Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis



(a love song for the living dead)

My Sweet          engraveable You
depressed below the surface                                         smooth to the touch
          saddest at that
craving elision
so that an impression
by design yields                                                                       a cameo afloat
                                        you are what you are not
an image in relief                                                         composite of
          re-leaf                                         what a good tree does
reel off           one good reason            one last fish
real if
                    you're loved
                    says the velveteen rabbit

real if
                  you're ending
                              your rending                                         a remnant collage

                                        I know a Paradise when I see one, because I've seen one.
                                           The trick is now to see another till I see One again. (1)

the sunken treasure
                                                                                                    of a semi-precious life
                    vitreous                                                                excised from inside
which is to say brittleness + luster
                                                                                I've entangled with the dying
                              think tango
the big dip
(One)           per lifetime
                                                                                my drop-dead Lovely
                    prized-consolation                            kisses goodbye
the art or process of executing
                                                                                the art of losing
                                                                                just enough
printing (die-stamping & gravure)
done from                                                             (done for)

the image sunk below
                                            the surface
                              lowering the body
                                                                      (absentee voter)
formed from emptiness

                              Beauty has three possible endings and only one of them is bearable. (2)

I mean                                         cut into
which is to say                          taken from
cut it out
                                                      the five points of a body
                    star or human doll
cut from the flat felt of skyscapes
                    by this I mean
those people-shaped places in midnight
                                                  traveling twice light's speed
                    (half godspeed)

                              Captain Valentine will do everything possible to avoid turbulence. (3)

a shoebox full of hope                     & sweet minutiae
                    tucked under one arm
kindly reupholster this fabric
everafter with
                                                              more minutes
a soft landing                                    an impression
from Earth I would like
something of a garden                (she grew basil from seed for you)
                sole paradise                   served whole
won't hold us                    so hold On(e)

1: Donald Revell

2: Larry Levis

3: Anonymous flight attendant, Flight 1431 Chicago to Salt Lake City.



(a questionnaire on xeriscaping)

One put lost love & locusts
as the fill-in-the-blank response
for describe last year at this time.

For what season do you feel now?
Someone said I've had a hand up
August's blouse.
Another responder
noted the yellow jelly sun.

When asked where are you?
someone replied: canyon-steeped
like a good tea. The soft lips
of clouds at the edge of certain skies.

Another mentioned The ski lifts
of his eyes.

What season do you feel now?
Winter crickets sprung from cages.

What kind of music plays against time?
There were, as stated, crickets & hip hop
& a half-dollar's worth of wisdom
gathered on the Russian sage
of a pretty broker's lawn.

Which month is a good kiss?
June is a pretty-broker late-arriving
& itching to leave.

What color does that make you feel?
So yellow: that sunlight, a white car,
and the sense that one could drive
& drive.

What might constitute a good weather?
The rain of cheap (poetic) champagne.

If a body were a house...?
Sadly, she might slip by
the motion lights
without tripping them off.

Whose radar is this
& what does it track?
The disappointment
of sparrows, a spill of lilacs,
fallen apples turned
to wine out back.

Rest easy, the crucial questions
will go unasked: How long will the kniphophia
stay in bloom? How do the living motor around
on the fuel of the dead & where, pray tell,
might it take them? If we were really were doves
wouldn't this re-claimed desert
be some kind of complete, some very divine?



INTAGLIO was rather coincidentally or mimetically an exercise in excision and textual windows and doors, plus a little collage. I wanted the poem to recognize the more obscure but deeply-cool definition of a variety of grave as well as the sculptor and print-maker's take on that term. Death, sex, art, and print—who could ask for more? But since I'm greedy, I went for Revell, Larry Levis and Captain Valentine—and yes, that actually was the pilot's name.

AGAVE DESERTI came from an on-line poetic questionnaire, a talk with a hip hop aficionado, and a front yard in Salt Lake City, Utah (hometown of the poet) which was trying to get honest with its climate and the annual rainfall and the desert plants that should grow there.