Dirge for Coal Country
You’re a hole full of black lungs,
but she still had to drag me out of you
with her teeth halfway through my tongue.
Nothing blooms here
but the bodies of grubs
looming in white irony.
III. Mt. Carmel
She loved you
until the night you brought that old man home
and watched him
put his hand up her shirt.
Lager for blood
makes your heart a happy drunk,
but one day you’ll find your inheritance
gone skunked in the kegs.
I stole your daughter.
We drove away laughing.
At night she lays bare your faults;
she forgives your portrait every morning.
When I say your name I have to spit the taste out.
I refuse to lie for you
at your trial or your funeral.
VI. Irish Valley
I stamped cigarettes out in the grass,
pissed in the streams,
broke into the church and played the pipe organ with my hard-on.
The rich kids pronounced it
like the yellow fruit of an imaginary tree.
We pronounced it
like a star torn from its orbit
and shoveled under the mud on the riverbank.
Who now can doubt
that the earth hides fires,
that the earth can manifest many mouths,
that some dark mountain husbandry
has converted these lands to a larder?
IX. Hymn for the Coal Cracker’s Divorce
If you ever see me again,
it will only be for a day,
and once you’ve fed me and fucked me,
I’ll need to get back to making you miss me.
[This poem first appeared in Barge Journal]
So she is revealed in push and sepia
In draughts of sap in dramas of geography
How grave the ague
And how long expected the contents of envelope
Bathes her feet in polar gore
Writes vague ordnance to towers of aught
Graphing coordinates of thaw
She is plush ghoul impacted
Pulse flood and the dearth of tact
Earth furnace she is ordinary law
She I theorem she
Is the tantamount describe of older physics
Aching she inculcates the alder
Archon and she wields far rod
Doors there are to fens and moors
Source and plea the flaunt of Venus
Mortal male as venison to her table
Gnosis crypt she is prejudice brat and cosmic
Over human muscle and under human skin
Fragment of high substance
The sunlight incarcerate
Oven of many
She is parody math escorted
She is pale in summer
[This poem first appeared in Western Humanities Review]
So I return from strange travels
Some integrity faltered
And bent to the will I bear back threat and influenza
Bad fire in the tissue
Threshold state and the roots will out
Cutthroat trout I slipped in stream from the summit
Of it I drank and therein was I lost
Rife with issue I am drain theory
Cold meltwater the knife of time
How I complain how
Have I borne mountain in my matter down the mountain
Forlorn I image other pasts
Mock pain and clatter of the overclock
Gavels in the limbs of last things
Beneath breathing flesh the bright bones
Read the fable of erasure
Panic the fiction of beta soma
Lay down dollars the limits of light
Sense the incommensurable membranes it’s urgent
Blight all similitudes of crown
Hobble the salts of document
Exile fugitive whispers and forgers
No mountain once stood where you speak with me now
Is there trail to the topos
Veiled in the clustered clouds
A fire waits somehow upon the snowpeak
To know me by the contours of my face
Revelation in the vectors of my footfall
Confession to the ashes of my race
The storm a recitation
A calligraphy of license
Knowable not readable
Around me hung significance and import
But closer lacks attend me now
A dead thing to skin and wrap my feet
A stream to follow down into the world
Deep burns to crust over with snow
And in that a terror too high to own
Do not ask me if I climbed or was I lifted
[This poem first appeared in New Fraktur Arts Journal]
Art Zilleruelo’s debut full-length poetry collection The Last Map will be published by Unsolicited Press in May of 2017. His chapbook Weird Vocation was published by Kattywompus Press in 2015. His poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Pleiades, Western Humanities Review, Phantom Drift, and other journals, and he has poetry forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review. His poetry has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been anthologized in Lost Horse Press’ Of a Monstrous Child.