Part One

15 Poems by Werner Reichhold

Comments on Cybertry by Leslie Scalapino: "... the poems have an unusual, that is, very individual characteristic, one aspect of which is that each two lines throughout seem (s) to bifurcate, will begin separating (as if one watches it/the two separate, almost turn up at the edges, not with conclusion and into continual other imaginative actions as movement -- an eye test). Such a lively and quiet mind in them which makes that bifurcating (in which the branches are all of interest) its ground."

Please Ignite

Where the bus stops? close before your feet
the half-automatic door folds to the left

departure, tears stay alone behind the window,
white tissue up and down a nose, crumples;

one hand combing red curls back to the ear's
pale moonstone; chosen?

Please ignite, diesel, give it a little jerk,
the rounded rubber rolling away with

the window, some hair, tears, tissue
treacherously -- didn't I observe that before?

Sorry, suppose on the bus door's right side
rests a fire extinguisher; it's red, too.

Nest of Acceptance

As the fog sinks into the ocean I touch
a salt shaker; the cafe's waiter serves his first look.

Thunder of calm August; table cloth lights up
and liberates the silverware from its supportive surface.

Unpredictable charm of death, when I watch my request
disappearing into the darkness between his hair covered ears.

A guest explains to his partner how she feels,
her thumb and middle finger building a nest on eye level.

Invisible, the mouth holds its tongue. The untold moves
across through flowers, sleeves and partial acceptance.

With a nod, my dog reads the alphabet of meat on bones.
Knowledge and learning reunite

in my neighbor's breath. We recall an Italian farmer's horse
plowing in service to Chianti. Old as soil, we lick our lips' red violence.

Soon we empty the painted plates. My fork persists to lean
toward cheese strings, putting a beard on the faience dragon.

Leaving the Ikarus Club, Raffaella needs change; tip-quarters
clink sharply to expectations the waiter has in mind.

Swinging through curves of the Autostrada del Sol, I observe
two arrows ahead of me: one pointing left, one to the right.

Clearing Power

With the speed of an owl adapting
my eyes during a doctor's examination

charm of not yet composed lines
a too small X asking about validity

if the letter itself could be certain
it wouldn't question some company.

In the dark, I hear gloved fingers
arranging me and the coolness of tools.

Lenses exchanged before one eye
suggest rented sight is available.

Not identifying a low line's Y
I sway with the nurse's observation:

to your burning inside
those lenses will add better focused views.

The new optics perform
as if disappearing fog has meaning.

by choosing a frame, the temple piece
feels well in place but not mine.

The shop's mirror shows equally silent
a retriever and a blind man lined on.

During the night train's ride home
the vision of an icy lake never snowing in.

A Taste of Entry

Dark matter, in her eyes the health of distance, when with delay
the plane landed in a burst of flames. Bare-faced in transformation

starboard, an early touch of essential ground; temporarily not embodied
the wave of a soul enters the mosaic of a time-shredding reptile.

It is a hot consistency rooming with a taste of sudden entry.
No disc formatted, abundant energy offers a first tickle to Sheila;

her fetus leaving its watery boundaries into the unnamed.
Slip, slit, sliding; unlimited small, the blacker the hole the faster weight spins.

No fear? The pilot on his nomadic journey, flight-flooded, pouring air.
The navigator's needle oscillating to a picture in his wallet.

It says no; she's nineteen, no college, but karate and the breath of a surfer.
Will she be bursting too, leeward where a sail's move changes speed?

Is there a withdrawal from barefooted flames on delay,
a distance from the weight that spins?


Stillness under his watch seems so evenly
cut up; house keys, during the funeral

handed to the daughters' ashen mask;
April, a moon shapes the night

with its habits; an animal is engaged,
the name could be one wearing the name of others.

Besides belongings, Ruth and Salmone
exchange breath, eyebrows move sideways;

how impatient the sofa's straw cover darkens,
numerical twinkling comes to mind:

seven chairs to inherit and yellowed etchings
showing privileged fishes growing wings

and a fur coat, probably from a leader-wolf;.
its compulsory smell still eye-catching

Invitation, the unwanted offers side-seeing
onward to new invocations, coded e-mail.


Three Heads

It doesn't get lost easily
in a language attached to it;

it links its own flight
to the landscape of other invaders.

On the target's terrace we protect
a birthday candle from wind.

Turning grandpa's face to the west,
sunset may read stories out of his folds.

To who's warmth would this
summer night like to be compared?

Without responsible efforts
it gets closer to the sleeping city.

In a fan of three heads diving, countdown
5 4 3 2 1 the nuclear payload.


Abducting forces, a downshift unleashes
a fall-in fall-out of a wave's top transparency.

Fish-cool, the piling of water throws its bones around.
Hypnotized, I give in to little resistance;

tugged under, breath stops as the body
disappears in a swell's initial curl.

Along the towering glass wall
a scheme reflects the intruder.

Losing a wave's center, the forces resemble
a stage shortly before the last push at birth.

The open mouth forms an O; a piece as big
as an oyster misses the balancing hand.

Tunnel-foam, grabbing the surfer.
Former arguments connect smoothly.

Under spread legs, two blues partake in one cut.
Sun oil destabilizes the feet on a slippery board.

In a shape of wet gravity, both, the rider
and the ridden bow to each other.

Exercises seem to be shadowed when one wave's
gusty winds try to put a partner out of side


Rented Bronze

More, more speed
on street-determinable joints

a dimmed cafe, its air;
I sit straight, inhaling

dope and plum cake.
On such contradictions

Berkeley, the chasing
of students' searching out

for their brothers. Both fifteen.
Can school be over,

over to fall on
bronzed fingernails?

October cuts, short lighted,
a corner sign;

its rusted angle, pointing one way
I feel my father's rented rib.

Clear Apart

Blue-sky column, the barometer ascends
in arteries, the weather


bends. On the calendar's midsummer angle
peach colors' moisture

in waves

they contact a close night-flying bat.
Zigzags; no past of now, less moth-wind

early, when I'm

apart, aperture, absorption. My dark eye scans
the movement on a nude shore, fuzzy


one beam enlarges my too long hair.
Is there provision, does the focus fingers a nerve?

clear obsidian

star milk condenses. I listen, please speak
Arabian from deep in the throat telling tales.


Botanical Soft

Exchange, it inclines itself
partly in flowers, partly not; the sucker

considers the word offal unmistakably,
encouraging a round mouth's oh,

but earlier. Timing as a soft approach
when shy eyes turn lower;

suitably present, quickly invited,
permitting to choose just this collage

as a museum; the visitor wears rose oil,
blushes, almost botanical, before apes appeared

badly shaved, occasionally on request
half way up for certain hours of a day.

Since so much can not be identified, anything else
is immediately put forth or at hand, when I sleep

(more seldom, during the abomination of a question
a vulnerable value offers its feeble-minded strength).


Access to His Sleep

Saturday evening
one boy calling me
with his sister's name

(second sound
colored, washed away
by the sea)

half past six
out of his hands
dew water drinking

no, the door knob?
it wasn't shut before
I opened

the darkness
occasionally darker
access to eyes

sleeping there
within the sleep
around his neck.

Sand to our Initials

I am the inflammation
of my mother's
spread out, beaming
the basket of a journey

we would not
mouth or breast
leave alone
twins of the fluid
once sipped on

a beach-line
four tides
sand to our initials'
slow moving fingertips

shine is half
fish fin and gently
the fiber of my rib.


Changing Tracks

My silk is worn
inside the elbow
crow print fold

into my eye the sun
a blind spot

desert hillside
only one creek wet
with bushes

they change angles
on dusty stairways

Before and After

with a little of her hand

no, she hasn't
in its shade
lips of an excuse

we smile
we look away
before and after

a ring-dove
gray, much of gray
to follow

our heels
both sinking
down to the creek.



Copyright © Werner Reichhold 1995.

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