Jesse H. McKnight


Falling through a procession of windows
In the shape of tinted statuary
Ascending in vestiges retained and
Remembered from a bullfight arena,
Each to an outside more real and fearful
Than the last to a homestead somewhere in
The pared moon night – a dim hanged bulb in a
Shed – no one around – the mystery of
Seconds passing in a sampled tableau –
Stills bleeding into stills – the seething air
Of exposure to forces in real time
Developing from postulated space –
The profound not knowing – the engulfing
Sense of moments colliding with flesh not
Yet extinguished, the sleeping mind perceives
The kinetic fact as a black and white
Photo filmed in color and taped in eight
Millimeter by the very fact of
Falling, of not knowing, not yet leaving
The flesh and that consciousness of the fact.

The unfallen self remains sitting as
Before – before the falling, before the
Consciousness of falling, before the night,
Before the mystery, before not known
Was the not knowing; yet the self as its
Own redactor of itself and all the
Warping tangents of before and after –
Here and there – spinning – continually,
Repeatedly notes the noted until –
At some arbitrary point where and when
All noted notes are collectively and
Finally noted in a posited
Artificial once and for all – that self-
Same recumbent self vanishes into
A locus as vast and non-specific
As the Milky Way. The unfallen mind
Lives behind a line, finds its nut in a
Rut and its endall behind a wall. To
Accept the wheel is to begin to feel.

Tabula Rasa

Reality (I well know how much you
Loathe and contemn this empty, meaningless,
Inadmissible, unpublishable
Word, mon lecteur, but bear with me) is a
Mirror in which the Komodo dragon
Sees everything but himself and thus
Survives. It is as well the ball cap blank
Fitting the hat hoop of first principles,
Awaiting the mad needling and torture
Which spins forward emblazoned its legend
In script-- or just autistic messages
On tees of many colors, or an old
Blackboard in a little red school house filled
With a hundred yellow scrawls of I shall
Not... or a poem (an approach to a
Poem, really, for a poem exists
Only in the forms) in which the poet
Sees through all but himself and thus survives.

Anti Meme

The poem dies a private death
Embracing the public cliché.
It is the poet's task to strain
And to sift, filter and resist,
Refrain from the fray but foray
With a scalpel, focus the blur.

Antibodies of expression
Must seek out and attack the flat,
The colorless, the flavorless,
The featureless and the formless--
The smooth, rote, numb, dumb-- and chew it
To red rags, make it stand erect.

Twenty seconds, twenty inches
Into the experiential
Finds the perceptors diverging,
Dwindling, deviating and at
Last blush losing the thread of the
Skein in the wilderness between.

The hoydens of the noumenal,
The shopworn virgins of the vast
Unknowable draw back, away
From their ardent suitor as the
Phenomenal fails, falling in
Blight before their withering gaze.

About the Author

Jesse McKnight is a closet poet and scholar with thirty publications under his empty money belt. His facade emanation runs a successful business, but at heart he is James's Strethers.

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