Conjunctions:75 Dispatches from Solitude

Three Poems
The following is a selected text from “Three Poems” by Colin Channer, first published in Conjunctions:75, Dispatches from Solitude.

 


Bubble

Love from another time beneath me
in that new white cube house, mouth-water
from my brother’s lip a dollop on my arm;

and the bed irks when he fidgets 
in the wait-for-signal from the gap
between floor tiles and the ground;

not “the grounds”. . . ground . . . house bottom,
hush wilderness where short
unpainted pylons bear our house,

moral interstice of lizards, worms
and insects—where with keyholes
in our milk teeth we go crawling

with jook sticks to kill;
but not today, not now, not in this
drowsy interval, not with bellied

dog beneath us filled with pups;
expectant anguish, feels like advent
service at St. Mary’s or the held-in

glee on card nights near Christmas
when big people leave red punch
with anise to the ferns and tip to mum’s

barracks and we hear the rip of tape
in plastic sleigh beds getting pulled,
and we guess at gifts;

so, me and Gary sleepy-tangled-up this morning,
birth funk rising from the privates
of the house; peeny-wally dust makes

helix in the light the louvers plane;
the pregnant dog sounds settled in the place
where she belongs, the crawly gap,

our dim far-fetching range,
and in bed my mind gallops,
my chewed fingers work, names coming

as I pick tufts from the blue chenille
we cover with, our inner sky, thought bubble,
holder of our wishes, gases, pissings,

bun crumbs, Milo, condensed milk,
the drowsy pleasure of being above new
life as it’s ushered in not lost on me,

not lost because it’s just too big to grasp;
this is six-year-old bare love,
just adorable distress as each

pup imagined is named, my mind alert
for big dog bray or jostle, or a sightless
infant chirp, and now it comes!

newborn’s here-in-wonder cry on waking in an outtabelly underworld;
the next sound comes to mind still

       when I think efficient
       one growl all slaughtered runts,
       and every time I hear the sound

       and every time I hear the sound
       and every time I hear the sound
       the sound the sound the sound . . .

 

Colin Channer’s most recent book is the poetry collection Providential (Akashic Books). Born in Jamaica, and raised there and in New York, he teaches at Brown University.

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Vol. 76
Fortieth Anniversary Issue
Spring 2021
Edited by Bradford Morrow

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May 26, 2021
I remember how, when we got word that it was okay to emerge, my parents opened the front door. My mother was holding an aluminum baseball bat, my father had a shovel. The three of us were in our hazmat suits. (Mine had grown a little taut. I was eleven years old and had gotten taller and rounder.) Our breaths were trapped in our masks.

How long had we been indoors? Time was hard to figure. It had been well over two years. But had it been three?
May 19, 2021
his bright impatiens in their beds, apple trees,
            to which he earlier rose on his cane and leaned

until among their snow blossoms alongside the bees,
            surrounded in floral-sweet fragrance,

from where your father says, And, no one wants you to be
            bitter.
May 12, 2021
Like the ancient glass marked

with fleck and mottle. But O—
her silver likeness. Long forsaken

the mirror: the edges, now light moves
straight through. Shrug or shudder.
 
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