Chalcedony's First Ten Songs
These poems are a vibrant call to body and spirit and earth through the sensory world. Extravagant, rich and powerful - it's as if Clive Matson's early voice lost its anger and returned to embrace sensual life in all its joys and pains.
Chalcedony ("Cal-SAID-'n-ee") is a character in one of my unfinished stories. She loves her boyfriend with startling intensity, and she has big problems with him, too. She began writing songs in April 2004, and put pressure on me to get her words on paper. I followed her bidding. This became an intriguing adventure, though it felt odd to be writing someone else's words.
Journeying into the songs one enters a fluid and energetic universe I didn't know exists. Does this place emerge from a deepening relationship with my anima? If so, one wonders if a similar universe exists for everyone. The poems do seem to express more and more of what something, maybe my body, holds dear. At times I'll act purely on knowledge of the poems, because they feel more compelling than so-called reality. Chalcedony's world seems more interesting, more powerful, and, ultimately, more real.
Published by: Minotaur Press, 2007
Port Townsend, WA 98368
format: saddle stitch, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 36
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Not one button, not one stray
curled hair? You think you've left
nothing here, not
even a skin fleck tickling my nostril?
Cut straw and clover, horse manure
and the ocean's salt breeze!
What is that odor?
Heavy machine oil
links to notes from a lilting organ that
fly over pumpkin fields and dance syncopated
over red-tiled roofs over my head.
Do I have you in my mouth?
In nasal cavities?
Is that you dripping down walls
through my esophagus?
I breathe you in and out.
I bend faux boundaries with my lungs.
You think you're a discrete entity?
You're disseminated over water.
You're on the airwaves and you're dotted
across pine and juniper high desert.
You're inside and outside my body
spread up and down my belly and my legs.
You think you can pull your hand back?
Get in your truck and drive off?
You think you can put your heart
back in your chest
You've left your essence.
I'm eating you with strawberries.
I'm sipping you with black tea.
Your glance left a mark on my eye,
the oil from your skin osmoses
balm through hungry membranes.
Your gesture cutting the air,
that five-finger wave
is still there
hanging from your wrist.
Oh yes those fingers attach to your hand,
your hand to your wrist to your arm
and to your shoulder
as you stride your yard!
How independent you are!
How distant your profile
against distant trees, how foreign
your boot in the dirt, how unique
the metal keys you toss in your hand.
You think you're as discrete
as the cognac a drunk
hides in his trousers.
But the warm sun
lifts your smell from your neck,
from your pores tagged molecules
jiggle off into wide surging breezes
for places known and unknown.
And to one new place
known very well.
Can you feel your soul escaping?
Your shadow right in front of you
from the morning sun
into my pocket.
I'm a skinny broad with wild plum breasts
and when we make love
These slight bones
arch and so strongly my waist billows
at hips and chest
who would guess
ripe melons in both places?
Who would guess desert-branch
arms so vibrant and blood-filled
the ends burst out ravenous fingers?
Venus rubs her round breasts
on and smears you with kisses
from lips as full and soft as ten servants
could make them working all afternoon
with magic potions and pinches.
My gardenia tongue finds
its sibling stalk in your mouth.
You think these are kitten meows,
these little cries and yelps?
Delicate bird coos?
No, no! These are
pulsing the granite sides of buildings!
Doubling over trees to the sidewalk
and puffing off their leaves!
And you feel something blow through you,
too! That soft grunt's a Viking's roar
at the helm of his mighty ship.
Thor with his hammer!
Zeus on the mountain top!
Who slides under your lids
in the huge spaces of come's silence
before the hole closes?
The old ones.
The old ones
who carry our humanity into the future.
Those from prehistory
where what the ceiling knows
sings through wedding songs all
night outside the bridal chamber.
Celebrating how the marigold brightens
when a butterfly alights and lets
yellow wings unfold and flex.
Celebrating how blackbirds peck
ambrosia in a field of strawberries.
Celebrating how the flooding stream
groans and slaps itself with pleasure
as boulders roll between its banks.
Shape-change catalysts rub away
our crumby images
and they crumble
away like so much loose, dead skin.
We really are this big
and this fully the archetypes act
while the intelligence behind the big bang
and DNA occupies space between our atoms
and neutrino swarms blow through us
and faces trace giant outlines on cityscapes and hills,
how could we
be this big?
Rock levers tilt mountains and trees across sky.
Bright shadows move through vast oceans.
Up the air shaft come raspy echoes
of my cries.
Behind these thin lips more sounds gain
full aperture from the wide mouth of
coming at you
about to swallow you up.