the poetry of jay chollick

July 10, 2012

Bio-degradable

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:35 pm

Jay Chollick: The word’s most

harmless terrorist; shadowy

at the open mic; insufferable

in print; bookish in slim volumes;

p&a (prizes & awards) not the

bluest ribbons; big mouth

on the radio; a tv pipsqueak;

for which only his one hand claps

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Save Us! Save Us!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:32 pm

It’s what,

huddled into our

dry minute, it’s what we must, with

desperate rapidity strap onto

us—our cat,

our elegiac Mozart,

our precious book—dark gods! the river’s

bursting over us; the car’s

.

Afloat; our hill of bland unmoving happiness

is washed

away;

and words,

trapped in the dark hole distance

of our throats,

too smashed to speak. We are

in the daylight of minus

sheen, new shifting

.

Things: no longer us

as thick and grossly solid—no longer

wet,

but pulverized

and powder

on the wind—all gone—

our sinews no longer intertwined

with trees, or even the limitless horizon

where an airy heart

can fly—we call on

.

Churches now, but just their

bells

to speak for us, our nearly fatal

weariness. Here,

in the thick of pleading, will our cat

be saved? And, not Mozart,

but his

.

Melodious ghost—and a text, brimming

with summer

or the death of light, will they—book

and music, will they

survive?

And will an ear be left to listen

with—or an eye

in its pure and steady meadow, be left

to read?

Hurricane

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:31 pm

It’s when,

it’s when a van with a lopsided cry

is overturned; when corners

turn frightening—flying

without their rooms; and something

grinds

before loosening. Is it

.

In the darkening light, in the

dry pause

between lightnings—is it the habiliment

of a storm

that’s torn away?

Or glass carrying scarlet

when the wind has won the window

and the sashes bleed?

Or when

a tree’s re-rooted canopy

spurns the ground, what started

.

It, this hurricane? Was it

that small drop on your stocking, courier

of the impending rain? Or when

the demon rags, I mean the flags,

were whipped and the wind,

crying from an eerie throat

that normalcy—kaput!

had given up

.

That Spring’s mild bandages

were removed and the monstrous deformity

of the day—tectonic—titanic, who

cares? all

the plates—above and below—were now

shown split

and were unhinged

from it, the flower and the table,

tidy after dinnertime;

and the unfolding rhythms of a quarrel

.

Or a kiss. That quiet schedules

were gone. But

nothing lasts, the damaged sounds

of yammering and spent, are

all around; and on exhaustion, a decency

.

Of rain

I Cannot

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:29 pm

Since my poetry no longer

sings—it has

no throat! I ask bleakness my good

friend, to walk

with me. We two—

he, whisper-thin; expressionless;

and I, into such silence sunk

that no word

.

Forms how could this

be? My poetry! Which once into its

milky ounce took

sunlight in. And crucial rainbows. Took in

a swan but capsized it; gave vent

to wrath, gave to

propulsive joy such

stinging force that concrete sang

and every noun in form’s

collapse turned blithering

to an adjective I cannot

write! Or think! I cannot, from

this world’s deepest grave

.

Be Lazarus

.

For I have been with acid

sprayed; beheaded; raped, left writhing

in my gutted hut I’m

Daniel Pearl! And Matthew

Shepherd I’m the Jew, six million

burnt—I’mAfrica. And

what is left

of ice—my water, reef, my oiled

.

Bird, so shaken

with Alaskan rage I die

with them, the world and its

indifference, mine. But how in conscience

write

of it? My poetry in

bewildered flight does n-o-t-h-i-n-g

does nothing

for the polar bear it cannot

stop the melting of his

.

Ice

Surveying It

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:27 pm

With the world

down to its holy inch, betrayed,

and the eye with queasy sight

beholding it—then hell stays solid

and horror easily

.

Is looked upon. But if vision

faltering, overflows—laced

with grief, sub-human only

being seen—ghastly

to unbearable with petroleum

slobbering uncontrollably—why then

step back, replace it with a local

plague, make dying with

dim horror, neat; and propped up

by a new name

.

Made respectable. Start simple—with

questioning curiosity: why does

Scotlandfrom its purple,

leak, its summer-thistle, wan

and barely there, is this an airborne

rot, a sickening

.

Of plaid? And then, still

questioning—is it, this blur, is this

where pink against its blossom

dies—along with its

bewildered bee? Will we in sorrow

honor them, make sadness

liquid make it

sing? Or is our throat too tense

.

For madrigals? Does it scraped bare

show pity with no music

but a forming

scream? And, as withering leaves

no pink untouched, contagion

creeps: each meadow

canopied by glow, blooms grayish

.

Now; dry waters, choked

with sparkle, leave fish on their

dry waves, marooned. We cheer

a gnat—no swarm just one

is left, and that one freshly dying,

moves—but then

.

Does not. Each thing from its

deep place is sprung: a continent,

hacked frozen out of naked

age, ho-hum, just one more

.

Cold atrocity And where

in airy shambles, where poets

sit—they all with unbelieving eyes

watch bliss on listless ripples, leave,

the sweet haphazard

.

Perishing.     And from this time

so richly calamitous that even

screaming shrieks—who cares, we’ve

died so many times

before, locked hands with

lifeless, touched

.

Invisibility. But scatter this

remembered life, now even death

flung seed-like, starts

to grow. And we on this long stalk

bloom iron

.

Now. But no bee sucking rust

is here—or robin

black-breast, that grounded

blot—like you, Somalia-infancy

with starving

.

Eyes. And, with only one harsh furrow

left, with a world too full

for burial, what else—maddened

by exclamation points, what else

to do but rouge-up

into jollity, gather in the ragged

of ourselves, but never

them: the ones who whisper, who tinker

in soft secrecy, who kill us

.

Smooth. Only we who read, who

think, who listen—bending our hearing

to the earth, the we, who gilded

by Maimonides and Aeschylus, in sync

with Bach—and dredge the harbor’s mud

for us, the we who sing—or on

the Matthew Arnold

.

Of a beach—who turn (as if

huge mankind

slowly shifts) who say

but speechless

with divinity, good morning      light

How It Begins

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 11:24 pm

When itemizing

the world do not use words—not

singly, or bundled dry

into a tedium of lists, they are the spawn

of arid alphabets and merely glance

at things—which is

.

Appalling! For though with words

we share a nitty-gritty appetite, our need

has teeth, we bite down

heavily—on everything, the world’s

our cud—and with

a steady grinding sound, we ruminate, chew

happily: on caves; on roots; whole tribes

(although we gag

on them) and soaking tributaries; great hooting

birds, all suctioned in

and ground down fibrous, to a

.

Wad—we bulge, with weighty tons

defining us. But we don’t only

swallow truth; to capture it, hardscrabble

hands

are indispensable—with nails

as long as spikes to impale,

then lift each speck pulled in—first

to be scrutinized;

touched; then simply to be

.

Marveled at—who cares

if the eye, goggling with amazement, with

fortified sight, imprisons

clouds. Or that, into the autumn

turning luminous a finger

points, and to a pond of petty silver,

lures

.

The swan. The world (and squelch

the bovine imagery) the world, with its

curiously embellished paths,

is ours. We know its fire, that licking

ecstasy; and why,

when discovery comes suddenly, it always

.

Yelpscries out, “Antarctica!” when it’s

first glimpsed and white

is slowly shuddered through. Or when they

lift, the bending oceans to our

slowly lowered toe, and we touch claws, fins,

and salty wash the minnows down—

at last cold joy, we’re part

of them, we’ve opened sandy windows

to their life

February 9, 2012

Insurgency

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 1:35 am

We must

inside our clotted lives, grow fierce

each hand

a fist, and make of simple arms

an armature. We are

crude signs and chanting bodies

massed, fresh-faced

and generous—it’s with the beating

immediacy

of slogans—defiance marching

cocky (our advance-platoon) that we

enter it, hugehuge—Time’s fabled

room, the melancholia

of history, dampish with old

posters hung; but we don’t

look and push its dulled remains

.

Aside: the seedy colonnades, where

Utopias in their half-light,

sag. where systems once triumphant

rot, and to a monumental

sludge—the vast room, sinking

.

Under it. But when to our impatient

eye a rat-plagued time

is glimpsed, when hairshirt whore

and heretic were half

the world—Savonarola burning

in a purple cloak, we shout

.

Enough! And twisting with

modernity blow off his corpse, drag

Wall Street drag Zuccatti in,

the Park in its entirety: each tree,

the tents

the sleeping bags make way—and

cordoned by police make way

for siren sounds, the din through

strident microphones

intensified—fists raised and by

the internet unplugged—the world!

what’s pent-up, spewing

.

Into us and bursting red, spraying

its dripping fury

on the walls we are

transformed, shaken by exposure

to our deepest wound—we were

.

Betrayed! By everything!

By Government and by our own

soft weakness

in exposing it: the sinister

financial sleaze, the

Wall Street cheap‘n easy

housing bait, which we, performing

dogs, delirious

on toxic credit grabbed—it was

and overwhelmingly, our way

of life. It’s why, Zucatti-stuffed!

hoarse-voice—disheveled

ragtag we are

.

Shouting it! That corruption

was complicit: the regulators, falsifying

the fact; the us—the we—forever

reaching greedy

for a fairytale; the government

with its face pulled off—no eye to see

and nothing left to sniff

.

The stink. Of how the richest one

percent have picked theU.S.pocket

clean, assuaged, choking

on jewels

with fat & feelgood charity with

meager tax bucks

dragged noblesse oblige

to pisspoor trickle down

.

On us, gross B&C (that’s bread

& circus) the ninety nine percent

who pinhead brushed the theft

aside. And why—the hasty

placards going up, why with

newly focused fury was a promise

lost?—to extricate

from bottomless, the wars! the wars!

.

Though one was by twin-traitors

hatched; a war-crime dreamed

so hideous that we, still

bleeding—drained bankrupt

are too weak to speak—or move—

.

Or clarify. And since all history

is united here, we ask Zuccatti, fresh

from the street to place his

young hand, kind, in ours, help lift

Iraqits dead-fleshed vet—but not yet

snugly body bagged

.

And to his

sacrificial meat, pin valor’s frigid medal

on. Let eyes still blank with youth

read painfully: You’ve Died

For Traitors, Arlington (the letters

blur) You’ve Died

With Grisly Truth—For Lies 

Saddlebag

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 1:31 am

Astounded molecule! Transfigured

self! which, from

a simple singularity

becomes, leaping

theMississippi, becomes

.

The West—honk! honk! a body

turned metropolis, its multitude

of selves: the wind with

hard modernity,

slapping it; and where

outlandish crystal is, built

.

Huge. Where nature

is an unwept

seed; and with the manic lifting

of a wing, with a generalized

infection

where the birds the birds

.

Are vanishing. It’s where

an ever-moving traffic—stalls

or muddled, chokes; or moving swift

on this exhausted

boulevard O citizens! To understand

be more than flesh take metal

on—and wheels; a radio—pulsate

.

With it, our speeding ears

glued into onto over it some billboard

on the retina, the selfsame drivel

flashing past, was it, this

boulevard was it ever

.

Young? Simple in its early

life—when it, hard-bitten mud, was

Main Street once, was

hitching posts; a bar just two

dust-dreary footsteps

up; a bank, the drygoods standing

next to it—and Zeke O whisky

of eternal thirst—scruffy

bearded boozehead! And walking

Miss Aurora

turns, slender with raw gingham

worn but what vexatious

sound

.

Is that? El Paso—no-o-o…

butSacramento

into music, its accordion its

banjo and the gunshot

puff. And with everything bleak

frayed leather

talk; horse-hide snortingly

magnificent, is that

no coach, but Conestoga only,

a wagon’s rolled up carted

dust still choking

In the memory—awful

to the spine is this poor page

called Saddlebag? And,

has it with jolting immediacy

come back—in all its

optimistic

fervor, red white

and bloody breathing hard

has it come back

.

To live?

At The Boil

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 1:28 am

O holy globe,

against God’s knotted fist

hang quietly—slight sway perhaps

when smoothed

by clouds, or slicked

to longitudinal length

by rain. Or

.

With massive thrust

when the equator in broad and

reverent measure

is reached—and how

it steams, O holy globe—

down to the prime

meridian, to latitude, measured

taut! stay peaceful

under the quiet lines—immutable

.

But even we, who muddy it

who are displaced who starve

or who exalt in it, we are

still holy

with the globe—at one

with dust, with what

a fertile Greenland breeds, the spawn

of ice

.

With oceans, continents, the

pretty wave,

the bird, beating on its own

simplicity, the air’s blue

crown—but we, we cannot rest,

be still, forgetful

in our own blind nature, to hang

a sloth! our veins

in mad pulsation never

.

Stop, they say, paint; sculpt,

they say kill; say eye, poor

old Gloucester,

pluck it out! They say topple, tearing it;

say build, eat, drink

and fucking screw the thing—our

sun-yellow eden they say

breathe, say

sickening and host the germ,

say write the rainbow

they say

.

Live!

Surveying It

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchollick @ 1:26 am

With the world

down to its holy inch, betrayed,

and the eye with queasy sight

beholding it—then hell stays solid

and horror easily

.

Is looked upon. But if vision

faltering, overflows—laced

with grief, sub-human only

being seen—ghastly

to unbearable with petroleum

slobbering uncontrollably—why then

step back, replace it with a local

plague, make dying with

dim horror, neat; and propped up

by a new name

.

Made respectable. Start simple—with

questioning curiosity: why does

Scotlandfrom its purple,

leak, its summer-thistle, wan

and barely there, is this an airborne

rot, a sickening

.

Of plaid? And then, still

questioning—is it, this blur, is this

where pink against its blossom

dies—along with its

bewildered bee? Will we in sorrow

honor them, make sadness

liquid make it

sing? Or is our throat too tense

.

For madrigals? Does it scraped bare

show pity with no music

but a forming

scream? And, as withering leaves

no pink untouched, contagion

creeps: each meadow

canopied by glow, blooms grayish

.

Now; dry waters, choked

with sparkle, leave fish on their

dry waves, marooned. We cheer

a gnat—no swarm just one

is left, and that one freshly dying,

moves—but then

.

Does not. Each thing from its

deep place is sprung: a continent,

hacked frozen out of naked

age, ho-hum, just one more

.

Cold atrocity And where

in airy shambles, where poets

sit—they all with unbelieving eyes

watch bliss on listless ripples, leave,

the sweet haphazard

.

Perishing.     And from this time

so richly calamitous that even

screaming shrieks—who cares, we’ve

died so many times

before, locked hands with

lifeless, touched

.

Invisibility. But scatter this

remembered life, now even death

flung seed-like, starts

to grow. And we on this long stalk

bloom iron

.

Now. But no bee sucking rust

is here—or robin

black-breast, that grounded

blot—like you, Somalia-womanly

with starving

.

Eyes. And, with only one harsh furrow

left, with a world too full

for burial, what else—maddened

by exclamation points, what else

to do but rouge-up

into jollity, gather in the ragged

of ourselves, but never

them: the ones who whisper, who tinker

in soft secrecy, who kill us

.

Smooth. Only we who read, who

think, who listen—bending our hearing

to the earth, the we, who gilded

by Maimonides and Aeschylus, in sync

with Bach—and dredge the harbor’s mud

for us, the we who sing—or on

the Matthew Arnold

.

Of a beach—who turn (as if

huge mankind

slowly shifts) who say

but speechless

with divinity, good morning      light

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