To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Billie Chernicoff: A Marian Alphabet

[Hers is the extraordinary opening poem in Homage to the Alphabet, an on-line gathering published by Metambesen & featuring poems using the letters of our or any other alphabet in sequential order.  Initiated by master poet Robert Kelly, other contributors include Lila Dunlap, Mikhail Horowitz, Charlotte Mandell, Joel Newberger, Tamas Panitz, Charles Stein, Peter Lamborn Wilson, & Maggie Louisa Zavgren.]

A, as any
girl can tell you,
seed grenade,
Apple of Granada.
What has she
to do with Apollo,
our Eva, a seed
on her tongue.

B, her belly,
bees in the marigolds,
be it done to me.
Holds every element
in her house.

Christ is only an open mind.

Dea, open
the Delta,
estuarine, uterine.

her trident
or vulva,
a mermaid
combing her hair.
Etruscan, Eritrean,
lightning in her hair,
her lyre.

Not far, never far.

Grail glyph. Grotto. Glade.
Girl bent over the book in her lap.

Hi, Helios!
I greet, I praise
& receive him, I do.

O Jew,
how you jaw,
you mouth harp,
jujube, apple
that ripens
into a date,
and lasts forever.

K, an angel
holding a Lily.
Mirabili dictu,
just like That.

M, the center
of woman, the
Om of her
the image
a word
come down
in her, pressing
her open,
& more,
Mem, la mer,
her waters
break & nothing
is as before.

N, a tent,
three sticks, a fire.
She leans on a tree
to labor.

O in itself
an ode
to Our Lady.

A page of cups,
a newsy fish
how you go on,
my darling.

a begetting
from a jar,
U, a jar
with nothing,
Q the sound of
blowing soft
across the mouth of U.

R, rapture,
head on fire.
her roving heart,
her mirth.

Swan, her symbol,
an order of solitude.
I am alone so well
in her presence,
the well of her silence.

Runic T,
the restless
truth, agrees
to be here
among the trees.

Undo, unknot
unravel. Unfasten
unto me.

Open your eyes
on the verge of Paradise.
Virgin girl-guide,
mediatrix. The Way,
if you can bear her blaze.

Welcome dreams
of wolves in winter,
let us draw near
to her blue fire together.

X, ineluctable
of love, my God,
if only a kiss
were enough.

I don’t know why,
Yeshua, I feel
scared & ashamed
of this, us,
myself, I raise
my arms & cry out.
Not why.

Z, I zigzag,
resurrect Isis
take refuge
in zero, O,
measureless Lady,
virgin plenum
where it begins.

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