Oliver de la Paz
Contributions

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three books of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, and Requiem for the Orchard. He is the co-editor along with Stacey Lynn Brown of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. He is a co-chair of Kundiman.org's advisory board and he teaches creative writing in the graduate program at Western Washington University.

Labyrinth 58


The boy in the labyrinth presses his palm against his chest. His heart sifts through the
morning’s weight. The life promised resides somewhere in the hungry marrow. The
promised life becomes something else . . . In the surface world they’ve planted trees
ahead of summer. The crust shakes off the remaindered mulch and reveals crocus. A
steady stipple of asphodel. From the heart to the mind, the weary boy feels his blood
crochet a lacey sequence of misinformation. Asphodel, asphodel, asphodel: the mind
counts its wreck in beautiful and urgent wishes. Here in the dark the shifting valves of
the heart make and make.



Labyrinth 59


The boy in the labyrinth feels the shape of the thing he’s made. Along its back the
staggered spine adheres to its downward path from the base of the beast’s neck to its
pelvic girdle. The heavy spine choreographs the pivot from the hip to the skull.
Bullhorns jut in a steady consideration of their weight. The pole that adjusts the
tightrope walker distributes the athlete’s gravity to her center. The shape of the thing
has a function. The function of terror is to instruct. The function of applause is to laud.
The shape of the thing grows as it approaches the boy’s torch. Therefore its shadow also
grows as the proximity to a source of light diminishes. In the labyrinth, there is
constantly the problem of proximity. How what is understood about where you stand
depends on where you stand



Labyrinth 60


The boy in the labyrinth knows everything depends on where you stand. What is in the
foreground defies the background in such exaggerated lines. As light shined behind
parchment grows the wrought letters into rivers, heavy with the profundities of their
lineation. How sunlight strikes an apple tree and how the weight of that tree swells the
outward feel of its fat and beautiful fruit. The scale is not a concept. It is a veil. The boy
in the labyrinth knows the array. His concentration compressed by the boundaries
where he is concerned: his body and his body. All others are relative. He imagines his
body as a sheet of blackened glass. How his senses are seen through it if one peers



Labyrinth 61


The boy in the labyrinth peers from behind his fingers. And from behind his fingers,
small beams of light cross his iris. Light sheds its act through the boy’s rock-toughened
knuckles. His sleep deficit calls him to the stage so that under the lights he is
misrecognized. A stormy self. This is analogous to the boy’s idea of physical beauty.
How the landscape determines or dominates the content. Therefore the minotaur is
beautiful in the dark. Therefore the boy is beautiful in the dark. Therefore the labyrinth
is razored into pieces between the boy’s fingers. The dream that had existed still swells
in an opera house



Labyrinth 62


The boy in the labyrinth resides inside an opera house. In his mind, swells of music
glow blue and ionize the air. He delicately rotates his hands in tune to his emotion,
which is like a dwelling. In here he dwells, he thinks, as his hands twirl into sad
feelings. It is the beauty of the minotaur’s song that is derived from a single fact–within
its song someone is present. With every note there is transference. As when wind from
spinning hands substitutes actual wind. As when the reeds of a throat do not require an
audience. As when the audience is far from the stage and the stage stammers its
incongruity