“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

Kelly Schirmann

DREAM OF THE NEW WORLD

There’s a big concrete room we gather in
where bad feelings are piped mercilessly

I dreamed I was nightswimming
in the middle of a Russian city
in a warm shallow pool

I put my head under
I thought Russia is beautiful

Later I returned
to the type of wet garden fantasy
typical of my socio-economic status

I dreamed my dreams
would cleanse me of what I wanted
to convince others I already had

A working knowledge
of how war is a yin yang

and how to stay full
from sample-sized portions of pasta salads
at corporate health food stores

The sky at night
here in California

is a kind of dead ombre
and I went out under it

I got so high

I wrote a book about walking

Because I think we’ve forgotten
how to do it

I really think we have

 

 

ADVANCED SYMBOLISM

Hours go by with us
reading old books on African masks

I didn’t know Picasso
made so much pottery as he aged
He must have been rich

There’s a kind of person
who needs to know you know
what polyrhythms are
and I barely do

In a way
it just means “multiple rhythms”

The lake is frozen over
All of the goats are pregnant

My dad is in Eastern Oregon
videotaping geese

Peaking in the hot tub
later with the radiant snow
I remember who to be

I cry and cry
kneading my pale stomach

Time is a room
you fill with objects
you don’t actually want

Earlier I examined
two-dimensional art forms

Later bread soaks up my errant fluids

Then later we trap the sky moving
on an old flash drive Earlier

the art farm depressed me
The goats / wait no

Later I milk the goats
Later I remember
that oil is so integral Later
I google the meaning of oil
I don’t find much

Earlier was a younger feeling
but I’ll have another

Still later
I watch the bright orange
flames raking the air moving
through the woodstove Earlier
in thick fingers

I do know what makes
music into itself

Really it’s just trying

Later
I blow dust from the old masters

Write Mom on a piece of paper

Run a line through it

 

 

HIGHWAY ARCHETYPE

 

I keep thinking of writing
about what freeways meant
to the folk singers

The truth is I just don’t know

To what extent should I be stopped

These are the thoughts of our world
and they are also mine

There are only so many words
So many impulses

There’s the highway impulse
& the archetype it reduces to

There’s a corn moon
rising yellow over the green sand
I keep thinking

I love poetry & algebra
and they are opposites

One shrinking the other
uselessly / The universe
& what needs to name it

Time bends
& I don’t know how

It arcs toward a room service
kind of country
Where all you do is ride

I’m thinking
of a big new road
that isn’t new anymore

That anyone can walk along
if they are brave enough

Though I don’t really mean “walk”

Though maybe I would have once

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Kelly Schirmann’s debut collection, Popular Music, was listed among the top poetry books of 2016 by Entropy Magazine and The Chicago Review of Books. She currently lives and teaches in Western Montana. Read more