The Cleave Poetry Webzine [ISSN: 1758-9223]

Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Kelly’

The Moviegoer by Dennis Kelly

In submission on September 20, 2009 at 10:44 pm

“There is a clock that never strikes.
There is a cathedral that goes down
and a lake that goes up.”
—Arthur Rimbaud, “Childhood,”

Once upon a time—I was a boy
Dead in the rosebushes—all summer
I had black eyes—and a yellow mop
Without parents—or a royal court

I was insolent—running along
Azure and verdure beaches—full of
Shipless waves—Greek, Slav, Celt
Shades in the balcony—of the Bijou

Actresses—gorgeous giantesses
Ida Lupino—up on the silver screen
Pilgrimages to—that other Land
Where princesses—were tyrannical

Sultanas—Hollywood queen bees
Strolling in the aisles—jewels glowing
In the dark—red velvet curtains in
The little theaters—like the Granada

Without boredom—those verdigris hours
Who needed a western sky—for sunsets?
With all the moviegoers—buried upright
In the balconies—overgrown with images

The curtains going up—fabulous elegance
Reels turning—sluice gates opening
The magic beasts—eternity of hot tears
The smell of popcorn—it made me blush

But now I am—the troubled scholar
Sitting in this dark armchair—brooding
Branches and rain—beating themselves
At the windows—of my quiet library

Even with Blue Ray—giant Flatscreens
I am just a pedestrian—dwarfed now in
Melancholy silence—abandoned child
On the jetty—left behind by high seas

(First published here).

The New Tree by Dennis Kelly

In submission on August 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

“I was planning a novel

in which two different

species on another world

needed to communicate,

one by light and image,

the other by sound & word”


they cleaved me—back again

I don’t know how—but they did it

one into two—then two into one

the two that was—too much for me

the two that was one—troubling me

a unique collaboration—doubling me

the denouement of one world—dying

this exsanguination—of another world

all that was not me—my own doing undone

this strange doubling—this unique

collaboration of light & image—joining

sound and words—heads & tails

pairs of I Ching coins—yin yang

tossed in the air—thrown on a rug

split down the middle—joined as one

a pair of trigrams—magic hexagram

t’ai / peace—my laughing bellybutton

rubbing buddha’s belly—making a wish

for me it was—the new me

goodbye to all that—that wasn’t me

there in bed—new jonah and lazarus


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The Healing Tree by Dennis Kelly

In submission on August 14, 2009 at 10:27 pm

“The concept was already

within me, it was inevitable”


they cleaved the tree—inside me

the murmuring of death—that was me

and I dreamed—of another world

it was my doppelganger—double trouble

and when I woke up—I wasn’t me

I was lost in—the house of pain

a mansion with—many dark rooms

many dark rooms—waiting for the other

teaching me—what I surely didn’t know

nor did I want to know—the hell inside

cut bones, split muscles—bloody nerves

it was all a big mistake—I said to myself

wishing I’d never—made the choice

it sounded so simple—just a valve job

a mere tune-up—and you’ll be brand new

but it wasn’t that easy—pain-killers don’t

kill the pain—pain had its own plans for me

and for a week—pain pinned me down

like an Indian swami—to a bed of nails

I screamed silently—beneath a moon

a thousand nights—Maria Ouspenskya werewolves

no longer a man—more a wounded animal

and they saved my life—for another day

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Carbon River Valley by Dennis Kelly

In submission on August 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm

The way the light—slants downward
Northward over—the mountain range
The escarpments—the forested ridges
A winter light—low over the river

Mostly we were there—during summers
Parking the car—on the road leading into
The rainforest—on the northern side of
Mt. Rainier—covered with fir and cedars

Ten years ago—we hiked across ancient
Riverbeds of smooth—rounded boulders
And white-bleached stones—and rocks
To get to Chenuis Falls—on the other side

Standing in the middle—between the two
Sides of a long swath of—glacial debris
Looking up at the ancient—granite towers
From down below—terminal moraine awe

One could hear the river—the mountains
Communing—with each other like Forces
In the I Ching—caught up in hexagramic
Flow of huge spaces—both old and new

Pausing for a cold beer—in the shadow of
Some giant boulder—leaning back and
Looking up at it all—our time together
So brief and fine—like a snapshot

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Tree Dream by Dennis Kelly

In submission on May 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Tree Dream

—for Phuoc-Tan, Diana, Jennifer & Laurie

last night—i dreamed of yggdrasil
the world tree—over on the coast
there I was—in the hoh river rain forest
by a secluded cabin—deep in the woode
i was standing—on this open porch
there with this tree—a huge thick tree
it was a douglas fir—a sky-high tree
it had crevices—with cleaves going up
thru its dark bark—heavy primitive veins
the giant douglas fir look—the world tree
unlike tall cedars—its skin corrugated
and around this fir—flying birds
crows eagles—woodpeckers seagulls
all of them feasting—engorging themselves
in the crevices and—in the old bark cleaves
I looked closer—what were they eating
thousands of slithering—singing cicadas
cicadas crawling—inching their way
up the sides—up the giant douglas fir tree
flocks of hungry birds—thousands of them
feasting themselves—all the singing bugs
the whole forest—full of wings & loudness
singing cicadas—almost deafening
and there i was—in the middle of it
the tree—the birds, the cicadas…
so that’s how—yggdrasil is me
I said to myself—slowly waking up

(First here).

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Mt. Fuji / Mt. Rainier by Dennis Kelly

In submission on March 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Mt. Fuji / Mt. Rainier
in the evening—darkness sunsets
untouched by—freeway headlights
a seagull flies—flying upward
aspiration for heights—clouds tailing
across the face—Mt. Fuji / Rainier


(Tanka-cleave, first published at tanka-cleaving).
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Mt. Rainier by Dennis Kelly

In submission on March 13, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Mt. Rainier

“when I compose poetry

I compose only for myself”

—Nakamura Kasatao


I’m obscure—insignificant

my cleaves—immature

my expression—inadequate

the falling rain—how far

away—Rainier is receding


(Tanka-cleave, first published at tanka-cleaving).

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Gamelan Music by Dennis Kelly

In submission on February 23, 2009 at 11:04 pm

—for Phuoc-Tan & Diana

“I write for myself—

and strangers”

—Gertrude Stein


i write for myself—and strangers

but mostly—for myself

i wouldn’t be writing—this way tho

if it weren’t—for strangers

especially a stranger—who said

there’s somebody—i want you to meet

so i write now—for two strangers

and myself—i write for her

even tho—we don’t talk anymore

i write for him—we talk a lot

without her—there wouldn’t be him

i write for him now—not her

funny how strangers—come & go

i write for myself—and them

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Gamelan Blue by Dennis Kelly

In submission on February 10, 2009 at 8:42 pm

“Separated by too. This

is neither a sentence nor

a paragraph. A simple

center and a continuous

design.”—Gertrude Stein,

“More Grammar Genia

Berman,” Portraits & Prayers


gertrude does—grammar portraits

turning dialog—and conversation

into paragraphs—and sentences

portraits are done—with words

alice toklas—is a season of seems

when she’s blue—may is blue

what is bluer—when she is blue

my baby loves blue—so do you


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A Thank You Cleave by Dennis Kelly

In submission on January 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

Dear Phuoc-Tan,


Well, well—thank you very much.

For posting “The Pact”—on The Cleave.

“The Pact” pretty much—says everything.

Everything I know—about The Cleave right now.

Which isn’t much—I keep it minimal.

I keep the baggage light—I let the Spice flow.


I want to let your—Cleave idea “gel” in my mind.

To give it time—to do what it wants to do.

It always seems—to surprise me.

With something Spontaneous—and NEW.

That’s what Pound said—“Make it NEW, baby.”


Making it NEW is easy—if you trust your Intuition.

It’s best in the morning—with a cup of coffee.

With a cat on my lap—and my Fujitsu tablet.

Glowing in the dark—in my bedroom womb.

With the Cleave-stream—flowing thru me.

Thru my sleepywake-up cerebellum…


I’ve made this Pact with Pound—like Pound & Whitman.

The New Sentence in my head—the New Line on the screen.

Sometimes the stylus—can’t wait to get going.

The graceful horizontal slide—of words left to right.

Cleaving it with hyphens—letting the diastic flow go free.

Then the best part—letting the Cleave speak to me…


Letting the 2 verticals—crawl up and down the page.

Like cicadas climbing—up the World Tree

Three Voices talking to me—the Spoken Word inside me.

Saving it on a memory stick—plugging it in later.

Editing the manuscript—on my Roll-top desk laptop.

Each morning—I make this Pact with the Word.

And the Word—says Cleave Me Baby!!!!!


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