Featured Poem: Boiled Noise

By Jeff Whitney via Narrative Magazine

THIS IS THE SONG where matches return to their books
having grown back their red heads, ready to sing
new fire. Song where an honest-to-god butterfly
lands in a child’s palm. Song where we crow heaven and
crow it twice. Song of don’t ask who had it better: the egg
or the dinosaur, the idea of something or the idea
of something else. Song of the first words of
our Constitution. Holiness of an untied shoe, entropy of who
can say. Song where a house becomes a dandelion
in a puff of savage wind. Song where time equals sweetness
and a honeycomb makes its place in meat. (Pain: we let it in,
it warps the old pain.) Song of jellyfish easing from the bottom
like spores, purple clouds, some dead, all rising. Song where roosters don’t run
without heads because the farmer never cut them off. Where it’s easy to say
good-bye
because you forget to. A woman walks to the edge of a sea,
steps into its darkness. (Don’t say infinite sadness, don’t
say it wasn’t fun.) Song where a bullet turns a body
into a story, a boy into a place where a boy used to be. (Who cares
about a bird’s ancient name. That it swallows the river
is enough. That it comes back every night.) Here is where we say
what matters. Here are voices from the mountain, hosannas
in the shape of airplanes in the sky. Here is a bear shining her teeth
on a peach pit. Here is what is left. This is the valley and this is the valley
above, fallow storm of heaven, the old eyes of heaven, the furious throat
opened up, the other side of glass. Now the part with the vulture
in a desert of flowers, the body that does not rise, the heart
weighed down by wings. Song of the busy avenue: motorbikes
on sidewalks, old women bent ninety degrees, the toothless man
selling apples, the sun a broken ostrich egg, mountains blanked
in morning mist, every newness an old and holy thing.
Song where blood is another form of fire and we are always burning.
Song where so much of being missed depends on being gone.
(A match is struck and a bullet flies and a star goes out.)
Song of take away the body, song of what is left, song of
the way we weather. First lightning, then lightning.

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