Joel Chace: Four poems


born within seven
years of one
another Nevelson
1899 in Kiev she
said "in the first
grade I already knew
the pattern of my life I
didn't know the
living of it but
I knew the line
from the first day in
school until the day
I graduated everyone
gave me one hundred
plus in art well
where do you
go in life you go
to the place where you got
one hundred plus" next
Rothko 1903 Dvinsk his
rectangles gentle-edged one
upon another their colors res-
onating softly res-
isting clarity moving into res-
emblance Shostakovich 1906
St. Petersburg subtitled his seventh
symphony "Leningrad" had it
spirited out of the
country on mi-
cro film

uncertainty principle

purple and the waves little
boxes the scatterings you
can never capture
or yellow theft behind
the whole matter waltz and
grass or gas or
nightingales perks piles
of relatively wild-
flowers washing over
gender exposure only when
it's observed th-
irty-three out the charmed
window uncertain split infini-
tives functioning not
Ringolevio not
waving but charging
the competition everything so
that you can claim
it occupied nearly their
entire screen of neu-
trons overflowing spectral
shores virtually the
whole stained glass colliding
cleaning sheets the chalked
green the line not
the living subtitles after
the catastrophe was right

petal file

under mind the matter
lies deeper remembrance
is for rue
the fastest way from school
crossing the good
doctor's yard
he holding the needle lies
deeper than the mind telling us time
would shrink blue persuasion smoother than
a baby's butt one little two
little indians good
little indians the good doctor
telling us we were
feathers dancing the wind flowers
spinning the deep
pond dragging the darkness smoother than a needle
in vein we'd seen the chalk
words the black
board the other
doctor telling us people turned
to dust and saints
always take the fastest
way home crossing
the good doctor's yard
but the other doctor telling us
that back was long a long
lawn and deeper
than rue than fear than blue
than years than
words white chalk yellow
dust black
board crimson velvet in the good
doctor's basement dancing
a storm he telling us one
little two little
just for us just between
us keep it yellow photographs
remembrance is
for rue in a glass tube in a metal
cabinet under dust under
mind under needles
saints words


don't kid yourself
purple white graywhite blue
yellow black don't a basketball
that grimes hands and
bounces crazy off every
goddamn gray little black
knob of ice to walk over
the bridge home through purple air
smelling feeling white but
below there's the steady the fast
rumble roar of the river slow
and black don't kid if
any streetlight throws a pool
of yellow white slants across
white swirls flakes down
into slow steady black on the
gray lawns blue
fretful patches cast out
through quivering yellow
glass then sucked back then
thrown flickering again over
gray different parts but steady gray
don't kid yourself


how anyway grimy black crazy
gray little knobs that
bounce it every way but right
but up how can you
play it right but don't
kid yourself rushing black roars
and sucks slants swirls
of white into itself its steady
self it's all happening out
there don't in the purple air
kid not to care that gloveless
hands are stinging grimy ice
the color of backstreet
lawns blue flickering all
over them much
later in the purple hush
streetlight yellow pool only
one leaning shoulder against
pole and not seeing white flaking
slanting but waiting for its
coming through the purple air the
news to be dumped at
his feet early delivery


has come and keeps
on coming don't kid
yourself steady coming
goddamnit in with purple
twilight wavering in it cold
mountain knobs not goddamn
majestic but darker
purple but darker yet the bare
black quills of trees all of it
can sting that's no news
especially on the back
streets flickering steady
kid blue all of it can
yellow don't kid yellow
no news isn't
news gray on the
backstreets is no don't
news there yellow
don't yellow comes gray comes
black swirls white flakes white
delivers itself early and late


don't delivers us
all kid yourself later
sooner even main with yellow
pools don't is backstreet don't
hands ice crazy taste
smell the white all the
crazy don't way home bridge over
steady kid over slow rumble
fast below don't kid maybe
the quills quiver the flickering all
over maybe with gray
crazy with grime maybe with
don't yellow gray purple
graywhite with steady
yourself black swallowing
white all over the place all
the time no news don't
maybe maybe kid yourself