Michael Kelleher lives in Buffalo, NY, where he works as artistic director for JustBuffalo Literary Center and edits the artist book/poets press Elevator. His first collection of poems, To Be Sung, is due out this year from Blazevox Books. His poems and essays have appeared in Kiosk, Rampike, Queen St. Quarterly, verdure, murmur, The Transcendental Friend, Lagniappe, Ecopoetics, and other journals.






The Tower


                for Paul Celan



1

No one rose.
No, one rose rose.
No one's rose.



2

The glacial
Center
Radiates

Outward
Preserving
A few

Footprints
Frozen
In retreat.


3

Difficult
Without
Remembering

What stood here
To imagine
What part of it

This brick shard
Might
Have fallen from.


4

The Panoramic
Puts me
At the center

Of the battle.
I feel nothing
Save

The ancient
Injury done
My right hand.


5

When we
Your children hid
Our dreams

You trained
Your hands
To speak

A single silent sentence
You trained your mouth
To forget.


6

The solar death-
Coin nailed
To the mast

Blinds fate.
In a rogue state,
I bite the hand

That feeds. 
It bleeds.
So let it.


7

On a train
Theyre dreaming
Of the shadow

Of a man
In flames.
At the station

A dog
Awaits
A master.


8

The land belongs
To itself
And I to me.

Desert the ground
And take to the trees.
I proclaim myself

To be what I am.
I will bury all
My letters.


9

Does the thunder
Of elevated trains
Of thought

Make less
The more
Minute heartbreaks

Like bad coffee
Costing
Over a dollar?


10

One last
Brick splits
Me into

Tongues.
A form of
Protest lodges

In the throat
And my caught
Larynx sings.








Tarkovsky Suite


1

Where sky and tree
Pry apart

Is myth.
Outside, the air

Which carries you off to sea

Over the birches
Of my blindness.


2

Once my life
Was a giant bell

Waiting
To be rung.

I light church walls
With my icons.

They live on,
They live on.


3

On a clear
Autumn day
Along the border

The figure
Of the philosophe
On the run, caught

In an illusion
Of continuous
Movement.

A cloud
On the surface
Of the lens

Forms against
The likeness
Of a blue sky.

A horizon darkens.


4

The image persists
Of a childhood
Filled with happiness.

Dont ask why
Its always like this.
Its always like this.

The unpainted
Corners hold
The attentions.

They are states
Of crisis
To be in. Its

What
Ive forgotten
That frightens me.


5

The tree planted
Near the stream

Yields no fruit.
Bitter leaves

Litter
Water and shore.

No one gathers
These leaves.

No one gather
These leaves.


6

Across the emptied pool
I carry a flame

Back and forth, back
And forth.

In the last scene
Of the last film

We rebuild
Our home

And in the name of Art
We burn it to the ground.









A Crowning


1

Still in the world
And of it.

Not so sure, so cock
As once it wanted

Ends to come
Rush strewn bodies on.

Once I was widower
To a black widow.

How I survive
Is turned State's evidence

Sealed
Until my 21st year

On which day
All record of crimes 

To be committed
To memory.


2

Beneath the paving stones
More paving stones

To be pulled up
Built into a version.


3

One recalled
Shed had

Cancer, how
Having

The disease
Had changed

The way she wrote
About the past.

Another said
He couldn't remember

Anything,
Spent hours

Each day
Searching

For his car
In the lot.


4

In the streets
On the map

Of the mythical city
In my modernist fantasy

Elvis is forever leaving
The building.

Medusa's cut strands
Slither off

Become children who kill.
I am not a juvenile delinquent.

I am the King
Formerly known as Prince.


5

I'll fuck anything
That moves. 

But everything
Is still.

What History of Dance
To be written this day?

What Kings to be crowned?
I am the King of May.

Already it is December.
This all happened

Before the barricades
Went up

When I was the state
You are in.


6

Each cut stump grows
Into a head

Of state perhaps
A parent to all.

I am not ready
To disguise these fevers

With a smirk
To wipe off the face.


7

The world which precedes
I step into.

Alpha, Aleph, A.
Building blocks

Building buildings
To be knocked down.


8

Some one had blundered.
Or someone made a choice.

A city of whores.
A city of bold and gallant men.


9

One cannot,
In a secular world,

Say, "I am cursed."
Or, say, "I am destined." 

Today, I walk
Beyond the barricades

Into one of many
Possible histories.

No rhinestones,
No holes between the toes.