The Lost Country

Fall 2014 • Vol. 3, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)

The Elements

By Douglas Penick

This work was published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.


To wake from a dream
Where hundreds of friends
Read aloud in concert
A new and unknown poem
Of which remains:

“The condition of work is always for us
“To endure the threat to the body’s frame.”

II. Point suddenly appearing

4 a.m.
Above the street that shines in rain,
Rusts in the tawny glare of the sodium lights–

And the rain blown in sharp gusts
By the fine aromatic breeze of rising spring,
Blown then in waves articulate on the glass

Such that

The water strikes on the pane silently,
Adheres dot-wise, slides forming shoots
Of golden light diagonal.

And within each shoot gilded by the tawdry light
Each atom-drop breathes like a cell–
Not substance,
Of no duration,
Continual unrest.

And it is so ………… Dazzling

That further, on the rank street, shinier
With clear white light from their yellow bodies,
Taxis in a row
Disgorge and fetch the haunted wraithlike
Who pursue …………… something.

Give my love to you.

III. Point moving

Thus rise the senses to the invitation
Who themselves are subtle,
Weightless, shining like a jewel,
Leaving no residue at death.

IV. Point seeming to expand

Here the lover
In his cotton bathrobe,
Smoking the illicit cigarette,
A small face to make out in this window
Above the street, above the streetlights even.

Those in hot pursuit below would not see,
But the cigarette smoke rises so pleasantly past
The face and out into the rainy night.
And the ember pulses- burn and rest.

How could this not be the dreamy face
Of love itself
Of endless caress.

The elements are energized.

Sudden sheets of fleeting light impelled
As sashes whipped on rushing rain.

The sodium orange light,
Looked at here straight on,
Burns like a martian sun,
A finger hole of brilliant light
Seen through a tear in a black shade:
Bright beyond the previous reality.

V. Point seeming to remain

A delight of a sad kind,
Composed of so many blisses:
Intoxicant unfolding
Of the endless, sinuous and purposeless song:
Unlimited variety, balance, adjustment–
As bit by bit
The atoms of all embrace. And vanish
Carrying the lover off.

VI. Point dissipating

An excess that will not stop
As now he lies in the semi-dark.
The iron basso grinding wheeze
Of foraging garbage trucks
And the treble clinking crunch and tenor crash
As hundreds of glass bottles are consumed
And beast thus fed so roaring on.

This and darkness now becoming pale
Silence briefly,
Before the varied hiss of orderly flow,
When the lover sleeps
And the workers return.