Friday, December 10, 2010

John Sibley Williams - Three Poems

Who Will Lay Flowers

Who will lay flowers
on the flower’s grave

who will pirouette
into the arms of the dancer

who will pray for the saints
of forgotten winter

who will write the obituary
of the profound yet eyeless

I Cannot Keep this Poem

I cannot keep this poem
long upon the movements of her body.

Never has the great unspeak
between language and action
between two beautiful imperfections
seemed as hideous as the moment
I gather in my arms the distances
between each letter in her name
and nail her flesh to my other
cherished silence—this poem.

The moment is woven tapestry.
There is a need for re-education
for new reference points.

There is a point when everything
I could sing
sounds the same
and remains

The Rhetoric of Silence

Each word is an immutable truth
to be approached cautiously, from the side,
as one approaches god
or the mirror within a clock’s face
or a stranger white-knuckling a sign
that reads JUSTICE


Each word is a lay prostitute
lustily smacking its ruby lips
that when you kiss
time and again
somehow remain forever virginal,
somehow touch each man unpredictably
upon the forehead or chest or crotch.


Each word is interchangeable—
is hetero‑
is homo‑
is both what needs speaking
and the rhetoric of silence.


Each word is malleable gender
absent its sex.

Or is it
the other way around?


Each word is a cycle of misspellings,
mixed blessings,
equally authentic.

Missed opportunities.

John Sibley Williams is a poet and book publicist residing in Portland, OR. He has a previous MA in Writing and presently studies Book Publishing at Portland State University, where he serves as Acquisitions Manager of Ooligan Press and publicist for Three Muses Press. His poetry was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize, and his debut chapbook, A Pure River, was published in 2010 by The Last Automat Press. Some of his over 100 previous or upcoming publications include: The Evansville Review, Rosebud, Ellipsis, Flint Hills Review, Euphony, Open Letters, Cadillac Cicatrix, Juked, The Journal, Hawaii Review, Cutthroat, The Furnace Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Aries, and River Oak Review.

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