Sunday, October 01, 2006

Steve Mueske

4am Zoetrope

The man carrying a ladder
and a box of stars.

On a glass pond, one oar.

Three men wearing suits of leaves
and sawdust.

Buildings throwing down
their suitcases of light.

The stray dog with a milky eye.

The distant highway, or the sorrowing
of seventeen owls.

Doll's eyes, like buttons
laced in snow.

He was eaten by clouds.

The glass was full of neon
and faces.

The boat, anchored in text.

Soul boxes.

We were looking for something.

Rowing in circles.

Fog.   Then frost.

The dog was found
worrying at wires.

The man with a city on his back
fell to one knee.

Passing on highways,
the souls.

He believed in leaving
through a portal in the horse-head factory.

Torn from the earth,

They were selling
pre-packaged trees.

The ghost
had years in his palms.

She had a bag of eyes.

The edge was ragged,
like a torn page.

The living room was filling
slower than stars.

Climb (klIm) v. intr. :
to move in a specified direction
using the hands and feet.

The doll, left behind.

The trees were covered in ice,
like glass.

Lightning haloed the water.

It was a good house, but large
and unpredictable.

The books, lining much
of the back room, were sold.

The girl would peer in at him
from the garden.

The felled tree
lay in a box with flowers.

A skeleton floating in
brackish water.

One of the owls was white.

They covered the pond
with asphalt.

Though she could leave her body,
there was still a tether.

The wood was weakened
by a flood.

Mice took over
the upper rooms.

Poem That Conspicuously Avoids the Word Garden
But Just Barely

for Daniel Nester

Here at the beginning of the poem, I would like
to mention soil. All good poems have soil in them
somewhere.   Soil is good.   It makes things grow.
Everything returns to it in a grim decomposing sort
of way. I should also warn you that if you like flowers
you might not like this poem.   There are no flowers
in it. Not really.   It's fairly barren.   In fact, if you look
closely enough, you'll see a Butterfinger Crisp wrapper
drifting along the gutter.   If you look up just a little,
you'll see naked ladies.   I've decided that a poem
without naked ladies is really not a poem at all.

Steve Mueske has published poems recently in The Massachusetts Review, The Tusculum Review, Unpleasant Event Schedule, 32 Poems, Best New Poets 2005 and elsewhere. His first full-length collection is A Mnemonic for Desire (Ghost Road Press, 2006). He lives in Minnesota, where he edits three candles journal and manages three candles press. He can be reached at