James Capozzi / poet / USA
We Enter the Cycle at Night and Are Consumed by Fire
Pitch black with two fingers
Of thick khaki foam, moderate lace on the glass
As the head fades.
Mulberry Street standing there unsanded under five inches of snow,
Contours muffled and more revealed.
Decades in this room-of-one’s-own, trauma-mongering,
Trafficking in dread shot through with sporadic, manic elation.
This red room’s static
Nothing as form of perfection, boring but moral
Enough to slow down the truth
So you can see it,
Of actual durable use—this is the condition to which
All art aspires, thinking
Some poem about duplicity of light (the way it handles
A bell pepper’s shape or walks
Over ice), thinking a rhetoric
Of praise painted with designs of the floating world
(Like tattooed skin
Peeled back by time). Now snow another inch, drop seven degrees,
Freeze the whole thing over again.
Del cammin di nostra vita:
Pleasure to meet you sitting in a tartan coat
Looking very important and alone, like a present under the tree
Of a house I broke into.
Now I must depart
Tonight we’re painting apples,
A yellow dress modeled before a red wall’s rhombus,
Hat with grandiose plume.
This is a painting by Matisse. You are you,
Dancing in your room
In your earlier career, Paris
Avec discman, into erotic encounters with cretins and drummers.
Pleasure to discover this.
Pleasure to take your hand in mine—block in
A spring field incubating asters or
Tilting in an open cup.
These materials of the human spirit. We create from them something
Which did not before exist—
Deepest blues, reddest reds, gaps in a reef where blind life
Stabs in every direction
(Cilia pass it habitually toward the mouth).
This is the ice sea of Saturn now, fugitive caves
Are calling us inside
Their process: what enters will emerge, but changed.
Earth plows through
Tons of dust, two stars
Collide and detonate, falcons scan noble canyons
From shattered moonlit nests.
This is pleasure, to succumb to dramatic inevitability, be wracked
By headache weather, symmetry, eye-gouging pain.
To live with deer
On a golf course past Salisbury, float stone drunk
In a tub
Mouthing thin words, a sprawling conversation about ourselves
Fading on the farthest red rock in the sea, the last dying
Evening of this room on this earth.
James Capozzi is the author of Country Album (Parlor Press), which won the New Measure Poetry Prize, and Devious Sentiments (Finishing Line Press, 2019). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New Republic, and The Iowa Review, and he's been an artist in residence at Benaco Arte, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. He lives in New Jersey, where he edits the Journal of New Jersey Poets.