s t u d i e s : a book of hours

the trade winds aren't exactly blowing,
nor are they what I thought they were

in the spirit of staying here
vessels usher me to studies of clouds

amazing that anyone cares enough to show these
in the midst of so much apocalypse fantasy
people in the streets the heated pageantry of rage

in bed I watched an unfemale parade of the ascension
camels donkeys robed men, no harm done for a while

this day bodes well for big scenes: a matinee on my wall
of static dancer a stopped pinwheel in front of scrims
cunning and almost apocryphal all that rendered ego

I could swear it is Sunday not a post-holiday
I'm of half a mind to go to Mass am churchless
working on rejections and disavowals,
really getting somewhere with those
like piecework it adds up in the long run

I'm a ragpicker but my little injuries are in themselves luxuries
genuflecting from the EZ Chair take it easy chair easy, Chair

a voice says you are universally adored you have a friend
in me we do share a few holy people in common
burning the same books to keep warm

I thought the scarlet tanager was telling secrets like a teenager
beckoning to the BIG WOW THERE IT IS or was it
just her rural trickery two ropes of smoke

give me simple vessels unfluttered tonality I'm sick of
seeking miracles in everything

per contra during ablutions I sympathize with extremism
I, too, find these organs engorged
beyond the pale
God : I've ascended innumerable escalators, just to cross the water
and pay a fee to slobber at the gate of Ishtar like a tourist
coo over cloud studies as if a slow burn hasn't commenced outside

in the moonlit view of Dresden the moon is an afterthought
the lunar harbor in Southern Italy is sickish, oilslicky
dirty collars of the empire the sunrise death of a child

yr up! yr up! Europe Europe yr up it's over
are you packing your bags yet or what
Study for Veil this false Sunday
a good argument for splitting hairs

she asks about filters her eyes are huge and clear
tar pits they're like, prehistoric
she's never seen back then I make a gesture
like lava roiling and spitting

something viscous and unwritten in the landscape
trawl and dredge trawl and dredge drag the river
my spirit on loan interred in a museum

why don't they dress up evil like this,
scribble it out with primary colors
and gloss
oh wait they do
everything's been done

the grid I'm on reflects back an economy
atop horizontality star maps in the glass elevator
he asks: “Are you stuck?”

I feel like a fresh fossil, deferred, a constellation
push a button the doors open
so simple yet occult

we move to the blue room a reverent blue and while looking
at the Crusader Bible I ask if they believe in reincarnation
the general response is, “I want to but...”
and I want them to but

we are made hungry seeing philistines cleaved
by the axe clean gold disembodiment, such specific blood

orbs appear in the clouds pigeon angels
shape another sort of study, other veils
God's hand appears, flying solo
give me yr paw... good dog!

my eyes fill with tears to see Eli fatally fallen in grief,
his broken neck: daddy in his EZ chair dethroned
“poor Eli,” I say aloud
a guard nearby hears me, a dove on the clock
he's got chain mail under his polyester: it's penance

I'm of half a mind to attend the Black Mass or host my own
donate entire libraries to the bonfire
in the spirit of staying here
personified for now

we do share a few holy people in common
some of my best friends are made of clay
in costumes nervous with feathers

the scarlet tanager is a windborne bearer of light
as the days get darker or brighter
we trawl and dredge ever closer
to clarity, come what may . . .

Charity Coleman is the author of Julyiary (O'clock Press, 2015). Her work can be found in BOMB, Dolce Stil Criollo, Joans Digest, No, Dear, and elsewhere. 

Title: s t u d i e s : a book of hours