Download e-book for iPad: Ashes Are Bone and Dust by Jill Battson

By Jill Battson

Jill Battson, whose first booklet of poems, 'Hard Candy', shook the poetry institution by means of its well-starched neck, is again with a moment breathtaking number of lyric and elegiac poems. those are poems that aren't afraid to call actual humans and genuine locations, poems that experience the relationships that make our lives, after all, worthy residing. The booklet maps the way in which via grief and restoration. The poems -- sensual, stressful and probing -- rfile Battson's mom and dad' dying and the aftermath that loss leaves at the back of. in addition they tackle the method of restoration, pulling seriously at the trip for discovery either tangible and emotional. Battson's poems are uncooked and lovely, tricky and flowing, intensely evocative and imbued with the language and imagery of intercourse.

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The fine bone particles tinkling over each other. A fine dust rising out the of the bucket coating the nearby surfaces in the kitchen. The dust rises up in a lazy heavy way. Suspended for moments before blooming and falling content. I have the desire, as I have since their deaths, to put something in my mouth. Something their hands have touched. Licking surfaces. Mouthing surfaces. Or choking down these ashes. But I am a coward. This mixing is not a rush job. With every pour and mix I must wait minutes until they settle down.

42- Voices from Beyond II Northbound train clanking and howling past me on the subway platform at Davisville its undertow suck rattling my morning newspaper I can hear the tinny swosh beat from a boy's headphones then from somewhere near the waiting room my father calls my name. 43 What happened after the photograph was taken In the photograph my father is in love with me the bridge of his large nose rubs the smooth skin of my baby forehead his eyes fixed on my mine a crinkling of humour hatches there the moment before a full smile he is wearing a thinly striped shirt underneath a ribbed sweater -I remember the smell of his sweaters, wood, wool, father In the photograph I have the same ear shape as him but it'll be years before I grow into the chin, the jaw the way his long face flattens across the cheekbone his foreshortened top lip and large bottom lip -kissable, like a saxophonist's, my mother said I love that face in a narcissistic reflection it's the late '50s, his hair is short, sideburns long my baby fluff showing red even in the black and white photograph —he carried a lock of it in his wallet until I was in my twenties The photograph ends below our chins, my mother, instead of hacking off heads framed low so there is much space above us makes the picture surreal and crooked an isolated feel of summer in England him and me in the world in the photograph waves break on an almost deserted beach a spit or pier lolls out into the sea on the horizon -44- a lady behind a windbreak attempts a tan a tap bound to a wooden post grows out of my father's left shoulder The photograph sits on my desk and reminds me of loss nobody can tell me where it was taken what time of day or year who was there, what they spoke of I expect my sister was in the background with her thirteen-year-old pout there was probably a striped windbreak some wooden deckchairs a Primus stove brewing up tea, a child's spade and bucket my father probably held me in his lap I expect he stroked my cheek encouraged me to grasp his finger in my fist wondered at this tiny miracle in his non-verbal way what happened after the photograph was taken was this: thirty-seven years later he was dead.

59- Bronzing with Michael for AMA It's a gold crazy kind of love we have standing beside you this frigid January afternoon hands stuffed in the pockets of our tweed coats looking like Paris 1934, the buried retro-ness of you in the misty winter afternoon twilight of the barn interior sharp smell of fire, the heated kiss, water on hot metal hiss there is a lightness inside me when I think of you like long-parted lovers we hold each other by the arm walking like conspirators against the ordinary Three men tamping down sand in oil drums containment for molten metal arms semaphore arc as biceps ripple down thin metal pole in each hand breath frozen on the ciir, shifting crystalline cloud raw the way manual labour is I follow your gaze along the lines of their bodies resting on noses that are large and defined European ancestry shows in each face Six short plaster columns enclose a bounty baked for days standing stones in a brick kiln enclosure awaiting their centuries the sculpted wax has melted within the cast a rose impression, the leaves and thorns while the moon rises and falls, three times -60- There is suspension in the air a shallow breath excitement we huddle in our coats, brush away the white plaster dust silicone that stands on the point of each wool thread a dewdrop for the invisible packed blue snow nuggets outside the open barn door the crucible of molten bronze burning green in the pit Six drums and their precious inhabitants wait cradled in the mounds of sand the crucible inching its way on ceiling-high metal runners through soft, chilled air pours into each plaster cast a ribboned shot of boiling metal orange liquid sun plummets down and then bubbling shoots out in a tangerine globule and introverts slowly blackens like cooling amber viscous, then opaque it is a compelling desire to place one's finger in the shiny sun into your soul the torture of cauterizing a tongue with hot metal And then the artist his pickaxe thudding into the supine column rakes over the plaster, still radiating heat to pick out the chicken-wire frame inside, the bronze born, still singing, still malleable, and black folds itself out, clinging to its conception of wax each rose stem hosed down in the snow hissing of water, steam dragging ragged into the air the evolution of sculpture -61 We take our leave of the bronzing barn light fingertips as you brush the thin white powder from me my cheek, my hair this gold crazy love spinning out from us reddening winter sky, smell of metal and heated bodies this laughing inside to hysteria calmness of blood surging through bodies we kiss each other on the cheeks like Parisians and drive away for another month.

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