Wednesday, June 24, 2009

for cm clark (29)

imago for countless seasons

for cm clark

i shift my gaze to the hermit crab
land-prone itinerant, borrowed baggage
craven & familial, we set our sights at sea-level,
where nothing wilder to sniff settles
than an abandoned whelk,
a cracked conch
waiting for the nearest wave
from “sea-level”

ma cherie, there’s no need to suck
in yr breath when emily dickinson’s
name is invoked or spoke aloud.
u were never her, not in a thousand
lifetimes; nor were u that split metallic
gold pupal case, that exuvium that
wore her famous face & contained
u for a time.
u have been imago for countless
seasons. yr wing veins taut with
haemolymph. u fly gloriously free &
unfettered by earthly constraints,
a metamorphic, flying far & multiverse
wide, piercing the layers of time &
space stealing words from caravans
& country fairs, from a desert’s bleeding
sunset & a dervish’s whirling white morning,
from a thousand parallel worlds. u forever
fly to love, past the hermit’s cave, high
in a thousand & one night black skies,
under the all-seeing stare of a million stars,
seeking yr stealer of souls, the one who
collects & protects yr wild & fecund heart,
but u wisely drop yr stolen words like
bread crumbs so that u find yr way back
home. u fly forever to love, but yr gifted
grace is to bring love to life in the words
u toss on yr pages like an opele chain, those
magical syllables stolen from those caravans,
from sabian & chaldean merchants &
mendicants, from the wandering melevi,
that makes yr beloved coalesce into
quicksilver sanguinity, materialize & make
slippery transcendent seduction in
momentary pauses in ordinary thought
that illumine life’s meaningfulness,
while wry & dry emily is stuck in her
timeless thoughtbound prison: in an
eternally mundane struggle against male
power or the technical originality of her
poetry or her variety of themes or range
& depth of intellectual & emotional
experience – u have flown past & thru'
all of that. u know already that yr
participation in the presence is quite
beyond words & thought & thus yr poetspeak,
yr vibrantly magical verse, neither lyric,
plainspeech nor constrained by manwrought
convention, is but flowing ligatures of
runes & sigils that create every kind of
love out of chaos.

© Joseph McNair;2009


  1. thank you for spreading the tidings of this underappreciated poet. Your tribute does her justice!

  2. I enjoyed the rich language in this poem and learned a lot from your butterfly references ;)