Ryan Cornelius


Drawn Inward




I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

—T. S. Eliot

   Paint, as you see it,
   the blue between the ocean and sky,
   each white grain between the sea and beach.

   Find words for the copper-hot sand.
   Now clap them into irons with your pen.
   Chain them in your sentences.

   The fishmonger drips red along newspaper
   clippings: the round eyes, the priceless scales,
   the cartilage lips,
   hint at the printed word.

   Have you begun to lose your footing
   on that beach where no one walks?
   Find those words to help me see your sea.

   You know the one that built that beach
   with grains more numerous than breath,
   each one older than circles.

   The water of that ocean was a goddess
   once, that sun a chariot.
   Then was the untouched wild of the mind
   before science and language painted the canvas.

   Pluck out your thoughts gladly.
   They do not belong to you either.

   Hurry now with your words,
   the encroaching night bends its knee as
   the horizon salivates dusk.

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   Drawn Inward

   I have asked God,
   where lies the perfect circle?
   He told me to ask again,
   the answers are in the asking.

   In minute detail, an artist's hand
   draws the other's pencil,
   the pine and cone debate sequence,
   the hollow bellies of nesting dolls swallow
   daughters, mothers, mothers in daughters,
   an eye sees two faces envelope
   the candlestick—two poised lovers kiss—

   the snake swallows its own tail

   We will be old again
   says the germinating pine cone
   we will shade the forest sedge,
   spring up in fires of summer,
   buried in the fall of winter,
   but roots in earth, child, roots

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   Haj, a nominative in this case,
   wrote, 3rd person past tense,
   "Carlos, which has 6 letters,
   lives upstairs," a verb phrase.

   Extraordinary, an interjection
   of an adjective, I thought, 1st
   person past tense, I understand
   what he means by this, a pronoun.

   For example, converse with your dog.
   Sit. Go. Fetch, all of these
   are imperative moods
   of the English language.

   Fear, is an abstract noun. Jesus Christ
   is a concrete noun. Which is real
   is only which is realized. Noun,
   a person place thing idea.
   Candidly, all are open to interpretation.

   Thus I might never get a blind man
   to believe the color green,
   but I can make him realize green
   is an adjective with five letters.

   And when he says, what's this all matter,
   an interrogative sentence, I counter
   what's it all matter?,
   a rhetorical interrogative,
   which in reality is declarative.

   Man, I say, "what's it all matter"
   is the crux of all languages
   just like green is the crux
   of all colors. This is indicative.

   He says, you're speaking Greek,
   an idiom,
                    exasperated, I respond
   what do you know, you're blind.

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   When I am not awake I am driving west
   by moonlight,
   through places where the night chrysalis
   opens, unfurling its membranous wings,
   those glowing mad eyes.

   We drive through desert until dawn,
   the point in time when I decide
   I have had enough of greatness,
   and turn away from all this luster.

   It is true that I never loved
   until I pressed
   my atoms past your atoms
   in the realms inside our palms.

   In the desert that surrounds us,
   at the mountains' cornice,
   light runs like water into pools.

   Ahead of us, the blindness stares
   into the sun, and like a rage of bees,
   an uncast exhalation
   fills the world between us.

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Ryan Cornelius lives in mundane, non-descript Carrollton, Texas among tract homes of tomorrow. To his surprise, his work has appeared previously in Sheridan Edwards Review, The Porch, and the North Texas Review. He is currently finishing a Masters of Creative Writing at the University of North Texas. A sporting man in both life and poetry, he believes that line breaks are everything, and in his spare time he works at the grindstone like a medieval peasant.

content Copyright 2007, Ryan Cornelius—All Rights Reserved