THERMOS 6: Robert Fernandez

We close the first week of our Robert Fernandez feature today with this sequence of poems from our sixth issue. Written while Robert and we were in graduate school together, the poems are now nearly a decade old — and while Robert’s work has changed significantly in that time, these still hold surprises in them. What astonished us ten years ago astonished us when we took them three years ago, and does so again today. Our feature will continue all of next week, beginning Monday with some writing about Robert’s work done by Alex Walton. — AS



Child of the World



I


Suits, plural with hive-dope


        phlox,
wasps skin woundlets to shone-


blank: oval hemmed.
Sun: ping of graphite


in the stadium of the blind spot,
dithyramb of the virtual theatre.


Blood finds a fellowship
in freshwater / euthanizes


will / undressed and lain:
girded by the river’s shadow.




II


By holes we mean graphemes,
        cords of silence: the after (synesthet) of


verb: Lyrælis.


Augustine: allflesh in luster pockets,
    Thanatos of the gallery fugue.


            Slavish glottal            leash harried,
                your name of weather passing into


ibis nets: the herringbone stitch of the horizon.
    Thirty is twelve,     so visit us     sfumato.


          GANGSTERISM
serviteur closing his hands.




III


Atrophic languor slumps to June,
rots vortice hips in cherry groves


VORTI©ISM
of clicking sandals


Red cell of cordite powder
in which we seduce power


and conjure up the tree




IV


Week by week
I find my shape–


if the wound is cold
fire that smells like silk


rock of estuary,
jetty of perception


noon of
ordinary shapes,


but never Sunday
in a white poker dress


never on, like female
magistrating, never


globe-thread
or fuck-spot,


white prune or spoke,
brachycatalectic fascination,


judicious matter
or gender vine–


in time, we die because
the bull’s hooves are white




V


broad robe is a powdered
heat             a cup bearer


                  Hermes,
the feet have swollen shut


chiasmus alters the face,
      tongue of aspic snow


A book of hours
tells you its maiden name




VI


Zombie: white face, red hair
                Arthurian lacquer


The sun undoes its belt:


do not forget the threat level
or to peck into the anus of the ruby




VII


Promiscuous millet of the rain:
it never stops. There are only flowers.


They are each named Mary.


I tend the wound, clear the air.
The sun a federal prisoner in Miami, beside Noriega.




VIII


Homelessness is our liberation proposal,
the true quantitative revolutionary art.


Diamonds splinter but cannot flower.
The splinters carry the entire sky


and move collectively like airy brussle stalks.
I will be thirty-one when the blade changes to male/


All parentheticals, eternal.
Noon.




IX


The way the thunder trapped me:


grey glade,
eucalyptus:


cormorant like an oiled Hades
and heron traversing the scrim:


scissor buds,
SWAT roses:


forgive me, spine like
red jade I’ve carved


a dolphin across your
leaves




X


In our own hands,


in our own art,
I become other


white alligators




XI


Clamor: charmed,


constellated tree.


Traylor’s pig with corkscrew tail:


the bladder a lantern


swaying over Hialeah.


Hatred courses through the bardo–


charm splits its lamp lights:


wet tattoos on the arms of Adolfina.




XII


Noon:


blade that sends out spokes,
mandala in a sun-pocket,


thorny guitar,
mellific hive of a body.


I will not have had a drink.


The blank totem poem will have had too many.




XIII


Fear unwraps its calves. They
are banana leaves: sweet millet.


free canary muscle soup
                                    on Sundays


at the shelter. We burn coal.
The air is rich with peace.


I have invented a homeless body.


It is called Bromine, child of the rocks,
hardness of flowering mathematical life.



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