Joshua Edwards

Cathay
Wrongheaded and obsequious
on vacation, unnerved
by new surroundings, I miss
the bright feeling of belonging
and the familiar patterns of my country,
its virginity and schizophrenia,
my several stolen bicycles.

 


Symbolic gestures feel
bound not by referential expression,

but by mystery and drama. If all
languages are essentially alike,
then softness or firmness is a matter
of tissues in which blood takes a clausal

complement. Taste for etymology,
however, comes from the poetry of
crucial decision making, fruit in one

hand and broad-bladed knife in the other.

 

Late morning
In a vending machine I see my reflection
alongside the sun’s, and I watch these two
impervious flowers of being merge, transpose,
and dehisce, faces ghosted together on parallel
planes of glass, laughing over the foaming ocean.
To imagine the self as the sun or its warmth
is pleasurable, but something else is needed
to purge the urban smell from the dank
library of late morning. Walking along
the seawall, I feel waves and wind beating
against the island’s rocks and shoulders,
I see citizens filled with sorrow that expands
as water orchestrates their slow effacement.
Just as I arrive home, two salesmen accost me.
They want to sell me my preternatural face.
They tell me that although time is running out,
I can still find happiness, romance, and eternity.
I reply that I believe in an impersonal life,
I’m hermetic, and my blood is on fire.

 

Problems of knowledge
Translation broadens language
as divorce and remarriage extend family.
Born to fade and break, facts
huddle inside black brackets.
Work means inquisition as a child
separates a cricket’s wings from thorax.
Ideas come apart as monads, metastasizing
rhapsody on the edge of delicate dusk.
Thunder sounds in the distance or television,
always on in this constant rain.

Poems by Joshua Edwards

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