Norma Cole

Ongoing

Along the moraine and the Carolinian forest
maples had already begun to turn red

in those days people wrote memory
in books not sticks, singing sometimes

I live in the country, sometimes
I live in town or in a dream

like state, that’s tiger to you, a big
heat wave, many days remaining

until the end of this year, walking
the land, summer grass and spadesful

of earth, a rectangle, sun on it
just that

 


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It’s just that

peridot is

your birthstone

but your

mystical Tibetan

birthstone dating

back over

a thousand

years is

diamond

 


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αδάμας

unbreakable

diamond

cuts through

illusion, atoms

strong covalent bonding

no form

no fear

magma, eruption

compassion

 

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And on that day

from your window

the steel heart

red ratchet and pawl

a fixed arc

chained to the hoist of

the working arm

horizontal jib

on the mast

in the sky

 

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By far

the best

magnolias

seen through a

screen, so many

lasting

so long

carpels tough as nails

surviving ice ages

continental drift

 


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Saffron

rose mallow

worn behind your

left ear

changing and preserving

wrapped in tiger skin

demon slayer

holds its color

even in the hottest

summer days

 


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Sun in rips and starts

ascending ragas

for rippling,

winnowing

retting

scutching

heckling

spinning sasheen

to wrap

and swaddle

 

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Woven moonlight

pulled by hand from earth

linen from line

or Nile where

flax grew

exceedingly soft threads

irregular shapes

peculiar as tigers’ patterns

no two stripes alike

 

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Hydrangea

blooms perseverance

the teaching unfurling

a block print tiger

alert, incised

by a table

near a drum

on a carpet

revived from

the sealed cave

in Dunhuang

 

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Fine-grained, watertight

catkins, wings, heart-shaped

leaves, silver shadow

will ignite from

the smallest spark

branches rest

during the night

birch bark fragments

found at the site

 

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Did you plant

the ivory silk

lilac, its broad

panicles appearing

in early summer

its bark like

black cherry and

like the wolf willow

part of the olive

family tree?

 

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Two

white-tailed deer

a large brown

moth, a cicada

shedding its skin

the impossibility

of repetition

of one

water lily

on the Credit River

 

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Descending ostinato

in the seventh movement

glass harmonica

cues for the entrance

of a private

performance

morning ascending

catches on the figure of

a feather on an old t-shirt

a city

named for a reed

 

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Tiger runs wild

waning crescent

28% or 29% visible

not many images

illuminated crescent edge

casts long shadows

seen from earth, the moon

getting closer to the sun

can’t be directed

 


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Tumulus

barrow

kurgan

mound, bank

kneeling and arranging

tugging on your breath

hazel poles or stakes

no hill overlooking

the sea, placeholder

filled with treasure

 

Norma Cole’s “ONGOING” will appear in her new poetry collection, Fate News (Omnidawn, Fall 2018). Other books include Win These Posters, Where Shadows Will, Actualities (her collaboration with painter Marina Adams) and To Be At Music. Her translations from French include Danielle Collobert’s It Then and Jean Daive’s White Decimal. Cole lives in the sanctuary city of San Francisco.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of nine books and chapbooks, including Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her tenth book, Zoom, was awarded the Washington Prize and will be published in 2018. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, and Verse Daily.