13 ways of using a blackbird

13 ways of using a blackbird

(after reading Wallace Stevens’ poem
“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird”)


blackbird singing in the dead of night
sings for the dead
who thought they’d be flying by now


in death you will dust away our simian flecks
from desks and precambrian paperweights
our skin cells imprinting like ducklings on
all the love and black you are


the blackbird soars scans for molesters
and takes down their names
as if imps who whisper in study hall
detention awaits to castrate


the blackbird is plucked till a runted chicken
not eaten but stretched for slapstickin’


running out of virgins for the dragon
they stoned the blackbird for good crop yield


fly petite velociraptor evolver to sky
alert all ornithurines man mutates even faster


leaving one grin of a feather behind
it was just a sloth that flew
now hunted for all the horror it soared over


four and twenty blackbirds
baked in a pie
leave the witch’s oven unfit for children


closer crow-magnon
eat from our hands o onyx cock
as we loop your neck with an albatross


children are beaten
it is the blackbird’s fault
the ozone is scratched
the blackbird’s fault
there is ache
the blackbird


o oiled oracle show us
the black that is darker than black
is that where the devil hides in inked quills?


the cherry tree is full of blackbirds
coal-ripe fruit that pulls at the pits in our eyes
and at the obsidians of the gravel path
balance us forever


from the air the silo is spinning
the blackbird must be circling
straw-boned hypnotist we sleep already 

Thorazine Thoughts

Which is closer on the table– knife or pear?
The knife says your urge to cut flesh is near.
The pear responds my seed is far,
but my flesh close enough to bite if your
teeth can travel, if your tongue can bear.

Which is closer– meds or mountain?
Ice is nice, but can you climb my wall?
asks the mountain, find my rapids to swim in.
The meds say we are magic as a fountain,
but our lightness holds a ton of withdrawal.

Which is closer– heart or mind?
The heart says I pump and love, pump and.
The mind says I’m at your ground zero,
though I dream of “distance” and “long ago.”

Marc Darnell is a custodian and online tutor in Omaha NE, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, busboy, editorial assistant, farmhand, devout recluse, and incurable brooder. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Verse, Skidrow Penthouse, Shot Glass Journal, The Road Not Taken, Open Minds Quarterly, The Fib Review, Verse-Virtual, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, The Literary Nest, The Pangolin Review, and has forthcoming poems in Backchannels, Jam & Sand, and Fine Lines.

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