Thursday Jul 18

MuellerJenny Jenny Mueller is the author of Bonneville, from Elixir Press. She is at work on a series of poems loosely dealing with remnants of the American wild, of which the poems published here are a part. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, the poet Brian Young.

Dixon Days
(New Mexico)
The light lifts yet I fall—
Light has erected
this whole enormous stance
of the series:
blonde mesas, blonde
wash & scrub—          all
these unsettlements, lifted & scoured
into monuments. Is it
hard labor? It’s hard
to bear:
I want to go inside a tree,
into a side
chapel, someplace
intactly dark,
with dirt miraculous floor,
and there to blurt out the spectrum.

Recovery Act
Americans recover
(recoil, recall)
at the rock, by the rock.
—in the rock, find
heads of kind presidents, men
working, road labor.
redoubled by the rock (foiled
and impressed), where forest makes over
to forestry, kids jumping
off cliffs by the dam.
a redoubt, find a path.
Drilling down
to the bone bed, the record-smashing
crash of fantastic earth.

Of the Spectrum (Blue)

Yes is a clear
bewildering word, the plummet
kicked loose down a well or cast
off a cliff edge to sound,
it drops or arcs
ever, & does not thunk home. In our minds,
we will see it land so many ways—
call them shades call them hues—
and we’ll hear with attention several as sun
in various fields, the likely resounds
of its fall. Calling
up drumbeats of blue.
If I must yet I need not prefer.
Every state in the West
claims to have the best sky,
while the sky is truly clamorous (“poly-
morphous perverse,”
you might say). A traveler finds
herself at the earth’s reversible sleeves:
nothing up them but what they are,
& the leap
they may make of you,
who are partisan as you are portal, pursuant
among exact throes.
“You get
no progress,” the congressman says,
“from the so-called magical center,”
but one goes a blue geothermancy,
a way of bells
& funnels: morning
glory the cloud,
the flower & pool,
these blue rings around
the earth’s candent throat.
Blue at the lip, at the lid—
blue where the limit
blue is the elements’ body
of tissue and membrane, respiring. Desert
shadows, delicious cool
where you light, you
kindle. Where
blue is, you lie down
to wander. It’s idiots
who say
that freedom’s not free.

Of the Spectrum (Red)
Red: a long road.
You take it (into
blue), barely noticing how
the way sears you.
How you had to be bent
and compounded
to take it. Hunted by
the sun’s bow—
which now blesses
to slay you
here, one of its totems.