CHARLES ALEXANDER


Pushing Water 56

              (for Marilyn Crispell)

to access landscape
and view from piano
keys practice widely
on the green

who so goes on a list
may not find a way
out behind the last
hart no more no more

the state of disunion
found by a refugee
photographer every
where he walks, he looks

from the madding in
to the mad lists of
those gone and those
still here without

what would burst the pumpkin
who would carry the rifle
who died in which military action
or police action or stop action

do you fear the lack of fear
when all else (homes and
jobs and hope and) are gone
and ammunition remains

remodel the block
remodel the community
remodel the city re-
model the nation (and yourself)

by the time you live it will
you find it in a striped
shirt with hood in a
striped island flooded completely

a Russian man nails his
ball-sac to the floor
to protest conditions that
provoke human suffering (what will you do?)

Pushing Water walks into the room
sits down, Pushing Water asks
for a glass of water, Pushing
Water turns the lights off

The cross may be cross-eyed
when it graces a coffin
and guarantees safe passage
through the waves and weariness

if black is the color of cool
it is also the color of nothing
and loss and death and all
the nothings under the sun

each note is a chord
each chord a flood
that ties and unties
a knot that becomes a not

walk-ins welcome and walk-outs
unplanned and unstoppable
gather and disperse, contract
and release the dispossessed

Tuesday’s all day $5 pitchers
under the mound lies buried
Tuesday’s happy hours and sundown
waiting for Wednesday’s long hours

liquid washes through a day
and washes all suffering away
liquid dreams and liquid
beams that build airy nothings

take me out to the night
take me into your room
take me out to the ballgame
take me where something blooms

don’t ask for assistance or dream
of a change don’t ask for
money or weapons don’t look
around don’t take a step




As If

I think as if
           or if I think

           might
           could
           would

it be better simply
where you will be

           tomorrow
           and if we did
           and could touch

so much
for an afternoon

*

“Music avoids impossibility.”

says Z
in the key
of C

so much for the possible
           inconsistency a beauty

*

for age an adjustment
forage widely one

thirsts another feels
wet everywhere

           and an eye to see it
           or see where it
           leads

                (it leads)

let it go let
them go let
the world in

           more than a
           word at a
           time

*

                                            (I find you
                                            here today I
                                            am glad you
                                            found the way
                                            here, found me
                                            too, today)

*

just as the whole world is made up of many people, each idea contributes to its whole sense, even if it appears only as its dark shadow—Friedrich Schleiermacher

*

just so, the world
           as it fills and
           falls, from the
           center, the
           inclination shadows
           and foreshadows

between written and
spoken, a function
to inhabit

no other difference remains
no other no
remains or the
fact stands with
and beyond the light

*

whole lemon light

           I once wrote, young
           and warm, the
           page warm as
           an evening

and in the morning
now, the light out
shines lemon, fruit
of all kind, years
of one duration
or another

*

when you or I
write a word,
all the previous
words occasion
the possibility,
and what we do
changes the nature
of such future
occasions, as well
as the nature of
the current

*

the mouth blesses
its space, or
the space around

you have moved in
such spaces and we
have known you

moving on walls on
walks inside small
and large spaces

sometimes with giant
steps and love su-
preme love of the air

that parts to let you
through let you in
let you go it

is hard going from here
for those who let
you go     we do

and bless your
space with our
mouth, our moving

*

a compassion to
yours a line of
worry and care
a pomegranate a
butterfly a few
words on paper



CHARLES ALEXANDER
Artist: Poet, Bookmaker, founder/director of Chax Press. Author of 5 full-length books of poetry and 10 brief chapbooks of poetry, editor of one critical work on the state of the book arts in America, author of multiple essays, articles, and reviews. Most recent book of poetry is Pushing Water, published by Cuneiform Press. Some Sentences Look for Some Periods, a chapbook, has just been released by Little Red Leaves. Has taught literature and writing at Naropa University, University of Arizona, and elsewhere. Currently at work on Collected Essays and a new book of poetry. Lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his partner, the painter Cynthia Miller.

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