Posted by: Rachel Mallino | August 13, 2009

Dysfunctional Batch #11 – Carolyn Srygley-Moore

About the (dys)functional poet:

Carolyn Srygley-Moore is an award-winning graduate of the Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars, in Baltimore, & a Pushcart nominee; her digital chapbook Enough Light on the Dogwood was published as part of Mimesis’ 2008 chapbook competition. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Cartier Street Review, The Pennsylvania Review, Mimesis, & two anthologies: the antiwar Cost of Freedom & Gold Wake Press’ Identity. She lives in Upstate New York.


Seeing the Look in His Eyes

Black birds, screeching, break the surface sheen of the sea, light
collapsing on darkness: & the look in his dulled eyes when he broke the door down,
a brief rope in one hand – his arm held out – asking me to tie it, tight,
so he might shoot up the porn of the city…
narrow corridors of light, of weightlessness, hold me close
as the place of him that is pink, like a dogwood petal,
that must be pink; an envelope. The taste of glue.

What of the look in Christ’s eyes as he traced the upward lilt
of her breast – not lustful, rather detached as an artist,
interested in a master’s creation –
as man, or woman, or me, should have regarded
the fruit of the tree. Apple, pear, whatever –
Having seen the twinned faces of God, what next? But

the mending of the broken treehouse,
the man, the treehouse atop his head, dancing it down, down,
into the earth,
where I am not lost in parking lots,
where the coppery dolphins sleep. The look in his eyes, when
I touched the cuffed red collar of his coat, & his face

appeared, & he is me, &
he does not recognize me.

The Waiting Room

First bluing snowfall pattering to the abandoned wood-slat boardwalk.
To change a word is to change everything, the pattern of everything, even
the spotlight of the insomniac orange moon caressing the terror I knew, & know.
I am watering an arrangement of dried sunflowers, unreal yet pivoting
toward the light;
I am waiting for you in the waiting room, the ghost-sliver of you caressing
…………….my head on your lap, stroking my dyed pink hair,
…………….the implausible filaments of our macraméd life story. Ours is
a story etched in blossoms of household god-dust
settling in the slanted margins of fact, the sand-welded windows, the
bleached sills of what we know. (That is a compass of night-moths migrating below.)
We tend the spinning assembly line belt like a nocturnal’s birdcage, owl & bat,
our laughter & our laments pass us by like vessels of good, good water.
……………..This is the digger’s detritus of the anthropologist’s site –
……………..all being, “an attempt at communication,” he tells me: blue
Creek arrowheads, clay pottery fragments, fire-silt.
True, in the trenches of any frontline, any frontier, you cannot complete a thought,
much less a sentence, & everything seems at a distance. The language of nightmares –
acts of passion lacking words of love, the black sketch in sidewalk-chalk sealed
beneath panes of door-window glass…& how you carry my head on your lap,
……………..outside the bus station, this bus station (the buses are all headed home),
from your emergency bed of IVs & monitors: I wait, caressing the terror I know.

Insomniac Night

Waking in the center of the night, amidst a myopic
blur of heavy-lidded doorways,
the remnants of yesterday’s blizzard outside, the cast light of snow.
Who will claim, own, this body when it dies, I wonder,
my inward speech drunken, slurred.
……………..I can smell the smoke on my husband’s skin,
from the orange corona at the edge of creation, think how at times
I want out of the hunt, to simply be
a breeze whistling through the roadkill carcass, a thing
unrecognizable, but for the eyes.

+ + +

Yes there are things I know, if beneath the surface. The flirt
of the blank at the axis of time, where the kindling heaps.
…………….What details of human history can you recall, like
tomorrow’s breakfast? There is no way out
of the pattern to things, wind whistles through the flesh-picked
skull like thought, even the ditch’s dead
doe dreams, with consequence.
………………………………………………………I have read
there is fire at the edge of all being; no one can erase our song.

+ + +

The butterflies my brother studies elude me, the variant wingstrokes,
the reason, how
…………………………………..their confused compass is a paradigm for jet-lag,
…………………….how their ways can clarify our ways. Or so he told me
when he visited, at the antiseptic state hospital, when my mind had
collapsed in upon itself, like velvet petals, a tent, or a roof under a white
fury of blizzard…pages on pages of butterflies, under
sheathes of plastic, as he hugged me, weeping, asking
if I could come out to play, in a child’s voice, telling me
the fables we choose to love, as if they are true.



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