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Bring your servants close.
Nesting is not a time.
There is no damage here.
The brain is fine. The leaves,
fine. The wine is as black as ever
There is a pace and it slows and it sees and it lows
One slickens up to you, all oil, to assure you of your substance.
This is all all all. Make a note of it. Herein lies a balance for yellow birds with black heads and black moths with yellow heads and all detritus of coming near the realm of the dead — namely,
yellow and black leaves softened parting
So I am a pairing — I know my rules:
let sheep eat sheep and lions, lions.
Let Latins meet Greeks under patchwork quilts. Let the vision plaid for a bit
I bit and the grapefruit had a bit of death's black and from my tear ducts came grapefruit seeds, black as hornets.
Pity them Lord for they know not what they do. Pity the lions and the locusts
Pity the animals — the day is a raze,
heat and wheat gathered into airy combines of thrashing. The noise spins lions in the air. My fair one falls down to me on black ropes. No one can see me, and hope is a thing for birds and fools. I drool on locust bouquets and steps of honey. Come
Meet your master in the dust; with his one tooth, he drains you dry. May you spin here, scarecrow, among the other straw-like things planted in the dark earth,
swollen with light and time
when for a moment
When for a moment you eat through the air to swallow syrupy red letters Poe Poe Poe
And bells could be jasmine and gold,
bone and soap,
seaweed and ivy
Crack dread's red egg on the burning rock and let your eyes speak, your hands walk
The lake unveils its planks;
you find your way to the red silk pavilion
A meal of steaks and pearls in impossible heat with cameras at
Every angle and the lions, too,
with watchful eyes —
Drain that bourbon to the red, to the dregs of silt and baboon,
to all animals mashed and quiet, disastered and interred, entered in stasis, in stillness
it would be better if you tasted rain
It would be better if you tasted rain than this spiced asphalt,
leavened brown horizon and flapjack blacktop
Pollution gets in the skin, spices it red brown red yellow red brown,
Take a swim beyond the dusty chambers of summer,
out where coasts decant coolness and fins rising from heat slicks reveal cooler depths
If time's a chance to stand outside romance with the immediacies of never-ending foliage and mark mark mark yes! our pastures for our own and forthcoming disasters —
Here is a bust that rolls down a hill and breaks the water,
fat with coolness
I wanted to know a name; I played sports; I wore shorts; I had a mother and a father (they did too); I challenged every bone, went south for the winter; I ate duck, roasted; I said "quail" (it buoyed in me); I wanted and I wanted, and I
Remained. O Icy water, spilled like a blade across the neck, I ask that you do your work, I am tired and it is hot and today I have the energy for almost nothing
I ask for the broken ladder to fill my head for sunstroke, red horns of wheat for dailiness, let me know particulars O red horn brightened in my chest,
the hairs are countless, I ask for lozenges like islands, and the color —
red yellow blue — staining the dark I ask for daylight, forms noticed, held, cut down from shadow and trembling, held for the moon's horn filled with red honey and for the chance of day, a gamble with red chips
The time is taken, culled, like fruit the time has darkened, blue,
seven panes of glass crushed into the roots the time is deadly, a coral snake and we adorn, we adorn
if i offend you with my leniency
If I offend you with my leniency,
I am like a bird with smoked tendons roughening the hues, fanning my eyes;
my love is a red die rolling in the void
And who whistles the empty pot that burns in your kitchen?
pointless and damage damage d-a-m-a-g-e, I see a kite stuck in a tree I see a hand thinning and portents dissolving like fat
I cultivate a certain dying I find it rare, that is my way; I comb it with exceeding carefulness from my nerves, delicately as a kite
I am the brown bittered fig skinned with tomb leeks in brown sauce and a winking eye like a suede curtain
and am soles of the feet gold that clicks its tongue against the roof of the mouth rafraf rafraf
Sometimes you have to break him before he'll ride,
Sometimes you have to braid him before he'll rye
Sometimes a smile sits in the center of the table like a rare roast beef
And sometimes tragedy is loplimbed sometimes plates of spaghetti spaghetti spa—
Ghetti and strawberries in black bowls;
Sometimes cabbage and black liver
The Dauphin sez "blood in shaved ice!"
or "blood shaved down to a black carriage!"
The vultures hath; they are wroth;
the ghouls are broad shouldered and recline comfortably across our stomachs
Never never never secondguess yourself, sez he, whose teeth shine and brown like butter
a vein of earth
What force in flies? Are you insistent? Are you dead?
Are you guilty? Has your name been lifted, a vein of earth from earth?
Your eyes' marvelous bandaging in crisp clean bandaging in bone-dry depth so that the eyes,
uncovered, may see —
Unwrap! Plague plague plague is smeared through the city,
and the heavy-breasted bird retracts claws over rock
Crowns claw over rock,
Oh how fitting for broken bottled blacks and greys
Yet sometimes a dark red snakes toward sunset,
raising a fine dust
And sometimes punishment is absolute and sometimes we are abandoned
after antonioni's la notte
The champagne comes and white stairways fly, jet-black strawberries and white stairways fly from hospital silver. Release the trays of gold
Truffles to the animals — they claw our suits, malaise malaise ma-l-a-i-s-e
Into whose marble arms are we released and what grey veins?
Each rocket is a cairn of fibrous smoke.
Find your way home.
Find your way back to me,
I know you'll settle here.
Here, worm touches sky.
Here, glass facades are robust,
Stop beside the tracks for coffee-colored rust — the rust is everywhere beneath the light.
The boys with the rockets.
They're gone now.
They're gone now.
They are gone now
How pretty the pool is with its blue garlands on white garlands with its frayed crowns with its beetles and leaves
How pretty the pool is with its teething garlands of blue and its trim-torsoed, long-limbed light
When the statues wake,
I cut their cheeks, Ozymandias
When the statues wake,
the light and skin align;
briskly the flesh chatters
Valentina, seven-pointed star,
is that black blood pooling in your mouth? Have the lines around the buzzards' eyes turned silver? What shall we play for? When you
Were sick, I came to you; I tended you; I loved you; I loved you despite yourself; I helped you remember your name
These mansions push a horn in my chest. Let me savor that debt let me savor that debt let me savor that debt
Say the strands are bright.
Under long lamps, all-flesh in bright strands.
On slick roads, strands from the lamps,
wet hair and shining laughter.
Take me to hereafters of chains and milk, refusals.
It's like the sadness of a dog
Will the syrinx split the head in two?
The lie's trunk rears between its two giant ears. We are reduced and from nothing or not nothing or from one another and without restraint or brought to nothing or very nearly ruin and disaster disaster dis-aster then not then take things as they come
What better bread?
What hearts are gone and beaks knock stone?
What avenues unfold?
Straight to roses ward and marked off in strips like a criminal;
straight to abandoned with a roll of gauze filling the mouth
Here golden hearts sing their wolves' temperament;
here streets announce bright Prussias of hazel eyes and index toes
I soften at the mouth as they refuse return, full shore.
The patterns are our pack.
The clouds dimple; their shadows see
The temperament is another, wolfish,
trailing a gold string. There
Are amities where we lock and unlock and, meeting, part
Charm branches sleekly-lost-time,
Where would we be without
Eating white blossoms in the slop of every death?
At the surface —
a pearly glaze deflects,
yet the eye
Loves to wander. Present yourself in the full radiance of captivation.
Your surface skin drains
To zeros. Take your time,
rest assured, we have courage and genius — thick, cream-
Colored leaves. Evening is a mess of blond radials and alliance sings of love,
of show-us-the-bare-neck, of the fig tree
And where we are. Where we are is ships crossing the rich dark and slits-of-
Westron wynde sweeps hooks toward what is held. Nothing's held
Nothing's meat buckles and the moon rises. Nothing's fried
The black lake, cormorant's shine,
the diving board, white foam,
then nothing's splash. Nothing at the window in Japanese beetles
Nothing nothing nothing and a soft, red bow. Nothing
on the table with the light.
Nothing and joyful splendor,
black foam. Nothing's eye and this tall head of straw
in a dead season
Rest of peace. And rogue estates.
Rest of peace where wells blacken.
dominos fall to table chatter.
At some streetlight, a fountain,
no names for us homes for us here, no meals no medicines for what we missed.
Part of the crane's beak and light's leech. Step out from the light into plumper hearts
your loves travel and stand
Still day falls and love's ghouls streak the plane.
The heart swallows.
Desire at its root.
Let love stand. Panic unbraids across the trees and leaves crossing roofs
Your head can't turn from left to right; the entire world unwraps beside you. You are young; your loves travel and stand. Your time is homeless
When you are hushed, o weapon,
you scrape reduction's black jelly;
when you despair, o gods,
you lead us to war
The work dies.
The sun arcs.
Still the rainbow indicates
An absolute desire
And it is all I have,
this wrinkled duct pity for which burns only lightly, a bit of stick of tree's sap, on the tongue
Would take a blotter and see the sun's black dolmen itch down each of its four faces, would know tragedy and absurdity like heads packed in cabbage leaves what to do Oh what to do
When we get closer when the ring is right there is a light bent against black plates like black linen drapes stitched from sea to sun to sky
Breathe a moment of your silence meat,
sayeth the world, and I will cut a gash so deep splendor will show her neck,
rushing up from the dark earth O rims of scalloped fountains
And there to find there to find there to find power's drooping pupil,
heavy-lidded disdain ma mère grapples by the mane and would open the vein but drags us off into the dirt
Everything is dust here and violence and without the resonance what the fuck
Is there to say
Give us water and food to pursue our tasks.
Help us not become wards of the state,
impoverished, homeless, destitute, crushed under the heel, buried in systems, imprisoned,
dead, hospitalized. We die die die. Our dogs will not walk themselves after we go. Our bodies will not burn themselves after we go. Our apartments will not pack themselves after we go. Instead,
bright ribbons of work, tangled in our bodies,
will be vomited out and indeed bright ribbons will be vomited out. In the meantime,
the light's eyelashes open and close.
And in the meantime, work and reprieve.
Lie down; don't lie; lie flat; lie still. See these books bound in itching white leather? They are your life. And each feathery page, lifted by hot wind.
O summer air, o gardens, o seasons o châteaux.
The glaring day, it binds, o occurrence, o soil o soul.
so strange arrangements
So strange arrangements stamped with Valentines where the red is pure,
and sundown's thousand pillows are an access of forgetting
An access of forgetting,
love takes you, arm in arm;
the entire city goes barefoot across sundown's red mirrors
Where are the clouds leaner? And a thousand faces greet us without a single prayer. And to yield is yielding to Abelards of forgetting
Where the brick is eaten by cloud,
Where are the pears white?
Where are the pears white?
Where are the pears white?
all the deadly ones
We want you to kill us, our
Time has run thin, let the young with bloodlust in their mouths, watering their mouths, come to interview us, who are fresh game, where
The water seems sunken, a storage unit of brown boxes, we will sit, under hot lights, spilling tokens from our heads, ready to burn like summer shuckings, white ears of corn white ears of corn
Who then will release us? Who then will
I had a tower, it was many-hued, it played the world, it played the game, it followed its name into transience and death, o crushed horn, where are you now, dripping streaked maize along the streets death is an answer, stop
Filling us with such slop, poète maudit ain't got a drop to sell and wears yellow and orange striped socks, dancing on hell's zebra mirror
is huge as a roll of industrial rug, stretched to fill the 77th floor of a high-rise in Manhattan
The dog's heart is connected to a spine,
a flight of bone steps extending down to a stomach,
taut and empty
The emptiness of the stomach makes a paltry music, pulsing and twinkling with repressions,
a swelling as the long cavities of muscle flush, pull, and bend
The dog tabulates,
a hand nonchalantly tallying at an abacus drenched in saliva and foam
The pink and black gums conceal the gold tooth of an infinite, irrepressible failure of savor
the ground beneath
Can I get at your knots?
Will your slits have me?
Who says your armpits are full of folds?
And your wrists, colored paper?
And under your tongue, colored paper?
Will you bring me back to myself?
Was I hard to find, rolling in saltwater?
Did you feel my burden, two buckets full of clay? Didn't you want to shrug it off for a moment?
Wasn't this summer, season of rest?
Were the dead restless in the tall trees?
Were the young bright in summer's doorways?
Did the water burn brightly in its jugs?
Where was anyone to help us?
Where were our fathers and our sisters?
O my friends, o my love, we were ours,
where was the breath and ground beneath us?
Was the pleasure of the air I took like rope ladders like fountains I could tell you of leaping animals leaping to their deaths I could tell of formative deaths that led to leaping I could tell of monsters pinned with ribbons and the face clean as the body of a wasp and taking the pleasure of the air I could tell of fortresses covetousness and care I could tell, too, of divestments, of I-am-not-ours, of we-are-not-theirs and of raw linen pinned with hours and skin shining with sweat I could tell of the work done here on our behalf how it smiles I could tell of the waterwheel's laughing and the flags' laughing and of the hope of not seeing I am the bend in the road that cuts the burden in half I am the avenue that dies in jubilee I take the pleasure of the air in tresses there are storms up ahead I take the water I take the fountain in my mouth I take the way
Choose a flag,
one that itches, raw glass, and draw it close
Comfort is for those whose eyes can shut but all wallets close at once, all eyes
All hands all hearts, blood chambers — nothing speaks,
in the vast hall nothing speaks,
the air conditioner blows and the glass tomb's color is perfect
I would bend you toward speed of day you are not yet aligned you are too slow slow slow or or or you're not quite yes yes yes and must align perfectly with break of day,
unwrapping inch by inch of stubborn canvas to winds that would clean their teeth on you
So the day is murder;
still there's a bit, here and there, to say to day —
say ears are enfolded listening, colored flags, yes again say nothing and no one is ever enough there is no time yes yes never sorrow never enough
Time to lend you an apple, o Marianne, so you can eat the season straight off
Break for me just a bit, at the knee,
let it roughen from your voice say what there is to see tell us what's in front of you
your stomach holds the dice your blood's a weather vane your head's an untidy box
What miracle everything's soft and bends for you be happy today is full day, saturated nothing else be happy, your loved ones care for you be happy, the light shines on you be happy you are in your body, a great boat on seas of flesh and of work, be happy be happy be happy
I call tricks because I don't have enough for a lung or a heart or a shard of black bowel so who are you to fling chips, remain
The desert dweller, tenant of dry places, I like the gold tooth tucked into your skull and the ravenous wool tooth tucked into your skull and the Nile of leather tucked into your skull
Fix me a raiment of days, I wait for your shuckings of heat, your turn, I await your motive, a dog's gums drawn down, tongue revealed,
I refuse to dream anymore, heat gathers around my teeth, I am close to speech's refusal pour some water from your horn along my ribs, can't
You see that the days are exhausted, that we move from island to island, that we will be left to be picked at by gold birds?
Who flings meat at you to continue who has your best interests in mind who loves you who lends you time who worries about your health?
There is a chorus of burdens that would restore you to the earth but the fountains' brilliant black holds those birds delicately at the rims and they very nearly dissolve in the light and what they sing anyway is abrasion(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Scarecrow"
Copyright © 2016 Robert Fernandez.
Excerpted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents<P>Scarecrow<BR>When for a Moment<BR>It Would Be Better If You Tasted Rain<BR>We Adorn<BR>If I Offend You with My Leniency<BR>The Dauphin<BR>A Vein of Earth<BR>After Antonioni's La Notte<BR>Pack<BR>Lost Time<BR>Sing Again<BR>Rogue Estates<BR>Your Loves Travel and Stand<BR>Bantams<BR>And<BR>So Strange Arrangements<BR>All the Deadly Ones<BR>The Dog<BR>The Ground Beneath<BR>The Leaning<BR>Flags<BR>Full Day<BR>Ad Absurdum<BR>Bruckner Grew Up among Weevils<BR>Dayrun<BR>Those You Live Among<BR>In Winter with Starred Standards<BR>The Blood Desires Nakedness of Every Sort<BR>Crowns<BR>Then from the Bronze World<BR>Vincent<BR>Of Listening and Patient Work<BR>How Could I Have Clipped So Near<BR>They Remember My Name<BR>What Tree Does Give<BR>We Are Elsewhere<BR>Who Makes a Chorus of You Here<BR>Tasso<BR>Fêtes<BR>You Are Not Here<BR>We Challenge<BR>Where You Hunt, Your Blood Goes Cold<BR>Softly the Day Stands<BR>I Want to Die Better<BR>Which Chatters Beauty<BR>Every Horned Wayfarer<BR>Thanatos<BR>Again<BR>Acknowledgments</P>
What People are Saying About This
“Robert Fernandez's incantatory poetry taps into the vatic hum of the earth. His Scarecrow, as human effigy, calls out the predicament of the self at the end of history. He speaks in the dialect of deep time.”
“Scarecrow finds and makes beauty in and out of precisely what is and nothing more: ‘May you spin / here, scarecrow, among / the other straw-like things / planted in the dark earth, / swollen with light and time.’ It is a book that does not adorn the human condition, but discovers and reveals the adornments fundamental to it.”
“Condensed in this refined language are expressions of unprecedented excess, rudeness, violence, and free thinking. The effect is a kind of gothic architecture, where the thing contained feels bigger than its container, and strains against it. If more poets wrote like Fernandez, we might be living in a golden age.”
"Condensed in this refined language are expressions of unprecedented excess, rudeness, violence, and free thinking. The effect is a kind of gothic architecture, where the thing contained feels bigger than its container, and strains against it. If more poets wrote like Fernandez, we might be living in a golden age."Aaron Kunin, author of Cold Genius
"Robert Fernandez's incantatory poetry taps into the vatic hum of the earth. His Scarecrow, as human effigy, calls out the predicament of the self at the end of history. He speaks in the dialect of deep time."Andrew Joron, author of Trance Archive
"Scarecrow finds and makes beauty in and out of precisely what is and nothing more: 'May you spin / here, scarecrow, among / the other straw-like things / planted in the dark earth, / swollen with light and time.' It is a book that does not adorn the human condition, but discovers and reveals the adornments fundamental to it."Shane McCrae, author of Mule