

Old Rain

How can time matter
if a thing once known
such as a language or a god
can be reborn
without derision or shame?

Love in the hotel
where it has stopped before is
in the same worn room.
older than wisdom itself
make light each night,
a book read
whose chapters repeat and repeat,

or that seen through new tears
old rain walks up and down
in the trees
just around the corner
from what happened before.

The Sheer Mass Of Mass

Available in whale, elephant, suede shoes and fleas
depending on the bulk of the observer
the position of the Constellations, the color
of whatever color or sigh that happens by.
I would love to wrap myself safe in miasma.

Weight and heft and obscurity are not
able to walk under umbrellas or size up the days.
There is a lurch in space to accommodate
the tiny moon rising for the night.
Royal heron land ponderously on a pond.
Laughter heard through the earplugs of the gods.

October 2004  |  Jacket 26  Contents  |  Homepage  |  Catalog  |  Search  |
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