How much meaning do you need, Slushies? When language lingers, when images form a spiral, a murmuration, might a poem’s mood hold meaning close to its heart and simultaneously at bay? And, also, how do you pronounce ‘ichor’? All this and more in a rollicking conversation about poet Nick Visconti’s new work, “Burial” and “Unmake These Things.” And speaking of things, listen for Samantha on Anne Carson’s zen koan dollop of insight from Red Doc>: “To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing.” Or for Kathy and Marion confessing their North Carolina ritual groping of the Dale Earnhardt statue in Kannapolis, NC. And finally: geese. Nick Visconti’s poem triggered a reverie– that time when we accidentally stumbled into the annual Snow Geese migration in Eastern Pennsylvania.
At the table: Dagne Forrest, Kathleen Volk Miller, Alex Tunney, Samantha Neugebauer, Marion Wrenn.
Nick Visconti is a writer living with an artist and a cat in Brooklyn. He plays softball on Sundays.
It is love,
not grief, which inters
in a hill made of clay.
crossed arms, legs, eyes shut
beneath our feet—a container
for men unmade,
no boat to speak of.
in water as we pictured
it would be. Instead,
a single shred of light
piercing every lens
it catches. Instead,
a pathway none cross,
just follow through
and up—the cusp of ending,
nothing at all like the end.
He isn’t in this yard when
his children roam. Still,
they expect to find him:
braided leather, steel-wound aglets,
his black opal intact.
Unmake these things
The sand before me like water, fluid and holy
under the cratered crown nearly
as I draw the one way I know—stick
figures in a backdrop scenery, thick-
headed and content, wheeling
psalms of birds, wide-sloping M’s
grouped in permanent murmur. I don’t bother
with the sun’s face, bare in the upper
left corner of the page. I’ve made
a habit out of hoarding ornaments,
given them their own orbit like the russet
ichor dashed with cinnamon
I choke down every morning and afternoon.
The city’s puncture-prone underbite nips
the sky, consuming the bodies
notched, alive in the glow of that always-
diurnal square. There’s been talk lately of
irreversible chemistry, an acceptable stand-in
for cure among believers and experts
in and on the subject of Zoloft-sponsored
serotonin. A first weaning is possible.
Do not bother with a second.