What Rough Beast | Poem for February 21, 2017

Susan Charkes
I Am Not Who I Am

The beech bark sky
What falls—feathers

I eat—feathers
The bluebird in the frame

What falls—leaves

The bluebird out of the frame
I eat—leaves

The bluebird in the frame

What falls—bark

The sky is full of blackbirds.

The bluebird out of the frame.
I eat—blackbirds.

What falls—
I eat—

I stop traffic to move
a turtle out of the frame.

I am not a member
of the turtle clan.

today I am a pipe

O Mao you are a framed poster now

power > out of the barrel
into the pipe

peace > out of
the passing
(of the pipe)

one end of the pipe is out of the frame
one end of the pipe is out of the frame
passing the pipe moves the frame

there were more of them than I remember
at the signal, each in a hollowed-out beech tree—the fires lit

pop, caught on
pop, speared by
pop, crushed between
pop, slit through
pop, hollowed out
pop, scalded with
pop, buried under
pop, suffocated in
pop, wrenched around
flourishing amongst the scattered ejecta were numerous and diverse armored


pop, batted down
pop, stamped upon
pop, flayed until
pop, pressed into
pop, substituted for

dug into the bark(full of sky)
corner, a wedge(bones in flight)


Susan Charkes lives and writes in southeastern Pennsylvania. A poetry chapbook, sp., is forthcoming from The Operating System.

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