Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 1



Harry Edgar Palacio


Awake

Lazarus longingly cares for his own foreign forget; his past life
The afterthought of death looming like weaving cursive.
Dilating bulbs climbing the perspiring catacombs.
A sleep that was handed down by a pandemic and Masons, a sallow fever-like complexion
A half gold helix of natural order moving through the finite nature of a terrestrial body.
Lazarus rising, his hand still clasping the carpenter’s calloused but perfect fingers as though sent Down from a celestial place.
Breath enters and finds him, fills his lungs with damp air.
Dusk meets those searching for what else but god, cerulean sleep without face or memory of being.
Its cool reminder of earth and dust lingering like heady saplings wavering in the wind drunk on the winds




O’ Progeny

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24

She clipped it from the branch its incarnadine hue like the sunsetting on those auspicious days we seldom see. The phone rang then silence then rang again waiting to hear a voice from afar. Strung together like pearls sent adrift by girls newly ending adolescence the euphony of angel song latched from hip to hip to unnamed peopling. The soft speaker gathering distance a space between an impenetrable fortress of earth like the national debt rising to unreachable precipices. A dial winding down counterclockwise where we read history like birds migrating to their summer homes. I have thought of loss as a way to gain access to a society; a race: those forlorn hands, their canine teeth facing the sun, aquatic movements in the bath of wolf-dreams, their sanguine touch in perilous questioning, ramparts tressed in Sanskrit glyphs, oblations to nomadic gods. There is a foyer where a mirror hangs like a reminder that we are who we say we are as we enter the white building composing ourselves before the stairs. The question remains am I the body that keeps changing year after year like the continual pruning of leaves falling from a Red Maple. We are the earth as volcanic women teach their alphabet tongues a language of kiss and sometimes tell, to the lucky ones. A quotidian task of gratitude for mothers keeps us young. Our feral spines become entwined in silken longitudes. Lips like tiny hours aware of urgency those terrestrial habits changing certain fate. Working the pubis of earth with your hands. There was the near-death alarm or howl that illuminated the halls of purgatory. Its lime-green lights off then on was the picture of falling without end. Nude pink lips of yesterday spoke a sort of bird warble they mentioned laconic bodies moving in dance or film, a coming-of-age narrative where we find ourselves. Sensations of touch somehow become invisible mausoleums where we travel with death, a train track to commune with childhood: a reminder of suicide, those palpable details although you escaped most of all that, you sleep with the lights on not just night lights unless you have a “guest.” I roll my “r’s” waiting for the digital kiss of lips to suspend unaccounted for moments. The row of teeth on my tongue work out a course for shadowing words. Discreetly I mime a phonemic library between my lips: Coño que bella. A sulfur light buzzing on and off. Bearing minuscule children of daylight. What was said was washed ashore to the endless chasms of rivers and lagoons where perched seagulls feast waiting for their daily bread. As I often do. When we look into the ghost twilight and moon kissed necks there are absent moments of silence filled with pale cigarette smoke. Adam without descendants in a motion sickness of years swaddling a figment of clay and god’s breath.




Brevity

Having a finite amount of time on this planet
Bobbing a thread through a needle’s eye
Mrs. Night waiting for the sedentary accounts of stars postulating death
Brevity can be a peck on the lips, a dirge for one’s father
A sunbathing girl’s kiss that followed you through the thighs of trains and pubis of secret gardens: the meaning of life sequestered in sea-green tide pools summoning us from our impatient brooding; like restive planets scrawling notations of travel
A spitting out of phosphorescent carnelian budding from the jaws of volcanos: eyes disrupting silence, a slow tangible reach into where the Canaanites took shelter
A chariot where god shook the heavens and earth, rattling in euphony;
Cages of clay and ichor
Mr. Sun sleepwalks past portraits of his past life
A clock motions to you, “over here.”
You follow, your hair whiteness, body an arc of skin, you quickly turn away
Everything back as it was
What do you do?
A fate far worse than prior knowledge of events; changing nothing
One might say is egress to forgotten cities without name or being




PDA like the Half-life of a Plum

I have been left grappling with the kissing and shoulder meetings/ those uncomfortable pitfalls where strangers visit each other’s cheeks and fig like lips/ Public display of affection an acronym// PDA// a resonance like flirtatious buzzing that germinates within the solemn walls of fingers// in churches// where they come en masse an opacity of spirit/ In conversation with the past like a continuum of incarnations where we have convinced ourselves that the pithy gestating sienna hands over mulatto skin is a celestial place for making soft incises into amrita/ the nature of emptiness it’s aquatic membranes were unexamined like a dream of gods where we fashion our livelihood/ a coupling of breath and senses satiated perhaps by prayer/ absent like stifling pulpy pecks/ to rise and erupt from a pew/ watchful of the uninhibited collapsing over a tiny Latina woman with a wonder that leaves the fumes of a burning kettle it’s twangy pangs as though someone had removed its stopper; a siren of attraction/ I sit and watch the strands of hair swallowing nude skin like a witness to the indecipherable minutiae between the bruise of unseen lips// pulpy, thin fingers// I wait calmly until I can talk to you again/ a brusque nod to a far off point in time when you were still here and I could hear you say sort of facetiously that you were proud of me/ in the mass during the day of the dead with the intention to remember you I find myself wondering what strange motif has circulated amongst the hour while the past and what has become of the present arises/ The jade neon brings strangers home an unaccounted for plus one and allows us to nominate most likely to run away from history at our past life reunion.




Airport/ In Transit

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

As in the descent to the Turkish airport/ a diorama of cigarette butts in a ventilated room/ moon music/ real isolation with friends, coffee, and dark-chocolate/ Turkish currency to bring home/ no re-enter clause: I just want to see the moon buildings, the craters of edifices perched like protracted wombs/ the Phoenician sunset/ the dialogue of women and men, the strange custodians of culture and dialects as I ask the unfathomable questions of time: who are we?/ Tourists walking frenetically through airports/ a loading shipyard to Tibet or Beijing?/ maybe the sky falls a bit/ dregs of light like new skin/ slightly overhangs beige silhouettes/ 6-7 arms 8-9 legs formless head(s) like the lord Vishnu himself here in Istanbul/ surreal like the nude traces of travel: a bedroom with a dutiful clock, sienna hands touching and/or not touching yours/ off white pigment ergo skin/ comes like vertigo a tempest leaving the white, fuchsia glow of stars like pulpy sky fire/ something about this nonplussed conversation feels like there is only a tiny exit area left and an amniotic fluid-sac-to feed and breathe into until we make peace with eternity




Childlike

for Jackie

Resin seeping into a bay of earthen sleep at the center of words a knuckled fist, a ball of kiss. Timing rhythmic eyes, tensing like seismic craters. A coma that took place in the terminally afraid places of rainfall, a place that followed us, a family over lifetimes. A television watches your last conversation with me, those final words and a firm hug searching for your future life at college that never happened. They say you were going to be a Pediatrician, your shaved head, convulsions wondering when things can be the same as before. You died the same year as my dad, and I am left wondering what that means. I think of chance meetings governing life, its bird odyssey committing to strange words. We are here peering down into the sitting area of god’s throne room mingling with his favorite angels and somehow, I see you borrowing a book or two as you were wont to do here on earth in this house and I watch your smile and wait for the words of god to say take another my child.



Harry Edgar Palacio: "I have been published in Hudson Valley Moca, Tule Review, Apiary, Storm Cellar, Quail Bell, Chronogram, Artist Catalogue and elsewhere. I have a Chapbook called Ambrosia published by Finishing Line Press. I have a full length book Sutras of Tiny Jazz due to be released by Finishing Line Press 2020. I have a Masters in Education from Manhattanville College. I worked as an assistant director of a social justice center. I was an art teacher in the Dominican Republic. My parents are immigrants, my mother is from the Dominican Republic and my father is Colombian. I have performed his poetry at Embark Gallery, Peekskill Open Studios, One Billion Rising, and Eneregy Movement Center Studio."




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