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JAKE BERRY

 

Jake Berry is a poet, musician and visual artist. The author of Brambu Drezi, Species of Abandoned Light, Drafts of the Sorcery, and numerous other books. He has been an active member of the global arts and literary community for more than 25 years. His poems, fiction, essays, reviews and other writings have been published widely in both print and electronic mediums. In 2010, Lavender Ink released a collaborative book, Cyclones In High Northern Latitudes, with poet Jeffrey Side and drawings by Rich Curtis; and Outside Voices: An Email  Correspondence (with Jeffrey Side) was released by Otoliths also in that year.


Berry's solo musical albums include, Liminal Blue, Strange Parlors, Naked as Rain and the Animal Beneath, Shadow Resolve and many others. With Bare Knuckles he has recorded four albums, Trouble In Your House, Alabama Dust, Doppelganger Blues and Root Bound. With the ambient experimental group Ascension Brothers he has recorded numerous albums including All Souls Banquet, The Wedding Ball and Pillar of Fire (which served as soundtrack for a series of plays by Ray Bradbury) and most recently Transfigurations Blues.

Ongoing projects include book four of Brambu Drezi (which will include a video for each section - the opening sections are available now at YouTube and Vimeo.com), a collection of short poems, an online and print biography of the poet and critic Jack Foley, an album of experimental ambient music with Chris Mansel under the name Impermanence, an album of acoustic songs in collaboration with Jeff Berry and Van Eaton under the name The Cahoots, and an album of alternative rock songs in collaboration with Jeff Berry, Ben Tanner, Max and Kirk Russell.
 

 

 

 

 

Not until 2 o’clock

 

Not until the hammer falls –
      and releases the cattle
               to meat.

                               A
plea rose
           A
deep secret urgent voice
                   rose from the people
           from the heart they had learned to ignore

               a storm as silent as
                only the dead can whisper
      visited the aristocracy in their beds
                         and made its demands.

           
Their servants found them
                  where the hammer fell
                missing their eyes and pulse.

            
But not until 2 o’clock
              and the doors are open
              and the house is quiet
           
except for the servants’ nervous feet.

 

 

Eclipse : Fugue

 

(Note: Most of these lines was written immediately after watching Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse)  

 

 

Nothing moves but the world around it.

The limestone was poor quality and began to fracture.

You are going to die of a stroke.

The marksman walks with deliberate steps.

The deliberate man walks like an assassin.

The weight of the doppelganger invents machines.

 

Construction workers drive metal crosses into the floor of a concrete pit.

A flower is suddenly crushed.

Its delivery is abducted by a red-faced boy.

We are quick to leave hammers in the weather.

We are alive, but do not recognize the tension between its slow

  dissolution and its precise utility.

Afterward, a crow lights in the road waiting for the others.

 

A row of metal poles weave in the wind.

Cables clang against them.

They are white in the stark light against the groundless night pitched

  behind them by the position of the camera.

 

You are going to be awakened by thunder and follow it with rain back

  into dreaming.

They lie where they are shot without complaint.

The boxes come later, and the wheels no one lives to describe.

 

If I were patient I would read the edge where grass disappears,

   or the moss.

I would drink the drought and humidity that make it possible.

What is frail leaves its color in the shade.

We aren’t alarmed by them.

We grow bitter and wait.

Atoms would know without distance.

We would not be afraid to ask.

 

The ploughs have come again.

Beneath the rot the old men are waiting.

In the odor, in the hives, a loud red voice.

Laced in the formula there are leaves that play the formula’s demise.

What else could explain the pleasure of water?

The wires that gather nostalgia become granulations, become lice.

They promote a fever of self-deceit.

 

You are planning a rape in your father’s quarry.

Your intent leaves your house abandoned.

Every tree around it feels artificial.

Long rows of street lights that leak into the populace.

Practice these maneuvers until you believe you own your fingers.

Return to the lime pit.

 

Is it mere sensation or does creation refract?

Holes are gathering.

The shovel men are waiting.

Rain is a chance to break the pattern.

There is where a day leaves you.

In the middle of it, torn.

 

A woman is singing in the echoing metal.

Often they speak to one another by reciting advertisements.

Cold air washes into the room from panels in the wall.

The heat is unbearable.

Supply lines have been cut.

I remember the mountains.

I remember a thunderstorm before dawn.

The lightning.

The flood and wind.

 

So many hours are wasted in empty conversation that

    silence frightens us.

 

The rain again in the middle of the day.

The patios were empty and wet.

I almost fainted.

Nothing moves but the world around it.

 

He was hired to shave the corpses.

He waited all day, until sunset, so that no one would

     see him enter the morgue.

 

What is the name of the flower on your dress.

I have seen it once before.

In a photograph.

 

They were watching her from the balcony.

They stopped talking and sat motionless while their cigarettes

   burned down between their fingers.

In the room behind them the walls were covered with maps.

A long red ribbon hangs from the eaves. It attracts hummingbirds.

The sky behind it is lazuli blue.

 

We sleep on the terraces cut into the hillside to take advantage of the

    little rain we receive.

We are likely to receive nothing at all.

 

When they bind you will you sleep?

What will they discover when the lid is removed?

Can you hear what I’m saying

    or have the birds found another place to nest?

Requiem for a featherweight.

 

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic.

I don’t sound to mean.

A bulldog bound to a stake in the yard

   barks at the sun because it will not let him rest.

Yes, I am speaking, deliberately, carefully.

However, I am not an assassin.

I do not assassinate to sound or mean.

You are coughing in the bedroom.

It means that your lungs are awake.

 

They have noticed the smoke, the humidity, the lizard climbing along a

   crack in the wall.

She has found spiders there before, but there is something sullen about

   this day, this particular afternoon.

I retraced my steps.

I found her in the café, asleep with her head on the table.

I asked the waiter, “Is she sick?”

He said, “No sir, but I think she may be a little drunk.”

 

The plaster men are waiting.

I cursed the minister of Antiquities and walked up the serpentine stairs.

 

An eye, even this one, is where the world is removed.

   

 

Her Face Comes Out  

 

Her face comes out

     of the spiraling dark

   hard as porcelain

     salmon colored.

 

Her eyes are transparencies

   that bloom

       emerald and black sand.

  I eat seal liver from the

  hand she offers to the

  dead.

 

Across America garbage men

collect her ultraviolet

shadows and sew them

like teeth.

 

 

Surplus

 

1

 

Feastholds

  the ground turned

    eye pouring. ­–

 

  (Link it to)

 

     damnation

     fruition

      a solid coil of razor wire.

 

 The stove is a fist

  in your interrogations.

 

   joined by posts

      and raised.

 

 The fiddler barked

  his Palatine hymn

    and the dogs came running.

 

What if the lake depletes the sky?

No matter no ruin no vision.

 

2

 

needlefeathersX

 

resplendent.

unlike the name there,

   glowing everywhere.

 

The last thing…

opening

 

 

Jefferson In Hell

 

Come down to mama

Come down to mama

Come on down to your bone sad mama

                and drink the good Lord’s tit.

 

Cough.

            Flagellation.

Requiem.

We have seen the process heaving.

    He can’t suffer it again,

     another cold alabaster mannequin

disrobed

            & trailed in gray debris.

 

Trapped inside her petticoats

             Venus sneezes, barks and wheezes.

 

Who’d believe if she confessed

a low rebellion in Storyville.

           The fishmonger sold his grave

                             to Marie Laveau

                   who rolled the dice to thieve

                    him grace.

                    The feast of crescent

                     deadlight Ramadan –

                   16 chaingang

                     republicans bleached

                   in Plato’s toilet

                   if you can bear the newsprint stench.

 

Come down to mama

Come down to mama

Come on down to your bone sad mama

                and drink the good Lord’s tit.

 

                                             

 

 

 

 

 

copyright © Jake Berry