Dan Beachy-Quick

Poem

​The final revision—is of breath—​​
A comma follows soberly, a comma
Follows quiet, and there is none at all
In the branch swept down from the ash.Anapest, iamb, anapest—​
A lull like the ocean the ocean breaks
With a crash and then the lull lulls again.
Of simplicity—a measured doseTaken soberly, proves nothing
Of the world save quiet, a small quiet
Calms, the real, the half-real,
The no thing, the prescient ash of awe.
Personae
​When I feel sad, I cry.
I put my hands into the holes
Of my eyes and pull out
Reams of blue ribbon
Until my sadness is done.When I see what I can see
No more, I put my hands
In the holes of my eyes
And unspool the red ribbon
Until blood fills the floor.

 

Theseus’s Ship
The wind blows many things off course.
A strong gust tears the winnowed husk in two
Carries the chaff in different directions
One inland and one out to sea.
But different versions mostly end the same.
This story is about a man and a ship.
In Delos he danced a dance the youth still dance.
An imitation of the labyrinth.
The youth still call the dance The Crane.
To dance this dance yourself
Cut from the left side of the head some horns.
Build an altar. It’s called the Keraton.
Kerata means “horns.” Find a rhythm.
Convolute it. Involute it. Now the dance is done
But the altar remains.
Even when the ship leaves the altar remains.
Sometimes the dance. Often the wind.*The thirty-oared galley in which he sailed
Youth to safety they preserved through time.
They took away a timber from time to
Time put it in a pile
They replaced it with a new plank.
Centuries passed and the boat grew younger.
In a thousand years it became new.
Clever or bored some youth looked at the pile
Of old timber and fitting board to board
Built the ship again. They stand side by side
On the long grass the wind blows like waves
When it blows it blows like waves the grass.
Poets and philosophers like to argue
About which ship is Theseus’s ship
While the grass rises in swells about their ankles.

*

The thirty-oared galley in which he sailed
Youth to safety they preserved through time.
They took away a timber from time to
Time put it in a pile
They replaced it with a new plank.
Centuries passed and the boat grew younger.
In a thousand years it became new.
Clever or bored some youth looked at the pile
Of old timber and fitting board to board
Built the ship again. They stand side by side
On the long grass the wind blows like waves
When it blows it blows like waves the grass.
Poets and philosophers like to argue
About which ship is Theseus’s ship
While the grass rises in swells about their ankles.

*

Kerata

This version blows the labyrinth out to sea.
A strong wind carries the crane off course.
Sometimes one finds the dance winnows the chaff
But mostly yourself remains. A different imitation
Means a different dance, but the rhythm in the head
Calls in the same directions: convolute, involute,
Dance. The youth build the altar. The gust leaves the husk.
And the dance still remains an altar to the tears
A man cut from his side. The youth called the horns “horns.”
Many danced this dance when the wind left. Still it is
The story of one ship and some altar: Delos, the Keraton.
Of dance? Often it is about an end. Even now it’s done.

Eidos
​I used to eat clouds
when in the motherless air I felt this desire
for thought and the old
appetites blue underneath their silver
edge came and the wasp looking for a hole
in the screen made of holes
while rain gains weight at the window
frame the ever lessening portion still
mine of mind called the open
sky

Dan Beachy-Quick is the author, most recently, of gentlessness (Tupelo Press) and Shields & Shards & Stitches & Songs (Omnidawn). He is a Monfort Professor at Colorado State University, where he teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program, and is a current Guggenheim Fellow.