Ace Boggess

( Huntington, West Virginia )

Abuse Cycle
On Cheryl Dodds’ photo sequence, Eye Music: a Fairy Tale Blues

I. (in the pitch of citrus)
I am your god of the granite fist; you,
Our Lady of Trembling on Bended Knee.

II. (vocalese in pinks and flesh)
Be the womb where my fire kindles.
Be the mouth that bleeds.

III. (pesante in greens and browns)
In this light you are still beautiful, love—
the light of a moon through soft-hued drapes.

IV. (deep violet attacca)
Your body consumes my body;
my word consumes your word.

V. (crimson circle of fifths)
You crawl through a universe at night.
I am with you, steady like Orion’s belt.

VI. (apassionato in shades of fire)
Not only contempt burns us; our bodies
are a cigarette’s tip at the long inhale.

VII. (yellow feroce with red-orange chiuso)
The color of blood is more vivid at night,
a paradox for you who cannot see.

VIII. (moromoroso in pastel horizon)
When you view your mother’s grave at dawn,
do you think of it as your own, or do you wish. . . ?

IX. (unrequited monody: tints of magenta)
You swallow the pain, the memories, fear.
I hold your lips to that goblet so you drink.

X. (crystalline syncopation: a solo)
I press you down. I caress your neck. Love,
I am the knife’s two sides: the smooth, the sharp.

XI. (verismo? verismo? verismo.)
Would that I might never leave you broken,
a forgotten toy beneath a child’s bed.

XII. (in the key of a stray violin)
Again from her grave your mother returns to you.
She haunts you in your DNA, decisions that you make.

XIII. (onyx interlude)
Oh, love, you forgive as I forgive.
Our tenderness is like the word ‘serenity.’

XIV. (red linen monotone)
Perhaps you will stand on your own someday.
Today, on your own you must crawl.

XV. (eleven variations on a theme)
How many times I have done this: I am Midas
whose touch turned all to broken bone.

XVI. (dissonance in gray and black)
Damned spots again— again I will not see
the red, Jovian eyes staring up at me.

XVII. (burnt sienna)
This is the cage you have chosen, love.
I would offer you the key, but would you take it?

XVIII. (pale blue lamentoso with violet counterpoint)
Do I find you in prayer for comfort, peace?
Or is this me worshiping boulders of my hands?

XIX. (metallic resonance)
Alone, you are like a lost ant, burdened,
carrying a crumb of bread to nowhere.

XX. (vuota in orange and yellow)
Wake up, love. Sunrise through a window has made
your breasts like candle flames to light the morning.

XXI. (chorus in red-violet)
I can be gentle, a gentle man, gentle
as you know, love, in your memories.

XXII. (sounds, slurs and shrieks in ebony sax)
I am gentle like a wolverine asleep,
gentle like a lion making love.

XXIII. (dance in variance of whimper)
You will sleep now to forget the words
my hands have spoken to your voiceless mouth.

XXIV. (lake red motif with muted overtones)
Whole, you are a woman, love.
Today, you are like the idea of a woman.

XXV. (splattering blue etouffez)
While you sleep, if you dream, it is the dream of a gnat
who cannot see what silky web cradles her in its bed.

XXVI. (rock-solid homophony)
My dust brushed from your sleeve— if at last you stand
to leave, I say nothing that is the equal of “Goodbye.”

Cheryl Dodds - Eye Music

I - Persephone in the Field
II - Debris of Dreams
III - Are You Listening?
IV - Monologues for an Apocalypse

Marty McConnell - girl on the tracks
Julie Bonaduce - The Company Of
Gary Whitehead - Tableaux
Alan Catlin - in the pitch of citrus

Spring Supplement 2002 Issue
Winter 2002 Issue