SOMETIMES A RED SHOE IS JUST A RED SHOE
From where I wasn’t to now, it’s
the same damn river twice two times over and clear
enough for the rocks to recognize the color yellow and what
it means. If they wandered closer, we’d be friends.
Everything is water if you wait long enough.
From where he wasn’t to now, his life is untrue.
His days are instructions from accidents. A river
twice the same. The rocks learned how to recognize
the color yellow and what it means.
If they wandered closer, they’d be his friends.
Instructions from accidents, his life is untrue, his days twice
the same, a river. From where he wasn’t
to now, the rocks learned they’d be friends. How to recognize
the color yellow, what it means.
And that if you wait long enough, everything is water.
“THE RED SHOES WILL NOT PERFORM TONIGHT”
The act of her anger, of
the anger she felt then
not turning to him
- Robert Creeley, from “Goodbye”
She sits not as knowing. The red shoes
Will not perform tonight. The blood rage,
a room of familiar music calculates flesh
meaning not words, but gestures: a hand sewn to teeth,
what she could. A question, emotional and arguing, between what and what.
SOLILOQUY FOR ONE SHOE AND THE COLOR RED
One shoe, the remains of words
from three days ago. Do not
imagine light, vagaries, nuances of air pausing
over, just past, cemented, movement.
There is still there. Just as red as near where
it gathers. His several stillborn siblings, alike
in their thinking, how they’d hold him,
continue to do nothing.
Milk, rocks, coal, whisper
neath the sheets. His sleep
many miles from where she
stood. Simply white, a necklace
of hummingbirds, sparrows, blue jays.
Flight, hers, photographed,
black then white. always photographed.
He tried to embrace a moon
In the Yellow River.
–Ezra Pound, from “Epitaphs”
overlaid with frost, star-bled ghost-clouds.
Spidery, silk-black and warm to the eye, unsullied
breathing, dream-calmed, she lay. He thinks of her as where.
Maybe wrongly. Affectionate trouble, his. Pennies for opened eyes.
A mishandled compliment, awkward wakened
desire. The sixth degree of fondness.
Prayer beads fingered, slowly articulated
dust, murmuring, rote. A mirror. The last penny in its pocket.
Mark Fleckenstein was born in Chicago. Five states, a B.A. in English and MFA in Writing later, settled in Massachusetts. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he’s published four books of poetry: Making Up The World (Editions Dedicaces, 2018), God Box (Clare Songbird Publishing, 2019), A Name for Everything (Cervena Barva Press, 2020), and Lowercase God (forthcoming, Unsolicited Press, 2022), and five chapbooks: The Memory of Stars, (Sticks Press, 1995), I Was I, Drowning Knee Deep, (Sticks Press, 2007), Memoir as Conversation (Unsolicited Press, 2019), A Library of Things (Origami Poetry Project, 2020), and Small Poems (Origami Poetry Project, 2021).