Issue 19




from Symphony No.11

…the inner recesses…  (for Mary)


Ric Carfagna







This flesh breathes

expands and contracts

divining a place in the universe

outside the door’s lifeless shadow

the grey strata of clouds

    rising in the east

and to touch this residue

which clots the morning dawn

an ink’s pooling Rorschach design

a panther of retracting night

    shrouded in the forest

waking to wind through alcove windows

to plainchant echoes from atonal dreams







There is a point of beginning

of abstract generalities

of the solitary heart

amid an intermittent rain

of the stranger’s glare

in a room

where the doorway swings closed

and where the fate of Schrodinger’s cat

depends upon eyes observing

the degeneration of  atomic nuclei

and the silent sentience

of forgotten lives

left on the cutting-room floor







She flames with passion

for the continents


drifting beneath her feet

an intimate geography

of substance and loss

of candlelight fumes

in the darkling eyes of crows

of a steel door revealing

an artifice of radiance

orchids in a field remembered

a rock wall understood

as unyielding emotion

the chains of flesh

the apathy of privation

and the slow bleed

of pain’s embrace







And these hemispheres

interpret pain

in the unconscious organism

small murmurings

running in riptides

unblinking eyes

at a window at noon

an asphalt road

glazed in rain

 a field of orchids

shrouded in fog

a heart beating


an ocean’s turbulent husk







The subterfuge

is this dark ocean current

is this bleeding statuary

with mute elegiac eyes downcast

is this slow drain of light

filtered down a corridor

of voices without meaning

of understanding so little

of what has not returned

from death

to be again

the progeny of dust







Footsteps down a corridor

likened to wind through trees

to rust on winter steel

and to chains rattling

on closed doors

to windows and crows

lost in blowing snow

and to the ghostly mourning dove

hanging in high branches

droning of the empty womb

expanding and contracting

and offering its life

to a wastrel spirit


    above desert wastes


    the elixir of forgetfulness

taking on flesh

    and sinew and bone

and eyes to see

the orchid bloom

bend on its stem

in a fragile evening breeze







We have composed ourselves

in this girth of shadow-lore

where nothing comes of days

weighted beneath gravity’s emotion

where storms rage

through a mountain’s meadow

where wolves devour

the unspoken words

of a faith

lost through love







And when sleep enters these eyes

dissecting an ocean’s depth

it becomes a moment

of unconscious consolation

it becomes a Sunday

torn from the pages of childhood

where isolation glints on a rock wall

where orchids grow in a field at noon

where summer’s touch is a shallow breath

    bleeding through dawn

and where death is a faceless prisoner of flesh

entering a house through a steel & glass door

and dissipating the primordial energy

    at the atom’s core







Sooner to have understood


the atomic structure

of the blade of grass

the density of the spiral galaxy

the inner recesses of passion’s labyrinths

and the dark flesh

   of visceral shadows

      when the bones of the sage

           have returned to dust

and to follow these forms to fruition

without divining

    a reality within

cubist hues which defy

    their spatial relations to matter

abstract equations

    resolving theoretical infinities

tares in a  garden

  where orchids once grew

and a solitary breath

    absorbed in a molecular sea’s cresting wave







The argument of solid matter

collapses upon illogical interpretation

for the crow must dream

of spaces in the cathedral

where photons of light

refuse to follow

a predetermined path

for it was all once seen

then later forgotten

a grey veil shrouding

a sanctuary’s nave

a gauze from the river Lethe

drifted into the eyes

 assuming an edifice

held in the rendered verities

of science and faith

…and the mind collapsed

into speculative revisions

…a wick tapering

and bending with the breeze

…a sun caught behind

an tenebrous overcast

…a womb embracing

a conjoining of matter and space

and breath dormant

in an amniotic sea

blood and sinew fused as one

sleep replaying

the theater of death

austere thoughts

in amphetamine darkness…

and nothing left

but fog and rain










Ric Carfagna was born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts.  He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently, Symphony No. 9 (White Sky Books, 2013).  His poetry has evolved from the early radical experiments of his first two books, Confluential Trajectories and Porchcat Nadir, to the unsettling existential mosaics of his multi-book project, Notes On NonExistence.  He lives in rural central Massachusetts with his wife, cellist Mary Carfagna, and daughters Emilia and Aria. 



                                               <  e·  >