Lesle Lewis

Four Poems

Mania Breaks  

My body in bed in the L shape is bad.
Bodilessness expands.
Through the dress­ing room win­dow a pink and blue light up.
I know what I’m doing.
The upper floors of my box are finished.
Fragment plus frag­ment equals frag­men­ta­tion and we can work hard­er with what we have left of what we have lost or what we have left of what we nev­er had.
Raise the lev­el of the fish pond, make a bread head, smile, whatever.
A white woman in a white snow rides a bus.
We’re get­ting clos­er to the thing now that breaks the busy­ness around it: mod­ern libraries and high­ways, then post­mod­ern, then remod­ern, then done.
Out the win­dow is a table.
Gladness is hard to trust like a tall dead tree and its tall dead reflec­tion which does not strike deep into the water as it seems to.
I don’t believe it.
Where a pri­vate wood­land pool runs out over grass and leaves no one cares.

Rainy Days on the Farm  

Day One
The sci­ence, the absence, the trav­els, the walls: we have to feed these things, all ani­mals insuf­fi­cient unto themselves.

Day Two
I called on you to be in your house in your head, to be in your apart­ment heart.
You promised me a let­ter, but then you died.
I am sor­ry that you died.

Day Three
Can I lift bricks all day, scrub pots, car­ry coal, nurse the sick?
To get up is to let the day have me.
To embrace irony is to see more or less clearly.

Day Four
We think it all rush­es and blurs by, but we are the ones going, and we are the ones with a problem.

Day Five
What every­one says about poet­ry is that its light is gold­en, its leaves yel­low, and the sound of it a but­ter­fly run­ning to town for milk.

Work on Paper  

Red Sea Scarf
Be sharp man and soar. Brain head globes for noth­ing. The cut lan­guage yanks the red sea scarf and shoot it. We don’t clean up the mess because we want to see it be it free it.

Woman it’s time the wait­ing and ready time. And we’ll slip and fall. Be a wor­ry sand­wich on dream bread. Baby Mary Emma dies. Cold is good. It drips down and eats you just to put where you are down. A train trip through the for­est of moods left behind.

Red 2
All of you givens and the light’s out a crime a dime a lemon burg­er. Everyone in the fam­i­ly hotel inter­play it works in clay ground fan­tas­tic elas­tic sur­round more ground sound. In an open state of oscil­la­tion we play mul­ti­ple parts, dive into the fast cur­rent with day­light jump­ing all over it in first crazy time.
We know you had com­pa­ny. It was a dri­ve by on the byway what­ev­er I say.

Yellow 2
We touch a flash of a life of love. 83. First person’s dis­cov­ered. Silent reading’s dis­cov­ered. Up to 1,000. Avenue what you call. We build up to this. Just this? Flat town the dead.

Broken Open Flood. Temple Attendance. Done. Sitting on the Fence. A Bird. Drinking Your Way Down.

Emergency Horse  

drab­ness rac­er ele­phant light iron Dutch show fol­ly stu­dio coast dance bis­cuit cook­ing north­bound morn­ing sad­dle leap saucer help atri­um check­er booth plum lightweight
opera day­break Dakar can­cer plain ges­ta­tion insect whis­tle cheese police youth infes­ta­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion triple cre­ma­tion stomp token peanut figure
escape wit­ness tri­an­gu­lar ban­dana crankcase under­neath bond­ing crepes stars fig­urine attempt poul­try forgery freak tank study
eye­ball gup­py suit stem inven­tion coral instant pile sib­ling grav­i­ty the­atre Paris cut snore banquet
luck awake pur­ga­to­ry pur­chase book injury sea­coast ter­rain aunt even­tu­al­ly climb philanthropy
surgery freeze bag col­lapse wind­fall insur­gence fire antic­i­pate girl inevitable square eclipse warn­ing double
cau­tion side­walk vest nurse tow­el wag­on tun­dra blood pace dev­il plus base­ball pulse Olympic remain­der mous­tache prac­tice meet­ing injec­tion pattern
ath­let­ic win­some sandy wait­ing hall­way wet­land wingnut grief ani­mal gift
tele­phone hol­i­day historic


Lesle Lewis’ col­lec­tions include Small Boat (win­ner of the 2002 Iowa Poetry Prize), Landscapes I & II (Alice James Books, 2006), lie down too (Alice James Books, 2011), and  A Boot’s a Boot (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014). Her chap­book, It’s Rothko in Winter or Belgium was pub­lished by Factory Hollow Press in 2012. She has had poems appear in American Letters and Commentary, Northern New England Review, Hotel Amerika, Mississippi Review, The Cincinnati Review, Green Mountains Review, Barrow Street Mudfish, LIT, Pool, jubi­lat, not­nos­trums, and Sentence. She lives in New Hampshire and is a Professor of Creative Writing at Landmark College.