Openings, Endings -- Stephen Sartarelli


Rot inheres in life
in culture
in cheese
(and alcohol)

in conservation

In existence
my forgetting

in passage
my oblivion

Seven centuries of angels
were not enough

sempre pi soli
meno amati
pi numerosi

How many we turned away

crystal bees their wings

the sting of elsewhere

Nature's night

the act itself

Europe's void
kein Recht

Our godless wandering
amidst the slaughter

and we said it was all
a clever lie

Rent a day some time
and see

forever to me he said
no tellin' what timber
be dryin' to a spark

en ardre ha, c'est l'art
(in our dry cellar)

charred at the body's edge
I awake

hail our universal
fatted beef

all of it
                        the new coulture

America bespattered
America ubiquitous

randy robins fleet of foot

long summer swan song

the knell, again, of an age,
chill of a blade

empty sanction

institutio ad absurdum

in your many, my death

inside or out

nobody believes what you say

homeless celestial --
ease into my irrelevance
yet to be or never --

I deal what is not

(this plethora cannot suffice)

I send you my broken St. Catherine

spotlight on the cold facade
flat moon on my dream-eye

Yell if you need to snap out of it

I love a soldier again

I am when I cannot be --
the fleshy hard surface
warm but stonelike

palm off the drift

so many children
in the wings

they have made me a sea-dwarf

they see my turning away
free of belief
library of blank pages

beshit my fecundation

make chicken of my days

farewell to native grasses
the selfless overbearing self

most everyone dies an orphan

to be of the air
shed the soil

tainted name
to unname

time teetering

a breach in the light

nothing's shudder

these few things
between the acid stones


A life given as choice
but only for that
passage through this air

medium of our doubles

Every morning light
has looked like this

(sloping as it rises)

Hunger argues
it's only a point

liquid clarifies
before burning

What habits I have doomed

Time's labyrinth in stone

new stars in the flesh

In rot is new life,
the mold, the spirit distilled

cette joie bte des exultants

killing earth to advantage

what comedies of happiness

les larmes de mon vin

ourobouros cornucopia

I am always not yet

cut flesh off the word
to eat in front of others

I renounce the violence
of mattering

cling to sleep as to life

tedium my te deum

dust shatters my silence

past virtue is crime

futility the secret god
builder of necropoles

shreds of the year thy book

We shall spare the earth
a moment's breath

let her say no

and what happiness
may be granted still

dancing on water

invisible children

what forms we may find

frames for a new picture
of the nothing

What am I to make
of this memory?

sky-splitting exercise

rift in space

the wisp

my ragged sight
the missed conception

we used to want

And you fall
as I hand you the stone

just to feel alive

as I hand you

a few more tatters
for our partial map

moments of apartness

on this precipice
I reel

distracting to know

what we allow
to come into words

there our shame and honor

still the secrets of our rule


As we may bend our time

as we are spent

so we stand

words without echo

not enough emptiness

dust our obsession

(you do only
what you can do)

institution the stone
art the weed
in the cracks

Will we relinquish the strength of argument?

the nothing
colored only by regret . . . ?

The world is already used--

Whence this aggression?

(You can always divide and subdivide.
The counting never stops.

Dissolve the thing
make light
burn the ground's black blood

planet of ash
nothing's perfection

trillion-footed earth

tongues of my centuries

this vital venom

the words close in
on the act
as ending

dissolve matter
unto death

we are made
of so little

unfortunate to grieve
so late

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