Two Poems

Peter Richards




I do remember waking from the most
maroon tic a mind in tarnation has
ever seen and the countless feeling being
looked at through straws and by as many
tarnations were the straws in expertise
held looking back at it now it looked more
planetary than engorged more drum ridden
than honed say seasonably honed and with
a face like utensil face at the foot of a tower
hair boasting tower
at the end of each hair another face lay
with each hair decidedly its own at the end of
each hair a little face in terminus lay
in state there save for a few
those hairs said in some circles to continue
well past the spell trial of death
for it was one of those tics whose prospect in the blood
they say you are some fourteen days before you’re bit
in this light I just persisted there
watching the sister cliffs turn in for the night
and wondering if I was
one of their finishing touches or not







That her grave was denied a chariot painted by a Gau slave blinded at birth
the better to survive too much pageantry the knife by itself painting the sun alone
in thought the sun the tarpon the chrome the void’s blameless din now leaving

the chrome only not so inviolate deliberate the tall wondering might such august
purpose undressing and dressing before the mirror drove the sun this way for the sun
gone brightly forth into joy and lifted eye and sounded horn and let the saw held

for sawing mine held its own teeth in loving silence for a spell sun deserving sun
would that you lend me your quiet for a spell would just a sledge full of your painted
light the ray green light pour it down upon me now sun indestructible sun weaponry

and by golden weaponry let that it mean the good light beyond all ease putting stations
in their stations the hoarfrost the hooded bloody hoarfrost that was for presumption
while the air the air that was for the air boasting what the air to metal swore and telling

on dullards and by hunches let spring be probably the most perishable springs
come as those imbued with human hair and let the worm share what the worm knows
the little learner the little dome threaded learner



Time but to look at you smiles the comet in portent
the comet heavy with children hibernal yes shouting comet
to look at them is to know of a time before the disturbance

time when mere thought was the man made manifest not knowing
to the sun then if I was worth sighing over and from the peddlers
would I not bend for some more blood trumpeting and would I not

for some living horn and task the glue of these fear gray odeaon ships
they are nothing if not the mural veering precipitous ships of course
they are more more for landing directly on the mural more and ho only

somewhat are they less spruce beloved long time friend of the poplar landing
dish wise on the sun the sun who was glad to sit with me that day at the games
so together we could say how they cut shout fat away and together we could

woe did she lay sorrel most directly on the puffers and woe did she inflict gold
last of all the murals WHERE ARE THE INDESTRUCTIBLES tell them we’ve come
by way a fragrance leaves chastity to the fidget the fidget to the jar and chrome

to its vigilance schooled as we are in the sensation in the reaches in the sun
cockled sun plowing one of its own whitenings and ceaseless were the flowers
even then we could say the cave was the garland cave the one shall we say painted

more fully wreathed in considerables even then she wore the swift the sun made
might it keep us mining the whitened flower the corals the moving along now well
inside the sun already fallen on the recently drown to see its braid of many loves



The taken shape in the brain teaching the pattern is cages
the lending it stages of quieted men and for those impending
the quiet daily the horn more opens blasting the admission

all things all incident the slightest precipitate mauled by a mayfly
mallets her down until she is that speck too small to part with
too small to give tussle too small for the blows and never was dust

more its own ether as when it was her dust led to the ends of her kingdom
and needing more death were the many stars there together in one need
our own is but an aspect a red horn working a gorge only more serene

with the virgin blood splashed upon it and coming on fast were the broodings
of summer the trickery the troublers the journeymen the hex she laid upon them
undressing as though a bother with that tomboy look away from the holler

it seemed done with a cudgel to one yet to have a turn and only later saying YES
but it felt true and good to her and from the very outsets as though she had found
a less ponderous way of living no cause to tarry no cause to stall and underneath

stars no less than she would find the talent but the taste for it the joy of it
the feeling each man winding down to a well the diminishing patters the coin
the partly her own rope in the matter or if not golden with scheming is the sea

to its rhythms and sounding off in a line of ray green ply and rivalries heaving
but in the way of swords put down in twilight in secret or if not gorge hit
was each sword blue and setting and leaving its hiss in the waters

hardening to a still white fountain of boys growing older and weeping
as it were a boy each to each finally having a hand and there was not one
for whom the queen was not his flower together leaving the silks of whitened

prawn and spelt muzzled coffin only standing upright in a daze
brandishing with each lieu rotation the axis it became the adornment
the blaze and shouting to the room to the temple the temple is an orange

hovering in cays it resembles itself so not at all a shiny white lung then
one could hazard one could say still shy four hundred boys you begin to see
why they say it’s a shivery white chevron that resembles life in the alkaloids

itself a kind of dust though this gets said in hindsight and by a Gau no less
soon quiet and going blacker were the aspects of that dust lo sun with a ring
to it sun digitorum sun on that day mowing my own fuse audible hills



Leveling off to a sheath in the end just knowing the boys were growing opaque
was the basic outline of her life it’s where she slumbered best not feeding for a spell
calves to the turbines the rangers and her own reflections on yet another gypsum

caster glary explaining how best to honor her highness leave it up to the boys
let them decide it’s their glister after all and if they bring tooth to the kingdom
they bring tooth to the queen and with their steeple growing fiercer

the protocol what protocol semen was the protocol and broken was the priesthood
first thing in the morning then set out with the sun go and find her the large ones
the plight ones for each one is a future and so heated up it’s like what the bards say

each boy was a spigot that drank from the horn only here the figure’s shadow
conflates a bit suggesting a snarl that begins at the eyes and spreads to the baste
and there you have it your whitened fuse and a general white pulse from the leafery

and with each boy a spigot that drank from the horn she is too small now
to be of any help now painting one of his vistas of the pallid heft
nor the mating grays with grays a subtler white jonquil sips the contusion

climbing undine in the mural she appears not to stay in the mural
but to blacken and whiten and to blacken again she cannot speak bending
to the mirrored grasses her foot unsaddling on the water is that alignment

you see in the mural the stairway the obsidian rows lead your eye down
to the first boulder system a shade provides YES I HAVE SEEN HER NUMEROUS

MAKING PRAYER FOR HIS NUDITY until dismayed and flattered that way the catch
in the prayer machine finally got caught and lifted them both into the air the other air

where they were brought to be called the saw nudes passing in their nuptial basket
continuing they rose up past the dictates the orders and into the bright mangy
lo what layers of famine have descended on awe and none of it asking after such

dereliction do we go on calling it awe what with such sidearm dismiss of these two
as some such to be noted and lampooned and struck dead by decree had it not
been for this one this one exultant one not yet fallen into the others’ disfavor

he did lend them his safety his speed and such fond remarks he blew upon them
and while just then the hoarfrost on his lips began to blacken he went on LOOK
how openly these two sail in their own miriam of hark and ballast

tapestry and sky and how many skins have they quilted together in a cloudlet
of smoke azure and time for outlasting the hour and yonder and there was
so much aging yonder then pulling those first dirigibles over the sea


Peter Richards is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and the John Logan Award. His poems have appeared in Agni, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Yale Review, and other journals. He is the author of OUBLIETTE(Verse Press/Wave Books, 2001), which won the Massachusetts Center for the Book Honors Award; NUDE SIREN (Verse Press/Wave Books, 2003); and HELSINKI (Action Books, 2011). He has was taught poetry at the University of Montana(Richard Hugo Visiting Poet) Harvard University(Briggs-Copeland Lecturer), Tufts University, Museum School of Fine Arts, and Brown University.