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J A C K E T  # 6
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Maxine Chernoff
Three poems

Names and forms
and from a crouch
a trial before breathing.
Mirages bruised,
"big fluffy flakes,"
speech, and notions.
The nations scattered,
an attitude of blue--
useless preface to
the waves bleeding,
the hand, occult,
the name erased
by jazz and heartstrings.
Orpheus misspelled.
Her eager thoughts,
stumbling, spare.
A fickle calypso
moving in
the distance,
like June light
in broken
February sky.

A Zen student
and a great blue heron.
A Christmas wreath
and her short blue dress.
The dust of art,
best name for
a colorless liquid.
The concept of God,
hungry and receding.
Poet as laborer,
the uses of stone
on Saturdays
when momentary release
gives way to eternal
dilemma, when
Sam asks Darryl
to pull over
at the next translation.
Tainted author
of your own sad
birth, between breaths
you are your own
witness, your own

As a tableau
in search of innocence
she looked desperate,
translated, lured
by approval toward
metaphor and soup.
He had the presence
of a king, kindly
a counterexample
of grace and obedience.
As in "history is
broken," consciousness
breathing, all notions
sinister. Inside
the room, they staged
the definitive production
of the quest motif
in Western corporations.
We waited, dewy-eyed,
naked, more observers
than readers, more
smoke than guarantees.

Maxine Chernoff
Maxine Chernoff
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