Melanie Noel’s poems captivated me from the first time I heard her read, with editors Andy and Zach at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle. Her voice was soft and matter-of-fact, the poems spiderwebby, tense, spare, and full of dazzling, painterly language (“vertical the nightsweat of the trees” was caught in my mind for days after that reading). Her book The Monarchs, available from Stockport Flats, is a gorgeous read, my favorite book of 2013 so far. -JT
[Cloud, damp envelope,]
Cloud, damp envelope,
diarist. Imperial cloud.
Cloud that will come tomorrow.
Alien cloud. From imperial midnight.
Faucet, invisibly on. Invisibly licking
the diaries. Rain, cloak
& speedway. Midnight,
Vertical the nightsweat among branches forcing forth
their green ears. Bone of moon jimmying
the crow’s valiance.
Hello crows, hello! Look there we do
at those sighing comics
floating over container ships the gulls.
Opera halls both
grousing the water’s not oligarchical chamber.
Aye, there, a soft anarchy.
I mind you with a metal love.
In the alley no birds but wood plays the bins and a vine drags the bell’s tongue down.
Entirely the nun a siren in my trench of plums
the dead canons’ anti-shimmer calling bouganvilla by jasmine
dying fish v. dolphin, & jasmine, beggars
at the outskirts of the heartbeat being climbed out of Entire at me
his footman’s eyes I say: Other peoples’ soft eyes for
other peoples’ soft eyes keep it up: accident of my heart:
amateur knot: bad raft versus the Vocal flower
The night is widely interrupted cicada x ambulance
Pale the blood red of rooftops
Rain what wreckage interversal coin plucked
from unsullen clouds. But that one retreating
into the mollusk: Warden of secrets:
the sweet derangements there.
Elm, I had a vision but it would not simplify things. The shutlet on the lull
made of me a bed and clutch. Clutchlet the flock gendarming impossible birds.
A trap, tree, and then I held close the string of my tired blood.
The sea stood in him. It recited his name, not unkindly.
A barracks he was to it. It was no place for me but I did not walk away.
Arrowheads are sequestered and lost in the organized field. They point in every direction
drugged compasses of just-underneath. They line up like language trying-to-recall.
Straight lines do not come by themselves lightly.
They measure infinity.
They are a surfeit of vistas.
Bloodline on the horizon, for example, swallowed by the sea and then that place above,
a burrow bending in the clouds.