Mark Weiss: “Glass Palace,” 17 Poems
What you need, he said,
is another trip to the edge
And I thought he was joking.
EASE OF MOTION
This fantasy that has deluded many,
that you could open the door and walk
into another place,
just like that.
AMONG THE BULRUSHES
It must have happened all the time, a woman
giving a child to the river. But the misery, to think
that chance could better care for it—the conditions of famine,
slavery and such—and the fantasy, that the child, rescued,
would come to recognize itself
at the last moment, and free the tribe
from its wretchedness. It must have been that commonplace
to become their story.
A MESSAGE TO THE GODS IN THE BLOOD OF SACRIFICE
“See, we have horses.
Life is good.”
That red red rose is like my love:
thorns below and thorns above.
ADAM AND EVE
It's the snake, they think,
that renders tolerable
this insipid garden.
Moving her legs slowly against the water,
In gelid light
on either side.
Shock of the ocotillo's red spear
against the creosote's green and the yellow flowers
of brittlebush. Birds
there's a stranger here, while insects,
wild with delight,
bid me welcome as a source of liquid.
And the bees
suck at the mud where the stream
had overflowed its banks.
Oedipus the Riddle Solver becomes the answer
to the plague's question:
“What sleeps with his mother
and murders his father?
The pace of change being what it is
the homeland you dreamed of
is no longer there.
Like Troy to the Trojans, no stone
left as a marker.
Whose greatest worry was to paint the petal
A decent restraint,
when the moon seems the largest thing.
Stunned into numbness,
Who could have imagined
any of it?
Tastes like rabbit, the fox thinks,
slinking from the hen-house.
There's many a slip
twixt the clop and the clip.
We call it luck
to die by increments.
Dressed for the bridal bed
her shawl became the sky, her gown
I imagined a broken glass thing
My grandmother had a clock
built of mirrors in the form
of a palace. In my first
memory it was broken
Lovely, the way it glinted.
This was the broken thing
I had imagined.
You may go on to other things
now that you understand the mysteries.
The daily miracle and the daily curse.
Something about the dance
A NOTE IN THE PLACE OF A POETICS. Put two things next to each other and a third thing happens. Sometimes a series of short poems create their own world, but fragmented, like reflections on shards of glass. (M.W.)