Martine Bellen


It’s high tide
And high time
For hitting the mats and rolling.

The gentle art of yielding,
The efficacious arc of hatching,

The ordinary act of awakening.


Guarda aranha, a defensive system
For offensive operations against
Insurgent air chokes and flying kicks.

Fern fronds unfurl
By the dew’s thrust,
The wind’s weight

(By the dawn’s early light).


Frog’s sticky tongue
Octopus plant’s glue

An ant or rhyme near an ear.


The butterfly guard allows for elevating sweeps
And tumbles

Thimbles of unhinged wings and lithe legs.

A shoulder segmented from biceps, a neck from chest,
A choke segmenting air from lung.

All warfare is based on deception,
Then divide and conquer.

Trapdoor spiders construct camouflaged
Tunnels along insect walkways.

Delusions are inexhaustible.

Martine Bellen ( is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently This Amazing Cage of Light: New and Selected. She is co-librettist for the opera Moon in the Mirror: (with Zhang Er and composer Stephen Dembski). Bellen has received numerous grants, including from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a residency in Bellagio, Italy from the Rockefeller Foundation.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , by Posit Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.