Joe Valverde – Three Poems

Joe Valverde

Three Poems

camillo feels the pulse of the world

i finally felt the warm beat around which the facts move themselves,
the dewy green sap-passage at the center of things,
the slowly revolving axis which makes people turn & differentiate,
& which i felt bobbing up and down my throat hydraulically
between the bracelets of the larynx.

everything had a part in it.
it was logical consistency, and also illogic kissing.
there was no sadness in it, & no joy, just movement,
& it had no value, or was all values at once, effervescent.

almost with the moment of the pulse itself i felt
apprehension that i would no longer remember the world as pre-pulse.

but then i forgot both.
now colors & responses float accidentally, cohered by convenience,
& i’m pretty sure that the next time i feel it
in the arch of my foot)
it will be something else entirely —
a country, or a geometry, or a gas.

there is a word that pulls together the difference

& which i feel, hot, crouching in my throat,
ready to erupt at the wave of a green palm frond
or to pop, emphatic, at the head of a chain of deductions.

already its consonants worry about my teeth,
yellowing my gums, stealing the sunlight
from the railings of the porches holding themselves straight across the way.

(the vowels rub themselves together against curvatures
of thighs, pillows, trees, & banisters,
& i smell them, flagrant, begging me to kick.)

so why do i always feel that people from new hampshire
or montana must be privy to something that i don’t know?
(as if more green meant more truth.)

& if the word’s in my throat why then does the neck throb,
hoping for a callous, as soon as the spring turns,
and the arm hair angle toward decametric dawn?

my guess, i, camillo extemporaneous,
is that the word prepared itself for milk & blood,
but finds itself only in red rolling air.

‘speculative haw’

the summer-thick yew can it
twist its trunk back to yawn over
the creek & not the road?

& the ear can it undo
its hierarchy of tones?
the skin can burp the bones back

out of its lumpy sack.
i’ve seen it. & i’ve seen
armies fade into autumns.

now my tongue splits
in 2 unequal streams
uncertain of the way.

my hands then, what
can i do with them —
to the soil press — press the sky?

return to SHAMPOO 41