Paul Kesler

Paul Kesler Poems

The sky is a greater musician than I:
the rains plays pizzicato on the rooftops
with no sign of fatigue;
clouds hit every note I miss

the roots of agony
climb to the heavens;
the broken husk

Sleek needle
stabbing convivial space -
black music flows from the tossed face,

I take love lightly, but I'll vouch to thee:
A bow-legged mannequin can't interest me.

I take love lightly, but for true romance,

fleshly calyx forged in sorcery,
glows as the torpid body
sleeps on a tousled bed.

When the glassblower died, his house remained. No one bought it, for it stood in a part of town for which no one had much use. Seasons made their rounds, and his home was delivered to its former population of slaves. These creatures, mere envelopes of glass, coiled through the gathering weeds - - reflections of themselves scribbled the walls when the sun passed overhead.

Within, the sculptured 'self-portrait' of the artist glared through a window, peering from the midst of creation. A swirling stream of glass spun from its open mouth, a sort of umbilical cord that joined to a female form nearby. This, a visitor might presume, was the fused inamorata the master never had, or a replica of a wife no one had seen. Further back in the room, glass children sat, but only half-formed, their hands fondling delicate implements. Were they lounging, merely waiting for some private amusement to commence? Or were they bored with the prospect of a life that would never begin, in a limbo of vitreous stolidity?

Not all funnels hold water
or slide vertically over the landscape
with an explosion of soil and debris;
Some funnels stay where they're put

Whose web this is I think I know.
The spider’s on a pillage though;
He will not see me frozen here
Until the time seems apropos.

Hope you got a card, bud, 'cause they won't let you in without a card. Truth is, not many go there by road these days. You should have a plane. Well...

See that fork up yonder a couple hundred yards? Hook left. That turns to a dirt road - - the grass gets higher as you go, wanders like crazy. You might be OK a few miles, but it turns damn weedy after that, and then the bushes start. Right in the middle of the road, bud, and there ain't no way you can drive through. You'll have to hike it.

When a medium dies,
his spirit may float to different spheres,
animate, inanimate,
beyond his meager reckoning.

As the stock market rises and
the sweat from maquilladoras drips to the
rhythm of pounding machines,
smiling investors swill champagne,

The trick is to manipulate the articles in the room in such a way that the chair is fooled, so that instead of arriving at midnight, like it always does, it will come around mid-day, while you are away at work. Arriving, it will pry the door open in a clumsy fashion, the metabolism of its peculiar constitution damaged by the dimly-recognized, but nevertheless distorted similarity to the room in which it normally finds repose.

Just how you reconfigure these articles, of course, is not a crucial matter - whether the window curtains, for instance, are tied in such a way that they partially reveal or totally obscure the fire escape. The throw rug before the bathroom, however, might be moved to the dining hall - this will disorient the chair, and possibly, if you are lucky, cause it to break or splinter its legs. The ashtrays, for their part, might be rearranged, placing one on top of the radio (the chair will hardly expect it in such a ludicrous place) , while another might be tilted at a slight angle by the side of the kitchen sink. Meanwhile, the bedspread could be ruffled, not completely ripped aside and tossed, but snarled, mildly tweaked here and there. It's possible the chair will approach tentatively, believing you're asleep, and this is a vague risk, but it will leave abruptly when it realizes there is no one there after all, especially when the intermittent silence caused by lapses in the traffic outside brings it to sudden lucidity.

You are somewhere uncertain; in a cave, most likely. There are no windows; no sound of streetcars. Before you on a desk is a fungus in the form of a human ear.

You pick up the fungus, put the narrow end to your mouth. When you breathe into it, the entire cavern quivers and a sound leaks from the walls like the drone of a million souls.

Gambling moon
whittles the darkness,
daggering down
to the vortex of the eye.

I. The Customer

You have arrived at the diner in the middle of the night. It is closed, but the waitress, who is the only occupant, opens the door as you approach. She has the face of the usherette at the movie theater three hours earlier, who was also a dancer in the ballet you attended. You do not know her name. She’s wearing sleek dark stockings that whisper as she walks. Her black hair is styled in a bowl-cut bob with straight bangs over the eyebrows. Her skin is white; her eyes blue.

Caligari sent you, I can tell –
you have that awful musty smell;
moldering hair and listless sway,
as if you died just yesterday.

Oh, William Randolph's hearse was a pretty little thing,
When you pressed a little button you could hear the angels sing.
Sure, a dead man's hard of hearing, but what is that to you
Who can still pick up a paper and enjoy your goodies too?

There is the question of the garden, the snake,

the question of gold
and the sundial's scything shadow;

'I find the best way to gather no moss is to
examine the stones very carefully, making sure the
stream runs quickly around them.'

Take care what you disclose
in your customary pose,
for the feisty rats of rumor
and the spiders of surprise

The Best Poem Of Paul Kesler

To Trilby

The sky is a greater musician than I:
the rains plays pizzicato on the rooftops
with no sign of fatigue;
clouds hit every note I miss
on my aging piano,
and crush my seasoned flourishes
with glissandos of thunder
and chords of ragged lightning.

I have taught you the
choreography of love,
the dance steps of passion;
the sly tilt of your head
as the rolled notes flow from your throat.

But nothing flows to me,
though the poses you strike,
like the lightning's fitful flashes,
compel the night sky to respond.

How can I grant the one gift
God has not granted in life,
and may not in death:
the love that is not choreographed,
the dance not taught?

Your headache is gone, liebschen -
it lies in my heart;
but, mesmerized, you cannot feel the
slow, peaceful music of the rainsong
rolling down the windows of the sky;

your sleepwalking nights
shall never hear the wind
nor the bell drifting over
the rising hour of dawn.

Come, pretty Trilby
with the daintiest foot in France -
master the song I've never played,
the dance I've never conquered;

destroy the sterile metronome
that animates these hands,
that orchestrates my speeches
and the silence of my gaze;

take the sleep from your widened eyes
as the music ripples upward
from the dome of your throat
to the dome of the night,

the words that lie in wait
where sorrow once resided
that now resides in me,
at the night's most tremulous hour,
to the tune of an untaught sky.

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