Douglas Luman is the Book Reviews editor for the Found Poetry Review, the Assistant
Poetry Editor at Stillhouse Press, and an MFA candidate at George Mason University.
He can likely be found sleeping in a library somewhere in Northern Virginia.
Bob Ross — Lost Self Portrait
On the canvas, there's a maple &
some rust-colored vegetation.
The secret is: piles of leaves
comfort no one. August light
has its own way & land its own
drama: the palm tree determined to live
as coffee; firewood that forgets how
it could have been a fence; a squirrel
or an honest fox. What are
your skills with rose bushes? Here
the buds refrain from a chance
to burst. Otherwise, the shrub says.
Make wind sound like a nasty knife, or
a riddle about the growth of flax.
O before the mirror happened, you
were so educated a self. So good,
a noun between my & doubt. You
have to make the sun a tactile thing;
make the viewer feel like they have
grain. But, you cannot buy pride
in a pencil. All I know is that I will never
Luke Howard — Marginal Notes, Essay on the Modifications of Clouds
Grass sprouts as an adjective on the ridge
& I have lost the day in the area there. The sky
looks like 12 000 hours of snow, but language
used for it is a disintegrating tuft used to evoke
the sort of fish that lyrics describe &
thunder always appears where the day is
headed. Largely, the self is a chronicle
of weather patterns. With these laws,
we must either be evening rains or animals.
In the empty leaf of a second, I've lost
nomenclature for the sunset & there are
any number of terms at which to arrive at it.
By semantics, any man can be a father. But,
anything can appear together with a word.
Just look at how the nimbus forms. Or a ghost.
Shi Shen — Missing Page from Astronomy
Only so low as sea level are facts
visible. The ocean's gesture spreads
cold on the shore—what a water clock.
If hours exit as they're spoken, at least
seas stay around for awhile. Ask anyone
who's been alone after ten in the evening &
they will tell you about signs or fumbles.
I'm speaking of people to whom the moon
is the world, men who know how time's
iron takes the tongue away. As noted,
these people appear old, wearing garments
of the hours. Perhaps that's a metaphor
for something. But, if the sun rises, it's all
by your effort. Leave a name in the dregs
of a book somewhere or your fingers are
eventually forgotten. Look at the stars.
See if there's anything there.
Carl Sagan's Voyager Golden Record Sessions — Lullaby for Sons
with a line by Mike Gray
If the bone faults, call it a fracture. If it
requires unlocking, call a locksmith.
It's a lifetime of mortality, stud, & the body
cannot be controlled from the body. When
there's a storm system around—to quiet
a tornado, place your hand on top of it. Say
hush. Think of yourself compared with
lifespans of plush furniture, how all can end
softly in one place. In that way, the head
is a shabby motel. You are told to arc
to Arcturus & what that means is donít.
Sputnik said it best, the sky is just sky.
Anyone who doubts it exists can walk
into the backyard just after sunset & see it.
You look out with eyes that intend to look
beyond Earth. Look out for the stairs first.
Our record is more like a pelvis. How easy
it can break.
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