The Migraine Sonnets
I smell a brain tumor coming on.
Dodgeball our lost resort
when the handcuffs click into place,
the barrel pressed against the spine
Yawn yourself to sleep
& don't forget to cry [weep!]
We don't want your stuff,
we have more than plenty [enough!]
The body translucent, the innards on show.
Such hoopla for a what,
you greedy fuck. Desist!
There is no mail for you today.
The toilet is looking good today.
It'll receive nothing today.
Swallowing carpet fuzz is no cure.
Nor is the one-eighth drill bit, champ.
How many times can an ankle sprain.
You can't box w/your thumbs up.
Something is always hurting bad.
It goes unseen for good.
What doesn't kill you makes you sicker.
Your own private disaster to mull.
How many times can an ankle scream.
He takes half-n-half with his brandy.
Where is the liver, anyway.
Someone glued his cock to his keyboard
to force a choice b/w implements.
He has suppressed the tonsil incident
(out of fear of) (for) (the Tooth Fairy).
The wasp in the attic is violent-
ly looking for the wasp he cut in half.
He'll spray it before it finds.
To set up a perimeter or continue this ad hoc?
Only a stone doesn't spurt when crushed.
The paper says not to step outside today
"unless you want to end up on the wrong side
of an angry swarm."
The VCR goes after the soaps
with a vengeance.
Arkitekt [Through a Glass Darkly]
Whose pain will clarify the coastline
or some other moving thing?
A common despair, as easily caught as a cold,
answers nothing, as all must suspend what's inside
for what depends. The rain is its own loving
gesture. Empty. A horn answers
the lighthouse's call in a tongue feared by birds.
That ship will not founder here.
And where is the god in this? in the wall,
the wallpaper's tear, the nets pulled in
at sunrise, the derelict boat leaning into
the water? Climb below, pull the ladder down,
& suffer your way toward.
Culvert & creek-
fall & twigs
spill into cause-
cluster & clump
until a heavy rain's weight-
unclogs to shape a route
rut a detour
via compost & clover
The honey ant's fluid motions
Some kind of pod split
The pond's turtles drop
from their spots
treefall & log
smallest to oldest
when the human stops
to watch & hear
here at this break
where what's audible
What is still
on the surface
& when the surface
a heron crossing
from edge to edge
the underneath goes still
before it scatters
Click here to read an interview with Brian Henry.
Brian Henry is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Stripping Point (Counterpath, 2007) and Quarantine (Ahsahta, 2006). His translation of the Slovenian poet Toma Šalamun's book Woods and Chalices will appear from Harcourt in April 2008. He has co-edited Verse since 1995, and he co-edited The Verse Book of Interviews (Verse Press, 2005). His criticism has appeared in numerous publications around the world, including The New York Times Book Review, Times Literary Supplement, Jacket, Boston Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives in Richmond, Virginia and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Richmond.