Christopher DeWeese: The Ravine & The Bluff

The Ravine

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This butter feeling calms me,
soft paws and golden light
making this place a good place
to wake into the letter
of yes I remain yours
so far as I stay alive.
A rented dominion
on the edge of town
has been inspecting me:
a yard gone to chickens,
a beaver lost in ruined water,
shopping carts upturned
to cage the hour
or at least to mark
its temporary height.
Maybe there is no such thing
as a wild animal, anymore,
only claws we have summoned
to rummage through
the imaginary darkness
where our garbage goes
when we’re done with it.
There is a dream washed up
before and behind me,
not so much a shadow
as a pile of cement,
an architecture that gets senseless
the closer we look at it.
I am still learning
this language of having a body,
these terrifying symptoms
of having it in real time.
The evening told me
to divorce each minute
from the duty it carries me toward.
The summer told me
to savor the quiet furniture
that fills these mornings
in the present tense
of when you were mine.

The Bluff

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I have been abroad
in my own body.
A soldier woke up
and I was him,
my arms selling tremors
to the thought
of what my hands kept missing:
the flag of your lips,
the shuddered knocks
sounding between our blood
and an hour long since ended,
when we scrounged a way
to go away ourselves
as the dim world
went on beating without us.
The war repeated,
caught in an endless season
of migrating ammunition
and beautiful men
flowering the trenches.
I woke up again
and I didn’t know what
I would have done.
“Stay here with us awhile”
mumbled my bones,
articulated in casual positions
as the bed around me
articulated fleeting mountains
from its sheets and blankets.
Like some choral dream
of a world reduced to voices,
I knew it all was luxury:
the self I breathed through air,
the history I imagined
into then out of my lungs.
There was a voice
annunciating the names
the battles left waiting,
those retrospective dead
who always hated me
given who I was,
another inevitable continuation
of time and space.
I gathered up my kit
and walked down to the bluff
to be friendless with the jump,
generous with the gravity
where this land ended
and eagles began,
not as symbols but as things
buttering the gusts.
I took a pinecone
and made it larger
when I threw it seaward
to fill up the sea
the way something does
when it’s all that gets remembered
of the lengthy war
for which it was written,
i.e. the song we sing unthinkingly,
the vacant fields
where tourists go
to only shoot themselves above.


ART: Zachary Tate Porter, Jeannie Vanasco

FICTION: Katya Apekina, John Henry Fleming, Lacy Arnett, Claire Harlan Orsi, Chantel Tattoli

NONFICTION: Emily Carr, Nancy Singleton Hachisu, Johanna Stoberock, Steve Wasserman

POETRY: Janelle Adsit, Ryan Bender-Murphy, Monica Berlin & Beth Marzoni, Dan Chelotti, Lisa Ciccarello, Christopher DeWeese, Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney, Tyler Gobble, Fanny Howe, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Nick Lantz, Matthew Lippman, Aditi Machado, Alice Miller, Marc Paltrineri, Christopher Rey Pérez, Allan Peterson, Jessica Poli, Lynne Potts, Dan Rosenberg, M. C. Rush, Ed Skoog, Cindy St. John, Russel Swensen, Emily Toder, Laurie Saurborn Young

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