Iris Orpi – 5 Poems

Posted on: January 18th, 2017 by admin

Equinox

 

Like wings,

the reclaiming of the dark hours

arches across the rosy-eyed lull

of not knowing,

plumed in possibility

and iridescent visions,

flourishes of sacred geometry

stirring what once felt like

the night would go on without end.

There’s a sweet pain in awakening.

The voice of half-hearted

reckoning of day’s peak

catching on a sob

for the unfinished,

or for the beloved dreaming

that got defaced by the truth.

The inert limbs slowly embracing

a suffusion of fire.

There is that moment in turning

from what had once meant something

towards what is promised,

when the squaring of shoulders

exposes the symmetry of sound

catching up with the light,

imperfect form flanked

by efforts of divinity

to concede that it might

have been too dismissive of wisdom

coursed through the flesh.

It stretches behind you like wings.

Flight is nothing but the feeling

that touches you when

the sky becomes right-side up

and comes into view.

 

Ballast

Sometimes we turn to the darkness

as we stand on the edge

of oncoming, anticipated light

not because it is preferable

or necessary, but because

it comforts and gives a sense

of belonging to the things we carry

and wonder if they have a place

among the changes that are coming.

We mourn all deaths,

even those of what had never been

good for us, those that had been

slowly killing us the whole time.

Realizing they are lost to us

after all the pain of coming

to terms with their presence

and the makeshift beauty

we’ve contrived from the ways

they had made us suffer is

a fear and a melancholy of its own,

and a guilt too, almost

for a time outweighing our relief

for not having to suffer anymore.

Like the passing of a hero,

or the need for one,

making us again ordinary

and searching for the next

difficult thing to live for

so we could feel keenly alive.

When they call it self-preservation

we think about staying the same.

And then we call it a loss,

shedding the things that only

weigh us down. But to live

is to not drown, and at some point

we realize we are surrounded

by water. We get high on breathing

because the perilous tide outside

us is made of the same stuff

as the part liquid our spirits are.

We forget that we are souls

that have bodies. Our intimacy

with gravity and falling belies

how majestically we can rise

 

without denouncing the ground.

 

Salt and Aquamarine

And there you were,

the blue hour draped around you

like a shawl and all your

motivations a little disheveled.

The benign hush that

assumes the shapes of

what could have been overcome

blames nothing,

not even circumstance.

Some epiphanies are like

sea glass: broken

from a forgotten whole,

lost in rarely charted waters,

and with edges worn off by waves

that arch like the wings of fate.

It’s hard to tell from looking at you

where you really started.

You are part shipwreck

and part sunken treasure,

foggy and turquoise

and mystifying.

No one thinks less of a jewel for

forgoing a little clarity

for a few nights at sea,

for coming in to possession

of a thousand questions.

They make a pretty pattern,

hanging from your neck like amulets

and bringing out the depth

of passion in your eyes.

Nobody ever told you,

and they couldn’t even if they knew,

the birth you gave was going

to require a daily reimagining

of your own needs.

Every night a different sky.

It’s something you realize for yourself

when you find that the sun

rises on your right shoulder

while your love prefers

to weep on your left.

And the shawl of blue hour

fades into a night that hides you,

hides your rough places

without questioning.

It is kind to you because it

recognizes the way you gaze

at love: as if you expect to drown

and are giving it instructions

to collect your pieces

along the shore.

 

Tricks of Transcendence

Towards that beauty

we sail, half-mast

in dignified mourning

for the safe shore we

turned our backs on,

on freedom that comes in waves

and an innate promise that

sometimes lies about distances

and tastes like saltwater.

 

Somewhere, a part of us knew

that the days we were burning

would be the past of a life

that was coming. A time merely

to look back on, and love,

the way we understood it then,

would glimmer like beads of dew

in the wide open daylight of

what the future that arrived

revealed to us about ourselves.

That the stories we repeated,

raw and unresolved, over smoke

and expensive noise, would

later be just one of many filters

to a vision, and we would be

watching this world with

our hearts pulled in a direction

for reasons we cannot enunciate.

 

We still believe in what was

promised us back in the days

when there was no past

to lament, no stubborn mistakes

that stick to our perceptions

like paint on silk. We ask all

these illuminated questions

not because the answers

would redeem us, although

they do, but because all things

are bound to one another

and it’s how we get reminded

that we speak the language

of the universe that we are

certain is listening.

 

And towards that point

where the light gathers,

we faithfully make our way,

stumbling, the way untrained

faith sometimes stumbles,

taking it upon ourselves

to chase a bliss that someone

once told us we were worthy of,

that we would never have

believed otherwise, if it were

something we merely wanted

instead of a prophecy waiting

 

to be claimed.

 

Bequests from the Departed Light

It’s not the poems the stars write

that give the night its soul

not the light the moon

borrows from the sun

or the breath of silence

stirring between the trees

 

it’s a fragment of the blue

coaxed from the heaving tides

from passion’s forgotten oceans

and remembering having once

craved for rest when all

the city could spare

was a lonely furnished room

lit with your tamed vices

 

it’s the texture of that moment

when it came up in conversation

with a trusted friend

how best to spend the small hours

trapped between your skin

and the fire that claims

to be the estranged daughter

of the song no one else but you

could hear.

 

Bio: 

Iris Orpi is the author of the illustrated novel, The Espresso Effect (2010), and two books of collected poems, Beautiful Fever (2012) and Cognac for the Soul (2012). She was an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Contemporary American Poetry Prize given by the Chicago Poetry Press.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.