Archives For Morgan Chesley

a vision

behind the heavy doors of sleep
escaped wandering through swatches of magenta air
the parted found the whole and melted
into lumps of solid gold
beneath alien trees on alien moons in alien skies
beneath familiar windows and alien goodbyes
in crashing waves and whalesong they arrived
angry gods we have created and denied and then tricked into dying
found me and pressed me into ice wine with their hammers
made me account for all I’d done
but I could think of nothing
nothing but the nothing I’d become

first I saw the animals
thick ropes at their necks straining against the worlds they’re forced to pull
groaning and braying and speaking in tongues
their paths endless and flat
as I rode on their backs into war
I saw Jesus in the desert eating sand from the palm of his hand
and did not call to him as we lumbered past
still I heard him say to me
this is right; this is real
we eat the skin from the bottom of our boots and march on
we march on
I saw the cities of the future tumbling forever through kaleidoscopes
and sideways watched them gyrate into dust
Jazz Age ladies swung their cigarettes at me
from one direction to the next I tasted burning smoke
only the old men knew what to do;
they let their frail bodies be consumed
by the tidal waves of time machine tomorrows
barely I eluded them, following footprints back into the rain
raised my face and asked if I was finished yet
but I heard nothing
nothing but the nothing I’d become

the deepest dark is that of your own body
the lowest level is the one I crawl
long perfect fingers stretched through years of tunnels
aching endlessly
pressed up against the walls
and at the end I saw you standing in the static
as I have in other visions, one thousand times before
you raised your arms
in false surrender
raised your voice
in gentle timbre
howling helplessly and finally

“I came—

I am—

you’ve conquered”

first voice

with a sadly smile I’m
watching you escape
finally from my beauty bruising
and knowing
knowing you will freely fly
with scorched and soaring certainty
to these temples of our earth
and other earths and learn
all my mistakes, mischance teaching
understand the womb with
teeth from which you leapt
so surely
wings you borrow from charcoal
portraits of first voice before you
circles manifesting everywhere they
come from the ground and keep
rise until they
bounce right off the
sky’s the limit isn’t
disappearing you and your
smudge and shout depart to
whisper English into English
ears and hearts and past that into
space and stars and staring
lovely lonely things that I don’t
knowing and to
know you I am grateful
and sure of your velocity
among expected and expecting
much more that your usual
I know all of how you
scream and songs
you teach
me as I used to fall asleep
in pieces
you broke so many times
and proud of you now for
reclaiming brilliance no
gods could take you from me
and telling you of how
you came to be
from me, just me, I
know that story, you
know your duty
to tell that story and others
stories again and again maybe
you’ll heal America’s
broken throat, or escape
to rainy salty cities over
seas of lights and tasting
how many sprained limbs and bruised
consciousness will you see and sort and save
before returning
if you do
to me to nestle
precariously between what’s sure to be
two softened tired arms
devoid of teeth and instead
full of something
sharper waiting
for the gun to sound.

Light’s fading now I squint to
seeing you fearless flee I know
you’ll be exactly
fine and more than that you’ll find
what we needed
to survive.


the sight of you
by time and especially tired, standing
in a crowd of equals
I could hear your laugh from
way high away and far asleep, distressed,
in a camel coat
soft hands in long pockets, waiting
for the stage
unhinged me
disheveled me
threw me off completely
song alone enough but physical presence-
god, I could hear your voice
it had been so long
it’s been so long and even costumed
you were beautiful
and inside me loneliness tore
away, tore
me away from my own dream
into a field of memories
I knew because of the lights
hovering above the water, mesmerized
totally slipped
brain in a brilliant forget mode shining seeing tendrils
of you
in the everywhere



spilling out and over listening to yawn and hiccup of

people preachers someone knew. Indoors on ugly carpet

feet bleeding begging for an ounce of grace

but Nothing comes, faster than he could even run

a curlyheaded gauntfaced lover shouting from the lawn

shouting from the lawn to our thick windows how to care he

taught us all a hell of a lot of things but not about

how to die so we will live I guess,

when all we want to do is watch the thin lips tremble

tongue and heart and hands run rampant because

he was an Opinion

growling about hurt and burnt and

scared first sex and angry loving wretchedness and

how to grow and hate, respect, the dying

starry tigers in your simple supernova eyes.

They built the pyramids for you and you didn’t

even blink. They hung the birds midflight through

skyscrapers the other afternoon in New York

City and waited all night for your clipped warm

approval but it didn’t come because

you were in Africa starving for royalty and

reading Socialist essays so they took them down

and now the skyscrapers are crumbling.

I took a look around and decided

not to cry.