Black Lawrence Press
April 28, 2014

National Poetry Month: Marc McKee

Here at Black Lawrence Press we are celebrating National Poetry Month with a poem a day, featuring a total of 30 authors from our list. Today’s featured poet is Marc McKee, author Fuse and the forthcoming Bewilderness.

 

How About Telling Us What It Am?

In this garden party, in this flux
like a multitude of spun diamonds
sharpening clay, this dream of a highway

inclines through such windows,
such shattering matters then this mattering
shatters:  the day now clear, now darkening

as if one is rising from the floor of a glass lake
and a swarm of concrete pours in.  A tremor
in my coffee, iron table with one bad leg

next a mirror, my face a tremor trembling
like Rothko’s curtains in the chapel
where a t-shirt suffering from advertising

wears a man kneeling to meditate.  Is it
air conditioning or breathing?  Is something
about to be revealed?  Moments like these

the unidentifiable emerges begging mercy,
estranging the arrangements.  The complicating
facility with language is not unlike

the failure to possess allure while trying
to hitch a ride in the rain, when your pants
are in the ditch, an empty bottle in your hand.

In the painting in my apartment, empty bottles
obscure the shapely cloud in the background
and I am not the bottles.  It was done by an ex

never completely ex, maybe an answer
in the subtext but the tape is so old
the answers in the machine bleed into each

other, making it difficult to meet the obligations
you never meet the obligations.
What you think of as ravishing sky is

but also a dangerous questionnaire.  Could you
tell us why you’re right for the job
and what you’d do if one of your charges

suddenly a) bursts into flames
or b) professes love?  We’ve arrived where
it’s passé to sew one’s own clothes,

the cymbals cracking and in the fissure
that which suffuseth us.  Had I only known
what it ain’t, only captured what is

and let go, my hands a crucible but it’s like
trying to move an iron press up stairs
when you don’t have an iron press,

this attempt to discern and manage the forces,
to marshal the gorgeous,
to not fuck up.

 

 

 

 

McKee-AuthorMarc McKee is the author of three collections: What Apocalypse?, which won the New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM 2008 Chapbook Contest, Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and Bewilderness (forthcoming, Black Lawrence Press, 2014). His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Barn Owl Review, Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, DIAGRAM, Forklift, Ohio, LIT, and Pleiades. He teaches at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where he lives with his wife Camellia Cosgray.