Beneath the ramble and catch
of tumbleweed: the lull of horizon
delicious with distance and elegy,
dead-ends and blue highways hoarse
with the whisper of wind, dust,
wood, bone, memory €”the grist
of solitude stirred up
the morning you woke determined
to pluck the sun from God’s thigh
as he passed, full-stride,
over this side of town. That’s
how Jacob got new-named, you say
when the story comes up with friends €”
and strangers, for that matter.
Like when you were painting
plein air roadscapes outside Redmond
and you used it to ply conversation
with the breeze as she watched you
seduce landscape from ripples of soul
stirred by her sigh. Yes, you say,
that’s how Jacob got new-named.
Nevermind it was his hip flicked
out of joint when the angel
stopped wrestling fair, wrested God
from Israel’s shank. Nevermind
your layover in Peniel via Genesis
left sand in the visions you put on
and off like shoes at Mnemosyne’s
fire ring. Nevermind that won’t earn you
a cross-reference from €œJacob (see
Israel) € in God’s Almanac
of New Names: From Michael (see
Adam) to the Present. Nevermind
God hasn’t appended his reputation
to your presence on these roads
supple as a cricket’s chirr
from the cleft between landscape
and soul, soul and skin, skin
and the palette you’ve charted
like desire’s ramble and catch
down the back roads and canyons
“Landscape, with a Cricket’s Chirr” is an ekphrastic poem in response to a series of roadscapes by J. Kirk Richards.
To read Tyler’s bio and more of his poetry on WIZ, go here.
Come slip between atmospheres of memory.
Knead yourself into cumulus €”your airline ticket,
your pushbike, your liahona €”with fingers like
the fingers of DorÃ©’s sun. Sift marrow
until you feel soil part, feel the fern press its head
through mist then flatten against sudden emptiness.
Until you can roam sky without tripping on God’s
hem, can cloak in light
without singeing every shadow to ash, without
blinding yourself as you trace the cloudfire to dusk.
Self portrait with closed eyes
like a brumal serpent
listening to Earth
shed her crystalline
skin, slip off her chill
at dawn’s seductions
supple as hibernacula
warm with bodies
slendering into instinct
and appetite €”Eden’s
sidled up to God’s breast,
areola iron on the tongue,
milk rich from desire’s simmer
and slow burn, the flame
set low so not to sear the soul
still this side of vision, lurking
like the mourning dove’s
teasing Eve from her
heavy with temptation’s
pome and tang and the rasp
of cherubim wings strung like
words along Lucifer’s tongue
as he conjures shame from
her constant wound €”fig
weeping matins in Eden’s half-
light while Adam snores
downwind, only stirs when
she’s roused scent enough
to slip into his dreams
as the rib slipped from his side
the morning God stopped by
and found the basket of figs
he’d left last visit
still sitting on the altar,
thrumming with June Bugs
undone in the eating, mad
with the zephyr’s rasp
through the scales of the constrictor
stretched at sleeping Adam’s side.
“Self portrait with closed eyes” is Tyler’s ekphrastic response to the painting “Self Portrait with Eyes Closed” by J. Kirk Richards that appears at the tip-top of the poem.
For Tyler’s bio and links to more of his poems published on WIZ, go here.
1. 27 November 2006, Morning
They’d said it would come,
with December just around the bend.
Still it caught me off guard. Outside
in pajama pants, t-shirt, bare feet, waiting
for the dog to make: the first flakes layered
cornered leaves with winter’s afterbirth.
2. 16 July 2003: Our First
The day Sidney was born,
her water came
on the bathroom floor. As I’d layered
a towel to soak the spill, my wife bent
over the head to catch any leaks, waiting
for labor to turn her insides
3. New Mother
the ashen body of her stillborn
for the cry that never came,
her breath across his chest, warming the empty layers.
4. 12 February 2006, 2:23 AM: Our Second
Rising through layers
of sleep into wet sheets, she’d stood beside
our bed, questioned her continence while bending
lamp light across the spill. €œLooks like your birthday
present’s coming, €
I’d said as she winced at the onset of labor’s weight.
As she wearied beneath the weight
on her womb, he came
to her. Inside
the tent, a moonbeam gave birth
to galaxies as her universe bent
to God’s touch.
6. On the Lake
the water’s crimson weight,
distorting autumn’s birth
with each stroke layered
on stroke. Reaching over the canoe’s east side,
our nine month daughter watches her reflection go and come.
Rereading €œThe Second Coming € on a winter night, birds bending
circles inside Yeats’ words as the tide spanning generations waits
to drown my own, I draw the poet’s layered veil and fall into Christ’s crimson birth.
Tyler Chadwick is a doctoral candidate in English & the Teaching of English at Idaho State University. He spends his time husbanding his wife, Jessica; fathering four little girls; teaching writing foundations online for Brigham Young University-Idaho; reading; writing; and researching contemporary American poetry. He’s also an avid runner. His poems have appeared in Metaphor, Dialogue, Irreantum, Salome, Black Rock & Sage, and The Victorian Violet Press Poetry Journal. In 2009, he received the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize and in 2010 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
across the Hokianga
but no waka to pierce
the bay’s narrow hips
across the Hokianga
but only one cumulus
to lick the bay’s narrow tongue
across the Hokianga
but no moon
to walk empty shores
sip crimson-honey tea
both in white sarong
I bend you through the font
watch fabric rise
on water troubled
by the currents of death
Mateu, Matem (Gilbertese): €œmy death, your death. €
For Tyler’s bio and his other submission to the Spring Poetry Runoff, go here.