from The Pied Machine


The eye’s never-ending question
of what is
form colors the coming sense

so autumn comes
a tale of ice
a lake hanging in the sky

The infant continues
to begin.

We speak the syllable
of two bodies
in their talk

within the habits of night air.


The phrase forms
four seasons.

Not as in
as if the self

skips. The low X
defines a landscape,

seeks sound
in grim parlance
of the western night.

This should be
tragedy’s pin-idleness.


Clocks rose below
the private poles of colonies
changing text,

clouds, the nameless corners
of a room,
windows sweeping the wind.

A subtler proof:
mockingbirds rolled their r’s.

Absent grappling of eyes,
of form
traverse shade.


The sea hued a gilt machine
in light diffusing.

Clouds of water, gongs
in darkened heaven,

the pied machine of ocean
made rainy leaves
blue. Frail figures

like blooms
became the sun.

The sea, bowing,
followed clouds.

Wind turning
then the sea.


Turned the rock of sleep:
the difficult tumbles

of the sailor’s eel
against this earth,

these caverns half-asleep,
and an undivided fire.


The rind of X:
the sun a jar
of ash. Ephemeras

swarm like the particular
jumble, how the bottle
has a hundred eyes

and yesterday’s tropic
of complications totals more
than planes that tilt the eye.


A cabin, a custom,
or an aging cloud.

The house is frost
and falls asleep.

Father leaps
from cloudless evening
and the choir.

Mother among children
clawing scenes and curtains:

a theatre of waves and solemn birds.

An arctic to imagine
through our leaving

a chilled chance dark,
a book on ether, an accordion,
a honeycomb.

This rendezvous of limbs
putting on their shadow’s

truest part. A ball,
a bar, a blaze of summer.

Jason Stumpf (© 2009)