Jeffrey Yang and Melissa McGill

BOMB Magazine - - CONTENTS - Jeffrey Yang

I. Ceil­ing turned to sky

Time to time­less­ness

Fur­ther from the cen­ter to the outer sta­tions, along dark­en­ing tracks along op­pos­ing banks

Through the fjord the sound, river iced over

Night val­ley empti­ness, sea­wa­ter tide, shored

Against wreck­age, for a new form to live by

Runs the line, out, on and ahead, reach­ing to­ward, into

Now held by the light of the end, here

Of what was and to come, past the storm-cloud moun­tain

City of bro­ken glass, cir­cle of boul­ders, light­ning-rod field

Scholar-rock mem­ory, float­ing gate in the mid­dle sea: ea­gle-shadow, tower break

Wa­ter, frozen frag­ments, crack­ing sheet, si­lence of life be­neath

Wind swirls the snow­grains, echoes raised in the breath, the pause

Fad­ing moon at the last-quar­ter, wild grass not dead but asleep

Steady iamb of freight cars from the other side, break­ing free

Is­land apart, be­tween, neg­a­tive halo hov­er­ing

Mo­ment, of the ra­di­ant spheres, burn­ing as­terisks


Dark­ness goes to dawn as the lights fade and the lines ap­pear, form­less shad­ows be­gin­ning to shape the na­ture of sur­round­ings.

Poles set hor­i­zon­tally across the merid­ian would make it ap­pear to be a con­struc­tion site, or a cage, from a dis­tance, rec­og­niz­able screen.

But with space be­tween the lines the ev­i­dence of what was ex­tant merges into the clouds of the mind as dif­fer­ent sig­nals or signs.

Morn­ing’s or­di­nary still­ness: lis­ten­ing for the horses of-the-Frisians lap­ping the waves, hear­ing the crosstalk of au­tumn birds.

The flute of the or­chards bright­en­ing blue, the way white­caps play against a barge drift­ing slowly to­ward the re­mem­bered city.

Time re­v­erses in the golden light, the reds and yel­lows blur the frame into a post­card signed “Love, M. M.”

Ev­ery­thing was made to mat­ter—out of spirit. Sev­en­teen echo­ing a hid­den sig­nif­i­cance when mea­sured against the pro­por­tions of the col­laps­ing struc­ture.

Even now, fol­low­ing this track of in­flu­ence and ar­riv­ing on the lit­tle is­land, over­grown, wild with green plants and trees, plas­tic chairs, rub­ble, beer cans, new me­tal re­in­force­ments against a history of nat­u­ral de­struc­tion.

Above the grot­toes and cis­terns the ver­ti­cal screams.

Set in a for­mer room by the for­mer stairs spi­ral­ing to­pog­ra­phy into air. How sight fol­lows the real, hol­low be­comes hub, cave an in­ner ex­al­ta­tion.

Noble deer, swimming to­ward the is­land in the sum­mer rain, when light­ning was a god’s fury, hid­den gods, of for­est and cur­rent, tawhid one­ness in unity, what hoped for fi­delity, in the ab­sence, along the bone-scat­tered shore, hart’s ribcage, red-winged trill.

Vines cling to the mor­tar bind­ing the crum­bling brick wall.

River-moat pro­vided safety and pro­tec­tion to the castle ar­se­nal, built with ce­ment and junk seal­ing brick, cannonball or­na­ments, ropepat­terned jut­tings, fag­got burner atop cor­belled cylin­ders, cap­stan and sally ports, ram­parts to pi­lasters, finial buoys on but­tresses, steps to wee bay, Gatling guns on sun-porches, now portcullis empti­ness, pow­dered mem­ory of a flint econ­omy host­ing new wars.

Picturing facts: ex­posed ju­niper berries, voices of hik­ers de­scend­ing, wa­ter cel­ery sway­ing in the shal­lows, in­ert stones, the painted lines blend­ing into translu­cent spheres, ges­tur­ing be­fore that, be­fore that…

Their points of in­ter­re­la­tion can­not man­i­fest them­selves but in the ar­ti­fact that swells and glows.


Stand­ing on a plat­form Last look­ing­light dims throughto first­the dusk light

At the holi fire-yel­low dust­ing the bare branches like corn pollen

Sprin­kled in curv­ing rows and spi­rals of a hid­den truth

The pass­ing names, imag­ined lines, what ex­ists as a re­newed sense of place

Night, day, night rhythm of ar­chi­tec­tonic pro­jec­tion

Dark­ness slowly deep­en­ing with fil­a­ments ig­nit­ing, one by one

Trans­lat­ing the sun, each lu­mi­nous body fill­ing the space within it

One pause, then another, lis­ten­ing to a bee­hive of light switch on

See­ing the is­land as if from the other side of a ce­les­tial mir­ror

As if these same words were al­ready writ­ten but with dif­fer­ent mean­ings

On a slope shadow of a cy­press ris­ing out of noth­ing­ness into the open

Against the dis­tant lights of the houses, each point at rest lo­cates its fullest in­ten­sity

Un­aware at the time this was an em­blem of hap­pi­ness

Moths cir­cling the glass, na­ture dis­solves the mind

How con­quest be­comes de­cay, dis­rupt­ing the perime­ter

Of the con­stel­la­tion: line and light, fig­ure and void

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