Eliot Cardinaux


   For Bei Dao

even the only answer,
raised like a child’s hand
begins to blink,

built up like a city
to open ecology’s lid
where the mask tears up
and the letter-shreds
burn toward heaven
with shaking fists.

A newborn,
screaming like iron ore,
today is a chisel
yearning for badlands,
wedged behind protest
under a blinking hammer.

Tomorrow still grips
the controls of a sleeping bull,
through the thin double reed
of advertising

Thoughts of a Dying Tree

   For my Father

There are no questions
for there is no speech,
each sphere suggesting trills
in a calm notation.

Where, up north, an angel
glowers — south, discarded
needles redden, in a passive
axis, celebrating death.

What happened to the wings
of each star’s direction,
every interaction
camouflaged by unity?

What mathematic shadow
that surrounds
this earth of fiction
with its mind of chance

falls free from the bones,
and like description, gathers
around an absent root?
That’s why

we need a coney fire
and a coffin to choose.

Eliot Cardinaux is a poet and pianist living in Northampton, Massachusetts. He is the founder and editor of The Bodily Press, through which he has released the work of others, as well as several of his own chapbooks and CDs. He has led or co-led musical projects such as American Thicket, Gestures, Cleanness, Magpie: Six Feet on Solid Ground, Sweet Beyond Witness, Odysseus Alone,and take me by the hand of darkness. His most recent chapbooks include Winter Poems, and Dommages. He performs and records regularly along the Northeast U.S. and in Europe, with musicians such as Flin van Hemmen, Mat Maneri, Jeb Bishop, Asger Thomsen, Will McEvoy, Max Goldman, Mia Dyberg, and Kresten Osgood.


Return to Issue Two