the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




FOUR WORKS
BY LYS ANZIA

WHAT DO YOU SEE WALT WHITMAN?

All I
want is one real moment.
One triumph one
pump of blood.

One willingness
to see. A place
where doors
open wide and stay

ajar forever
in the possibility. By
experience? Or
by choice?

Is it so hard?
To see the sweet intangible?

Take what you want and leave
the rest. Leave it
here on the table
for us to eat. To

remember. Remember
the shapeless colour of blood.
How it takes
shape

wherever it falls.
Remember the floating
world? Bright
and comfortable. Remember

the sea. The colour green.
Our morning slippers.
All of life outside that
window wanting the world

to live.
We are left with all this shouting.
All this seeing.
A boat on the edge

of the tide. Washing
slowly to shore. A world
of stones set
silently apart. Clouds

clamoring before sunsets.
Sometimes my eyes
hurt from all this seeing.
A world too dark. Too

bright to know.
Don't be afraid.
What do you
see Walt Whitman?

================

IN THAT FRAGRANT CELIBATE GARDEN I CULTIVATE FOR GOD

It is only

in this whispering

starvation

that any illumination

is possible.

Since 1956,

Ive prayed

to understand why

birds are the only

living creatures

who close their eyes

as they die.

================

50,000 THINGS

One eats. One

drinks beside

the dead, one

steps in the midst of dying.

One laughs. One

sings in the company

of corpses.

An eyelash.

A fingernail.

A watch. A

wedding ring,

a locket,

a photograph, a

golden toothpick.

A piece of bone.

A lipstick.

A comb. A

brush. A ruby

ring. A bracelet.

A shoe.

A writing pen. A

picture frame. These

are the 50,000

things left

behind after

the shadow passes.

This is the compass.

The end of

the search sifting

through

the debris.

================

THIS CLOTTED LINT

If there is anything I

could tell you,

anything seen or unseen,

in the way of this crossing

let it come now. Let

it appear

from a great distance

that is only a room

between us. Let

the door be easily opened.

Let us find our children

alive & kicking

among the ashes. Let

us take them home

& feed them without measure

until the fear

is gone. Until

the heart begins to rise.

Let our tears be water

for rocks & rivers

& flowers that bloom

past autumn. Let

the rivers win this racing.

Let a canopy of sky

unfold beneath us

in moving pictures.

Until we stand

together. Until

we understand the disappearance

of things.

How the vanished repeat

themselves in the mind

of the living. How

the crumbling can barely be

described. A border

of disquiet where

traces scatter like straw

in the wind.

Perhaps we have imagined

we forget

or that time has made everything

appear to fill

the silence.

In regions lost

nothing is ever lost in the telling

of this story. We

grow used

to the separation.

Like the Aurelian wall

built around Rome

in the third century

for protection. Let

the stones forget

their permanence.

Let the soul undo

this sleeping this

clotted lint.