you are in the diode archives spring 2010



To Be Born Like This

Better days & all that vanishes
into the flyspecked meadow. The rigged sick-bird,
the ensuing days of September
& October.

Imagine one never arrives at it
but builds rather the conurbation’s fiction
to hold:

the sun in the naked flora,
cows in the giggling dim-grass, time
in the open leaves.


Drunk again, night engraves in me:
I’ll make myself until I reach the very core.

Dark becomes October
& a murder of crows in the leaning spires.

In the heat-lamp warmth I sit in the torn & padded booths
of Alice’s Wonderland Café,

& sip autumn from the murky pool
of a coffee mug.

I become preoccupied
with the nakedness among peoples’ lives.


Thus far the strangeness is a blind acquaintance
with the winter writhing

—a bloody moon over Camp Grayling,
a lover’s moon over Island Park,

a small town moon over Millbrook
& Blanchard Mill.


Again, night engraves in me:
I’ll make myself until I reach the very core.

Thin sash of light,
sleet on black ash, & reduced always

to the to & fro. Dark
tires stamping down frozen tarps

to stacks of hay near the Interstate.

What I raised I raised there in the imaginary
a would-be man, handsome body

no longer whittled
to a few sad shapes of chaffed bone.


Better days now & all that blossoms
in the flyspecked meadow.

A calf-littered moon

over Mission Creek, an antediluvian moon
over Saginaw Bay.

But how mal-lit & bawling the calligraphied dawn
remains in the ruptured bird chatter.


Body, Echo, Afterbeing (2002)

Everything is already & the horizon’s melody is a dull hum on the dew-spiced lake. Each note of light echoes as it enters, reduced to the cracked moon’s taxed patience.

It’s simple this feeling of nakedness. The periphery is lonesome & I’m left with my shadow’s body half-body sawhorse. In the dogwood & Interstate’s debris August thunders.

So much for the florets of summer, for the sunlight forever going. What pleasure is it, Love, to collect daylight along the grassed fire roads? What pleasure is it to mouth the liquored syllables meant always to steady a man’s failure? 



John Chávez is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and holds an MFA from New Mexico State University. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Conduit, Xantippe, Portland Review, Puerto del Sol, The Laurel Review, Alice Blue, Copper Nickel, and The Notre Dame Review. His chapbook Heterotopia was published by Noemi Press in 2004, and a co-authored chapbook, I, NE: Iterations of the Junco, is currently available from Small Fires Press. In June 2009, he was the Letras Latinas fellow in poetry at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minnesota.