Joshua Kryah

Holy Ghost People


My voice
	   obscured, its illogic
     of language—

              "then it happened
	     that my tongue became caught,
                  and immediately I knew

					        nothing, I knew nothing
				        at all"—

          Unvoiced, unsaid,  

                    this absence, what allows for
        your gathering inside me—

			 	    	     "I couldn't remember the words
                            for anything at all"—			   

     O one, O none, O no one.


Made of shadow, made
	of shade, your mouth

                            my mouth, your words,
                what psalm from me—

			 	                       "and the Lord may be telling me 
                            to speak in tongues, whether I am alone 

                                                                            or with others"—

  In the market, walking
          down the road, wherever it may be—	
			     	 "it doesn't matter"—

    			        		 	     I have not beginning 
 			     		    with your voice, no end. 

     		Host and parasite—

				              say it, say it—

How else should we live?


Unintelligible weight,
     your millstone, 

		           my tongue now
	        so fraught—

			            "then I heard my own words,
		         but didn't understand them"—

						Overcome, over-


    						     you slide across my mouth,
     					  a shadow, a psalter.

      You drink—

	         	            before it cloy
                        before it cloud—
				                 from such an ordinary thing:
         my having nothing to say, my 
standing for no one 

                            and nothing.


Of too much was the talk, of
     too little. Of you

				and again you, 

     this fugue
                     laid upon me—"but they were not
           my words"—
		                  Gnashing, wailing,

  						   a threnody

     of men and
of angels.


Those you touch, some

	     Others, adamant, unwilling
     to move, submit 

				   to what they fear, but wait 
	           to fear what submits
				  		  to them—

					         	             you know its / written
							   and you / cant spoil it / your Kingdom
				     	           must / come / down—
                    							                 As a temple, as a tabernacle—

			                             you Kingdoms must come /


	   Whatever is hidden, all the weight
of ourselves gets lost, emptying
		     		               like water, like rivers,
			             the poured wine—

				      	                          "and the words just flowed
				                        like water"—

Broken or otherwise
            torn, the body 

			             cannot hold—"God lowers himself
		          into the person, comes into

                          Or, if it is me, what
                   I have to say.

            What I don't know
I'm saying.


	       the beloved's voice
          in my mouth, I am only a guest

		              to such thirst—
                                                        This is true rest;
                                     let the exhausted have rest. This is repose— 

                  	                                          a thousand beating
                                                hearts in my throat

                                                                        breathe and breathe and breathe.
                         And what is it I have to say?

        And who will listen?

     			            —with foreign lips and strange tongues
                       God will speak to his people—
		             	      		                        The people. 

The hungry-hearted people.


and they refused to listen.

			                  Or, over the din
			               of their own appetite

					                                   (gnashing, wailing),

	   they would not—
			              "my tongue was locked
		      in place, it was stuck"—

they could not.

Joshua Kryah's first collection of poems, Glean, was published in 2007. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, his poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, FIELD, The Iowa Review, Shenandoah, and Verse, among others. He teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
*Note: Holy Ghost People includes quotes and corruptions of the following voices: Julie Carr, Paul Celan (Pierre Joris, trans.), Aimee Semple McPherson, Gerard Manly Hopkins, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Charles Olson, and the Old and New Testament.