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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life

Four Poems
by Michael Tod Edgerton ||
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A Note From Underground

    I tell you solemnly that I have wanted to make an insect of myself many times.

How the blood hunts down the heart wants
only to pool like the twilight over the green blade of day.

How the wind rustles the whispers.
The whispering blades do they say something to you?
Do you recognize the sounds they make? Let me tell you

how they prick only your flesh and ignore your wish.
Take only the lavish tongue and forsake its hush.
How the slash of blue remains
closed to you, its saltstorm of clouds their insatiable thirst.
By all accounts, you may think it a cruel world. Let me tell you

how the wanderlust of mountains
bites into the clouds for a covetous taste,
how the ambering hills pale
beneath the sun's incessantly smiling face.

Everywhere else ever greening.
Ever keening. Let me tell you.

The whispers the whispers the whispers are buzzing
too loudly or too softly in your ear? In your hair, now they
harry your lips, your liver, they're in your liver, don't you know.
They burn.

Try not to panic.
Don't dare scream.

Just whisper.
They're delicate.


My Name Is Rose Is R

What are you whispering
What? name--

Seeking sensation shivers

You a mist showering

faint sweet scent
Dried roses, sweet sweaty brow

A twittering mist musters, up flexes, into a semblance
Assemblage of syntaxing, another, sentencing another outstretched

Taking up a string of propositions, rehearses rehearse
The form or elation of syntagmata which
Might gel if knotted solidifies fluent
gesture undulations inflects

The line the whispering about little redheads cocked
Catch tale of it-do-all the gossip
Chattering each other up indecently
Excluding you from their ranks their rank

Subject these brittle bones these

Shadow of their form or self--What are you whispering?

Your wanting shout cannot

Find the words.

But roses are only roses only
You tell you try yourself.

Yes, but they're smirking there's something.
The man he sent them curiously absent

From the scene? Set to understated design.
Heads bent all around look
All contorted all distraught or are they
Simply mock-contorted?

Bent on looks bent giddy bent at see.

Just A Wink Or Two, Twinkle Toes
I miss you already hello you      roll away cold to claim      
sole your aim your own side      pulling      the sheep the sleep up over you and me      
short-sheeted nude.

Me misses yours never     more kisses yours slappy play
     full chide O dreadful child!
pushing my limits
the push that delimits     my skin
     pushing back      your holding

cuffs scruffling my flesh ruffling     folding it
          pocketful of starry sighs     
wherein you lie you try oh-so to

trouble me double me make me a     promising little might
     a pouncing maybe joy tonight

but aim right you must your fairy dust your lusty gaze     and straight through the haze
          of the tight strung light.


I wanted you to be real to reel.

It got me I did my wish.


It got me I knew it not      not long enough to prove it      not along the bank of you
long enough to move it no     rooting toil no      nesting in to test the soil against
my split harried theory of you     boy of your existence.

So allow me to I do I try     this moment momentum this     luxury suite of you     
tease the seize of you     silly little sneeze of you in two
my size into my breathless blue prize      wising up and coming true through.


you reeled you did you peeled away
the day you did straight into the fray      a tryst a twist and right into Ray.


I missed you from the beginning     the winning first toss at last      lost of you     
somewhere in the fold      of me and we at sea squared and everybody pared     
somewhere in the cold     cooking up looking to get some      lime light a little
white lie a little      silk grown time or some     plain old shut-eye.

Figure and Landscape
chill through a window stared down from across the room

the room opening into a mirror on the other side
in which you sit on a sofa beneath the window

into which you stare stained ice blue at sky

second skin no first

second skin no first cause
no primary color only original sin

only expulsion and the trembling figs

only winter no spring all naked limbs
only the slow accumulation of something like dust

something not unlike lust a thin coat of flesh only ice

it will not melt it just might break

you want it to melt you don't know how to swim
you want it to melt you can't look at it long enough

invertebrate desire over the stillness to fall through

can't see the ice for the nakedness don't look too hard
can't see the flesh for the cold it might just break

look long look hard look look

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