ELENA KARINA BYRNE
MARQUEZ WITHOUT SOLITUDE
suddenly stumbled into an open space of lucidity within the madness
as the rain kept coming and coming and
she had seriously thought of putting on the tiger mask
that her husband had worn in the bloody carnival,
to crawl on the floor so that the earth was closer
to her and she to it, —accomplice—
by the irresistible anxiety to discover
what the orange whistles and the invisible globes on the other side
of death were like, that
whether metronome or winter bell, the sameness in strangers
all belonged to her … that bones
began to fill with sounds, bees bridegroomed the room
which shuddered with the evidence that time was not passing
except in her everyday language
to have let that outpouring of misery follow its course,
and at times it made her so angry that she would prick her fingers
with the needles, but what pained her most and enraged her most
and made her most bitter was the fragrant and wormy guava grove
of love that was dragging her toward her death. There
she did not even know her own body, her heart of compressed ash,
hands like just opened abalone,
to say what she couldn’t.
from Leonardo Da Vinci’s right to left,
the manuscript of reversed writing, —
Each consonant cage is unlocking. Double face, you know
seeing is Ekphrastic, an ordinary treason: mirror is
oblivion’s antidote for language, for human salvation.
The mirror sees inside its own mouth, cauldron of vowels.
Who, if not you, is there?
Where limbo edges its border, is portioned to lost love and
to those departed spirits, their death-expressions. You are
at no fault but fallen in
the image (lime-light giving off its own surface heat) …sayeth,
Past Prussia’s Hall of Mirrors, past wars to Rorschach,
doubling the verb, the ghost-kingdom.
What other emblazoned fable unfinishes its act?
Hear it in the silver, tongue to tongue. Therein.
Shown in features.
But so much smaller, the face, in daily pained refuge finds:
a bird’s bone-weight of light converses with heavy dark,
the heirloom spoon reflection collects cold,
water drowns on itself and wintering its image,
Lao’s mirror reflects the mind and its thoughts
but you cannot speak back to it without an act of snow,
without the mouth falling this far out of frame.
YUKIO MISHIMA, AS IF FROM AMBUSH
or point blank peril,
walked out onto the deck of the boat, under
the Pacific sky’s grief-wide door lintel, under anchor-light,
expecting to see his past
like a woman, rise up
from the sea’s bottom, with the bloated body of the long-drowned,
thirsty, still helplessly swallowing sea water, the past
with her kimono sleeve
releasing tiny fish, her voice trapped like a great glass ball sliding up
into her throat,
or rather, into his now,
the blotting paper surface of the fog ahead of them.
Clamped in a pillory of ice,
he told himself
the balsa heart-box was empty, and the body was a house with too
where bees entered freely, flew about in them lonesomely
and were often startled upon running headlong
into a mirror.
He would bind himself in a saffron-colored wrapping cloth,
cough and cough instead of speaking
because memory is like catching grasshoppers without stepping on the
the grass glowing in its half-life quiet,
where, years before the water, she always waited for him, sank
salted by the endless
thirst that ate at her.
Elena Karina Byrne is a visual artist, teacher, editor, Poetry Consultant and Moderator for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and former 12 year Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America. She has organized readings for the University of Southern California's Doheny Memorial Library, the J. Paul Getty Center GRI, and the Chateau Marmont. Currently she is Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club and the Museum Of Contemporary Art's Night Vision poetry programs. She is also working with the West Hollywood Book Fair's Planning Committee and with Red Car studios on several short film projects including, Muse of Fire and Why Shakespeare?