Saturday, March 4, 2023

Ben Meyerson : Two poems




The Feve to Cabezón de la Sal

Every day it is the same:

the train sways ungainly on its track,
the hills hurtle by, the cattle graze,
the gray river shrugs up a froth—

the remainder skimmed off from our lives is stone slag,
the grit that breaks loose
in their collisions with history.

My head lolls forward onto the window,
a reflection that looks beyond itself,
a body in motion that does not stir—

alluvium gathers from the river, layer upon
layer plastered up into hillocks that bulge
one atop another like piled entrails
crushed into the shelf of a rib:

heaped dispersion. Enlacement:
each instant of brightness clings in itself
to find a name for its opposite—
days are deposited into what they once were.
All water is what it erodes.



The Road Above Carmona

Every year it is the same:

a lone car purrs by on the thin band of asphalt,
rains pound the dirt into mud,
the cattle graze, the slopes froth slick with dew—

the villagers carve spiked wooden clogs each winter and tramp
door to door through the mire: the remainder is a house,
its rooms filled and emptied out in the collusions of history.

Young people set out first for the larger towns, then the cities.
The stones that sheltered them remain where they are stacked,
bodies that stir but are not in motion—

lives extract themselves in deposits
like alluvium hewn from its valley at the river’s passing,
dispersed by years of wind and rain
until they flare up into cowslip, thick grass and sky:

an entanglement of limits. Unified departure:
each balconied house adheres to its centuries,
grows dense in its compression between the hills.
Valleys open into that which they do not contain—
all erosion is where the water went.



Para Tocar


They took me up into the hills to make a din
with our instruments and our half-guzzled
bottles, crouched rag-tag in the lit mouth
of a cave, then abre la puerta niña
and the city below atremble on the precipice of night,
at once enlarging and falling away—

it is only that we are so endlessly moored
in this slatted carapace cluttered with organs and
who knows what else: a lash
of strange unbidden thirst must coil through us
and tauten like lace, that we strive
for such sounds, and croon in the wake
of all that we are not.



First the Jews left Madinat Garnata,
took the keys to their empty houses
and held them close aboard the ships and wagons
that carried them away—
and then the Muslims who lingered
were bathed in the holy fonts or disappeared
into the caves high above the city
to sing the songs that remained to them
in the time that they were given:

huddled in a ring on the crest of those hills,
we can begin to imagine untrammeled desire,
how it pools from nothing to fill the rupture
of distance and films idly
in the suspended multiplicity of non-being,
but we cannot prescind the body
from the desire, and so we go about
stumbling upon evidence—the grooves
worn into a saddle of stone where we sit
by the curtained cavern, the melismatic
tumble of the voice in the shadow just
shy of the candle’s lick—and we think
that it must be a subtraction, that it is the body
walling us off from the layered chorus
of who else we might have been or
who else we were,
and that whatever stirs there above and below us
must live only as much as it stings in its joints,
as if the purity of its elocution is in
the clean pitch of its breakage from us, the instant
when we hurl the desire far enough beyond the body
that we know it to be other than what we are,
and it catches, a tarnished flake of silver
burrowed into the dust of another alleyway,
the dirt of another hill,
the crossing of another ocean.






Ben Meyerson holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota and an MA in philosophy from the Universidad de Sevilla. He is currently a PhD candidate in comparative literature at the University of Toronto. He is the author of four chapbooks: In a Past Life (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2016), Holcocene (Kelsay Books, 2018), An Ecology of the Void (above/ground press, 2019) and Near Enough (Seven Kitchens Press, forthcoming in 2023). His poems, translations and essays have appeared in several journals, including Interim, PANK, Long Poem Magazine, El Mundo Obrero, Great River Review, The Inflectionist Review, Rust+Moth, and Pidgeonholes. His debut collection, entitled Seguiriyas, is forthcoming from Black Ocean Press in the fall of 2023.

most popular posts