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
Suits, plural with hive-dope
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.
By holes we mean graphemes,
cords of silence: the after (synesthet) of
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.
serviteur closing his hands.
Atrophic languor slumps to June,
rots vortice hips in cherry groves
of clicking sandals
Red cell of cordite powder
in which we seduce power
and conjure up the tree
Week by week
I find my shape–
if the wound is cold
fire that smells like silk
rock of estuary,
jetty of perception
but never Sunday
in a white poker dress
never on, like female
white prune or spoke,
or gender vine–
in time, we die because
the bull’s hooves are white
broad robe is a powdered
heat a cup bearer
the feet have swollen shut
chiasmus alters the face,
tongue of aspic snow
A book of hours
tells you its maiden name
Zombie: white face, red hair
The sun undoes its belt:
do not forget the threat level
or to peck into the anus of the ruby
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.
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.
The way the thunder trapped me:
cormorant like an oiled Hades
and heron traversing the scrim:
forgive me, spine like
red jade I’ve carved
a dolphin across your
In our own hands,
in our own art,
I become other
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.
blade that sends out spokes,
mandala in a sun-pocket,
mellific hive of a body.
I will not have had a drink.
The blank totem poem will have had too many.
Fear unwraps its calves. They
are banana leaves: sweet millet.
free canary muscle soup
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.