209.1: Sean F. Munro:: light theory & monody broken by our mouth & her high arch & birdshot & a knife to sing the ghost 209

Last month, a friend and I drove across the country. Over six days and 2,500 miles, we crossed deserts green from monsoons, southern prairies, flooding swamps, forests—a journey of superlatives, of vastness, of record-breaking weather events. And yet what struck me most during those long drives were the small towns off the highway, clusters of shacks and abandoned brick buildings and ranches that offered human perspective to the indifference of the landscape and the wheeling stars at night. The lyrics this week from Sean F. Munro act as a human rejoinder to the vastness of our world, fixating upon the small and physical—tongues, bones, hair, the fillings of teeth—as a means of affirming the cosmic within human form. Take the first poem to appear here, "light theory." The two hundred and six bones of the human body mark both our stubborn, inescapable embodiment, the "weight of everything at once," and also the very anchor that enables our capacities for understanding: "we know nothing / can hear the voice of the present / without the blood torn out of the veins and looked at." At these moments, Munro reminds me most of a Lorca lost somewhere in west Texas, studying the roughs and swirling dust. The poems evoke the macabre at times, and also the sublime in its most human form. Ryan Winet

light theory


how long will there be nowhere experienced in two fragments
the moon and us

we here
with the weight of everything at once
sell it to the two hundred six bones of the living
that reflect the body’s dark

we here
with this weight moonshining on our teeth
bounce the shadow of my tongue soft brick
between soft brick in hundred percent humidity

we here
rock between two shadows, sing a mouthful,
and walk the axe through green pine into clay
no bedrock to chip that axe
rust
like when the chimney bricks remember
they were once earth
washed in from the river

we here
the angels to the dead
can say we know nothing
can really matter. we know nothing
can hear the voice of the present
without the blood torn out the veins and looked at

we here
hail the hearse back from the taxi stand
because no one should be sorry anymore
for anything







monody broken by our mouth


bring a little jazz for him to die to
like an angel masturbating on its wings
have you ever seen a book before
those wings going nowhere all at once
being in the rain
that emptiness filled up
names corrode so easily
and there’s that stink again
dead bodies this time
singing in doorways hallways attics highways singing
everywhere it isn’t noisy
everywhere it is never stopped
no one singing
even if they can’t sing
we’ve all sung
and if you haven’t
you’re a liar
when’re you going to stop
doing that not singing with your huge mouth
every dead person I’ve seen
mouth all the way open
lungs out in the sky
can’t even kiss them right







her high arch


the child outside will come to the razor
with two rusted fingers and a splinter ready to sharpen

her hunger the light beast
laid like fire between each blade of hair

comes to the lighthouse with shovel and sugar
to sweeten the machinery of the wreckage she rebuilds

the gardens painted on grey boxes
the flowering lights stuffed into sockets

this one child with her instep grown over the bridge
touches both sides of the river

she in the early hours of the night’s morning
folds wings from each bird
smart enough to die outside

the skin she scours from all sources of daylight
become the child in a brass barricade

who needs to imagine darkness
I can see her drown







birdshot


she started some no thing in us
how we could open her to the air
with this new document of sorrow

I spent this morning within the voice of a dream
and some say we need an original trouble
to work us through this sleep

she hid gunpowder in a false tooth
in case she needed to whisper

her lips and the thunderstorm dark clouds
split the purple blight on the horizon

she to fill her mouth with buckshot
and have you to kick her in the chest

your face with the weight of lead
to see the shine from her bare feet

the floor that crossed underneath
as we ran the hallways above the earth

you to have no idea where I am
you to not receive that human gesture

there to be fevers to leave us dead or with visions
and there to be no narrative to lick among your fingertips
you to be left with just one eagle feather in your bootsole







a knife to sing the ghost


when we get to murder a liar a thief
cut them across the cheek
remind them the wet of blood

do any harm will it

I watch the sky      drag
the birds from the trees
wilderness stains my tied up shoes
who cares what kinds
of birds they were
we’re jealous when they fly
so we lie to our arms and torsos

we’re only good at falling
but damn good are we

I bullwhip the leaves off a young tree
I speak to it
shit tree under here
the fragile body
falling through the branches
where we will end
too low for birds
not to die too easily
the mention of laundry soap
in the fountain
the hardcover crows
peck the eyes from baby blue jays
two empty holes
the size of caviar spoons