New Page 1

..:: CONTENTS ::..
   Volume I, Issue II

..:: POETRY ::..

..:: PROSE ::..
..:: ART ::..
..:: REVIEWS ::..
..:: ETC ::..
   Contributor's Notes

..:: ARCHIVES ::..
   Volume I, Issue I
   Volume I, Issue II
   Volume II, Issue I
   Volume II, Issue II
   Volume III, Issue I
   Volume III, Issue II
   Volume IV, Issue I

The Bricklayer’s Arms
Charles Bernstein


The bricklayer's arms are folded
into a knot. They crest across
a soft, rumpled body. The bricklayer's
arms -- stolid and serene -- are
out of joint with the quizzical
expression on the bricklayer's
face. The bricklayer's arms are
heavy and slump into a wingback
chair or threadbare sofa or
petulant carousel or dithyrambic
telescope. The bricklayer's arms
are molten, molded, mottled, mirrored,
mired in unclaimed histories
of insufficient estimation. The
bricklayer's arms float into
suspended air; glow, from an
inner right, in cascades of
slate, beacons of broken guile.
They are patched, poked, pummeled,
pent; averse to what has been,
oblivious to what will come.
The bricklayer's arms disappear
behind a cloud, then return
soft-focus, dusk-lit, gauzy,
tipped. The bricklayer's
arms refuse to tell the secret
of the bricklayer's house.
The bricklayer's arms abjure
exposure, encapsulate the brokered
seams of a riven dream, permissible
to a few, particular to none.
The bricklayer's arms court
detachment, reflect closure.
The bricklayer's arms arm themselves
against denial, parry promise, absorb
abjection. In the torn
time between never
and however, they dissolve
into the formaldehyde
of the heart's lost longing.
The bricklayer's arms found
a moment in the quicksilver
of immaterial solids:
perception as flight against charter,
ballast, cynosure. Falling into
shadow, the bricklayer's arms,
knees, neck, mouth, scalp,
shins, stomach, eyes
blend into storm, cloud,
sand, crystal, fork, bend,
bay, sag, sigh, coast.
The bricklayer's arms are
charms of a parallel coexistence,
emblem of fused incalculability.
They lie low in
gummed silhouette, fly when
floored, sing in phrases to
the apparent drumbeat of incurious
imbrication. Solo flight marked of
bygones, tattered torrents, embers
of desuetude, the bricklayer's
arms peal a dull and somber tune.
The bricklayer's arms break
the silence of the bricklayer's
heart. The bricklayer's arms
are every bit as dense as the vague
mist that obscures the furnished
hold of the bricklayer's sight.
The bricklayer's arms
are the imperfect extension
of the bricklayer's thoughts.
No sea contains them, no
forest is as deep or sky as
boundless as the bounded
continent of the bricklayer's
arms. The bricklayer's arms
signify nothing, but never cease
to mean. Even the smallest
grain of sand tunes itself
to their contours. The bricklayer's
arms are empirical evidence of
the existence of the bricklayer's
soul. The bricklayer's arms are lost
in reverie's pale, sad, lush illusions;
snap back from the blind eye
or the quick retort to sail into
helplessness's velour paradise.
The bricklayer's arms are a figment
of the imagination of the bricklayer's
shoulders. Buoyed by incapacity,
sufficient to expectation, they are
the final destination of helpless
promises and muted aspirations.
The bricklayer's arms are blanched
in disavowal. Without preparation,
the bricklayer's arms enfold
the beached drives and mercurial
generosity the age remands.
Atlas of the forsaken mall
of final detours, harbinger
of ill-timed hums and oft-lorn
wings, the bricklayer's arms are
stamped by the artifice of token
and projection. The bricklayer's arms
cradle the soul of the lost world.


For an mp3 of the reading of The Bricklayer's Arms, please visit:

//   Advance   //