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. 82
Works & Days
Spring 2024
Bradford Morrow

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June 19, 2024
I am sorry for not writing sooner. To be completely frank, I was afraid of receiving a response and knowing for certain that you’re finished with me. I am very troubled by the way we’ve left things.
 
June 12, 2024
It took place in London at the end of the seventeenth century—a man was spending the evening at home, often thinking of a friend of his, a woman, who was very ill, worrying about her, hoping she would live, when there was a knock on the door, and she entered, looking fine, thriving, in fact, and sat down in a normal way and began a normal conversation, though she seemed a little more serious than usual until he began to cry, at which she continued quietly, discussing things of the soul, aspects of time, and he began to sob, and she continued speaking quietly, as he sobbed and sobbed, and when he finally looked up she was gone.
June 5, 2024
I’ll just speak for myself. This seems to be the best plan. When you try to speak on behalf of others you run into trouble. See? Already I has become you, but I cannot be you. But you can come along with me, at my side if you like, even if my walk is a bit awkward and you probably want to move more quickly over the terrain. Probably you wouldn’t say “terrain.” You would say ground or path or street. These choices don’t amount to a disagreement, just a different habit of mind. The mind’s terrain. Just now my mind’s terrain is a bit foggy, a bit dreary. It feels, inside of this fog, quite empty, as if, when the fog lifts, there will be nothing but an expanse uninflected by things to see or do, undisturbed by names and places, recollections and glimpses into other times and other places.