not telling

poems 2009 – 2010
edited 2013 manuel arturo abreu


1 // winter
influorescence elephant a shawl dray the privilege of idleness aporia how the merism apocalipstick the analogy blue dove dream cow the cricket

2 // spring
emerald the glade another infinity ladder the darker glance the queen says nothing joining blanched apple chapel inside blue hill backward lemons the architect of mornings at fish bridge redaction abstraction

pdx ~ aug 27 2013 ~ 130am
i had a lot of poems from freshman year of college sitting around. i never did anything with them b/c i thought they were bad poems: lots of abstract imagery, vague foreboding, emotionally bankrupt stuff that stemmed from being in an unrequited love situation with someone. the images 'meant' something to me, but only to me, and for that reason the poems were embarrassingly personal in a way that was coded, a way that was afraid of being honest and, like, 'poetically ethical.' so i decided to revisit the poems are if they were raw material. i used whatever phrases i thought sounded good, changed things at liberty. it was a massacre, i loved it. i originally was going to release them as they were, in some sort of gesture toward transparency of writerly process, but decided it's not worth anyone's time. i'm a much better writer now, the original poems needed the scalpel like i need to be murdered by a refugee. the idea was that if i couldn't bear to be honest when i originally wrote the poems, i could edit them without worrying at all about the 'emotional honesty' of the final result re the unrequited love sitch. meaning i was free to do whatever i wanted, and construct entirely new poetic ontologies think of this in light of a 'consistent process of primitive accumulation' not sure if that means anything to anyone, i'll explain that later maybe. anyway while most of the results drastically differ from the source poems (which share names with their respective revised versions) a few remained mostly the same, simply because of my nostalgia. i'm weak like that. the result of this editing process (one sitting, ~7hrs), is, i feel, a more honest framing of my relationship to the original poems than showing the original poems would have been. except i kept the dates... i have little to no connection to the feelings that 'produced' the original poems it's funny how sometimes you can be more honest about something by not including it. am i pulling this off?

1 // winter

A nose could hop right off a face like a crow bumbling as cars buck and snort as buses huff by— but I suppose too some noses are doves, borne in a terminal. Commas claim modesty, we imitate Nature's machinery to sprawl lyric selves on drunk light in a gaggle all soaked through with questions Beauty is evidence. Phantoms don't handle marks for them simples come out different, seeking internalized flame, antic cover from brittle wind. Holy may have to mean asemic. Skip seven.
December 25, 2009 Bronx, NY

How many of the minutes have been sullen? It is gently missing your voice. It is the strange essential, calm infinite transferral. Listen again to the Quieter voice. Again internal battles resolve themselves as whatevers. It is a dream where you always win at friendships. Look at me here not defying, lifting empty airs and ordained aeons thinking of the blind touching elephants. It should look like it just happened. It should be giving experiences their syntax as winter trees in ague are not bounded by center or an ecstasy of hatred. our minutes transforming to something.
January 1, 2010 Bronx, NY

a shawl
signs keep breeding not always and not completely. Looking and Looking If a head is inscribed in an idea's deference no one should want to know their limits the sky is old shirts when it rains & when it rains it rains haughty commas clouds/rash/air/skin I see kids with blue lips from from cheap lollipops you may be invisible but what about yr shadow? flowers have shells and move slowly now a bird alights or a shuffling deck these are my moccasins of doubt empty space is sculpted from ends of sentences that sprout like cigarette butts in vignettes of hesitation.
January 3, 2010 Bronx, NY

What makes engines decide their problems in a neutral and articulate way is the same thing that gives me frequent attacks of smiling as crow cries fractalize across trees missing you is my temporary autonomous zone nothing others do is cause of me
January 9, 2010 Bronx, NY

the privilege of idleness
light leaves fuzzy upside down pillars in a frozen pond behind a big rock tongues of color I am not eager I am fixed in swarm deeply and in a house I shall surge old and beginning let it cling and confusing let there be no verbs
January 17, 2010 Bronx, NY

the dream of an octopus reminds the Network of the dovetails it forgot in the folds of all human fabrics these are all the dreams in scrawl
January 22, 2010 Portland, OR

Where an accent is a pebble in dirt and everybody doesn't know anything When we are just bored together, sandals in mud, toes refuse answer Why, answering with blue, and trees also have toes, how can we wait for the trees?
February 2, 2010 Portland, OR

the merism
Beach will somersault rain is taut trees in moss tuxedos the tide is haute it wants to build a wrinkle to wink and let away the arrow, which has ways.
February 12, 2010 Portland, OR

I am raining in blank monastic fury shrinking my syntax for now for now all of these people are pathologically pretty I think 'the heart gets drawled' then that it would be good to be lazy forever grief for the unhappened
February 25, 2010 Portland, OR

the analogy
Imagine if around your wrist was a cloud scrunchie I actually dreamed that. And it could not be the hills only that dreamed this, or the folly of the poached clouds Imagine I'm in the waiting room of God's pocket There are veins somewhere the clouds pass thru I know because I see them from a waiting room window shocked to rove and sucking light from the center God's pocket is an organic system what seems to be a wound inside a balloon is a plant that doesn't need chlorophyll Instead of a hymen it has a broken eyeball
February 16, 2010 Portland, OR

blue dove
Give away the stone you found at the foot of a pink tree past the highways which looked like stacked ribs a homeless man was holding a sign saying "Even pennies help." Ransom says "My toes are talking to each other." We find caramel rocks in a root bowl, paler ones the sun resonates in. This hill's burly, my breath comes open as a gadfly sleeping on a veil. First a key-shaped leaf flits and lays flat and everything is like a locked piano Then early moon crosses a span of dusk —this rock uncovered of dust is a round tooth, hollow, with a blue dove trapped inside.
March 3, 2010 Portland, OR

dream cow
cold blue dawn light sprung like a thorax ignorant of distrust, internalized, propelled by dust → flower of fingernails we stayed up all the queasy night Now we're watching dawn fog you say your bones rattle, I feel it like dice coughing inside their eggs all full of yesterday. You are blithe like an amaranth that wears only its breath your eye becomes a mouth, lashes prehensile teeth clinking and preening landscapes swiftly grinning like a skinny bent tree Me: 'we can be invisible and still take up too much space' You: 'better to be infinitely small than nothing at all' Me: 'Better to be air in boxes.' take me to the valley of ashtrays to where the dream cow begs in dull red their eyes like jealous groves who speak to the sky by bleeding... I hold out the footsteps of a flower to you, all in the box and sweetly. We will meet, you will not know me at all surely I must be some fool, the same that felled the sky, that lives in a cavern of blurs. I was always an auxiliary. You should forget me.
March 16, 2010 Portland, OR

the cricket
Being both angry and hungry, speaking itself an exoskeleton, the cricket devours the rat lily. There's a shout of wings, an eagle finagles, glides along a bird of wind, sight's gone from me like bird from tree. Past a moon of speech morning is drained of all sound. God, you have taken back your blessings. They were not for me. There is nothing above the moving tree, not a loudly gleaming rag of cricket nor a machine taking flight in the legs of the sky.
March 17, 2010 Portland, OR

2 // spring

A phone with wings for a cord monkeys coax others with the language of napes at the altar of infinite boredom because forever there must be napes You are still a departing clove among birds that look like priests of dust You put rampart between our sighs, broke bones of light. We got in the ark to never let me cross the full falling of your rain.
March 30, 2010 Portland, OR

the glade
That star has eight mouths each bright in vigil knowing tonight is not a night for glory naps The 1st mouth is a chest of drawers containing pairs of legs the 2nd is like a mouth going blind the 3rd has sleep falling like teeth. I forget the rest, I am watching a glade get sewn shut.
April 1, 2010 Portland, OR

another infinity ladder
My ears are flies I wander, I overeat sensory input imagine if we all returned to false homelands As far as my ear stretches I wander you escaping as I illuminate moving through dark and its shapeless fruits brash families of dew with starkly different systems of governance from us hang from the hollers of trees. The berries revolt against mystery, they want to die on a sunny day.
April 2, 2010 Portland, OR

the darker glance
In the mercy of the more hollow sister the atomic Quasimoto is patient her tongue comes out of her mouth three times her favorite word is 'apothecary' the bliss in me is like the interior of a melting fear as she moves time with an even glance there's the boorish anvil of a darker water as she leads me into a gully in the hollow sister's carny lungs she teaches me to hear in silence as hearts do
April 5, 2010 Portland, OR

the queen says nothing
I the scowl of a chalk owl is daft and vast its weapons are wings and a fast-empty sky worlds below it are but jealous playthings. II halfway through the day I'm slumbery everywhere possible beds are blooming— trembling grass, curbs, a bouquet of empty rooms... III The prince of distances splits his lands and blots; his army of roses scrapes forth in diseased lust on an island of infinite thunder. Cheeks volleyed from the last word you said, following it into silence. And what is a cheek of silence? Another possible bed? A string clock? I died, return as a grazing god, graze among all I had forgot as man. And the ridiculous prince enters the garden of forgetting, packing his children into castrated mud— they die, return as trees, their bark is letters, their leaves are months. Under one of them I am pierced by an arrow of mirrors. The roses swarm and mourn.
April 7, 2010 Portland, OR

Simple & bold the storm dances gobbling & brash against the dots. I was not the first to reach the memory at the top of this flight. Who put it there? First you came as dirt, intending me to privilege you & be forgotten as you go, but the seeds only produced effigies of plants. I can encompass you, and you will crumple.
April 26, 2010 Portland, OR

A clear sweet voice never yields its strange and secret rooms. It has no adjectives. It has eyes, in them I see the tiny old man that feasts upon a mountain of cigarettes, leaves nothing behind, hangs things on string while the butts become burning imps.
April 28, 2010 Portland, OR

apple chapel
Our eyes click together I look hard trying to reach the bottom of myself forever I've been dreaming on a tongue to awaken in a maze of angels hardened in infinite geometries. Don't make universes out of nothing.
May 3, 2010 Portland, OR

inside blue hill
After our hesitant escape Waters wept and slumbered, rose to fathom and remove more light. Crippled clouds dove into seabeds they no longer wanted bodies This is why dad beat me following the seasons of disturbed throbbing water This is the seabed of eternal morning, its fish escape all nets in soil, all mysterious roads of little dishes. Everything is a rainbow in the body of light You want to cling but it is too shallow, at the distended coast a city fevers: it is a sea of leaves and not shadows, clouds below and above are mud and bronze.
May 4, 2010 Portland, OR

backward lemons
Beancounters in a cloud need an axe of dust, a steel May. Today they live forever— an ark of suns will take them, each iron dream will become red breath against rain Beancounters can make black suns to give grumbling mud foxes, and it feels like yesterday for Wonders as they breathe leaves. Beancounters make a headless Eden the Wonders storm in they dance they breathe rains that fall into flat rivers making roads for a black sun. Beancounters know backs of hands, have been parallel to pleasure having through stars opened zones they hadn't meant to open. The river sprouts moons and grass: drink water and nothing else, do nothing but drink water.
May 9, 2010 Portland, OR

the architect of mornings
deny me as a harbor would remaining indifferent to any cares of the living open fields remain dazzled and a handle, like rain, controls their gratitude. They want to be fields of soap. Sometimes I can see exclamations in your eyes. You shall allow harsh angels to touch their light to you, remain dazzled as a field does in a blizzard, turn onto an awkward comma for a run-on I lay on a vexed mattress today loosened like an architect's jowls I am many whirlwinds away from you.
May 19, 2010 Portland, OR

at fish bridge
Clouds: flowers tangled in a bush. The sky is in a stove! Go wash a ditch! If it is the case that I was ever here, then, hurrying to myself, I have no paths, only feet: I am one of few who can touch ghosts, for now— those latex ghosts with pansy eyes who hoard paper memories, goading a latex sky The world is simple, and does not answer back.
May 24, 2010 Bronx, NY

The mountain speaks: "You, the idiot with brains of ash!" A string of wind is silent, for I have heard it. Days are corners chewing at the sun. Wind splashes against me clouds can be microscopes I walk along my notebook. I never mistake a heart for a shrub // not telling To hold hurricanes in spider's nest, to find the windows into the different body, or the mouth with which to speak of another's pain: take my awe from me and I will have no weapons.
June 9, 2010 Bronx, NY

I've shot myself in the foot my tongue is in my cheek my foot is in my mouth I put a sock in it.
June 9, 2010 Bronx, NY

thank you for reading

manuel arturo abreu 2013 natrices.tumblr twigtech.tumblr @Deezius

nice... you reached the secret bonus poem


this poem from 2010 uses the same technique, with poetry from 2006, that this whole collection, in 2013, does with poetry from 2010. woahhh meta

fermented poem
culled from lines from 2006
My hands are mashed upon my face like demons asking— Who let sky from its inkpot? Words can bend more than fingers can point & they can swallow all tears in a glimmer coming from bitter bricks of moonlight. Now we need to crawl to get anywhere at all. Let me smell your eyes, they are sunkilns, your fingertips lightbulbs kissing like mannikin goldfish. I eat finger paintings. In a burning nose of a hallway we are drunk balloons, I am laced to your drowning tongue of painted flowers, a wounded bird in a lighthouse. Long have I been a pin of light at your eyelash as you look up to the rainbow halo of the moon. If you try again to become invisible like breathing I will be the revealing winter.
June 11, 2010 Bronx, NY

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