C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

The Cozy-Keeper; After Nemerov; 3:00 AM

By: Julie Benesh

The Cozy-Keeper

stains the burnished twilight fuschia,

settling catlike on the warming lap

pressing fascia to bone, and bone to fascia,

brings gravitas to rest and rest to gravitas.

The cozy-keeper brews the warm elixir;

tea lights twinkle; unassuming

jewel tones spark festive feel, sans

frenetic force. Flows fragrant frankincense

as pulse and thoughts slow and strengthen,

brighten shadows, deepen depth.

The cozy-keeper rules the shifting shoulder

seasons: sweater weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving,

pumpkin spice! Presides on every rainy Sunday; that empty

space between the Solstice and New Year.

When moods are liminal, she is here.

The cozy-keeper spurs melodic memoirs: reveries,

dreams, reflections merge, diffuse—erasing

all temptation toward regret:

all now is to absorb, absolve, digest.

Her props: 1) tapestry 2) mirror, 3) mantle, 4) hearth,

5) lamplight, and 6) the cartoon clock whose whipping

hands now slow to stopping, until

O, miracle of cozy-keeping!

we, now timeless,

cease our fear

of dark and death.

After `Thomas Lux’s “The Joy-Bringer”

After Nemerov

St. Howard would float down Lindell,

sink on Skinker, inches above the ground;

beaming dreamy, feeling groovy, like a mirror

blessing our youthful union. We called

him Uncle: it was all about us.

Write what you know. That should leave

you with a lot of free time.

We didn't know anything but the warm give

of our bodies; their sweet, swelling

scent. I tried to write poems

not knowing

A lot happens by accident in poetry

that journal they made fun

of, the one that took everyone

would not take me, so cursed

was I by joy.

I have a plot, but not much happens.

We didn't know

those years were but

a short break

from heartbreak.

Not the end.

I sometimes talk about the making

of a poem within the poem:

A bird's nest of dreams, detritus fused

with snot, tears; all that assorted effluvia.

It's not much, is it? But

I love all my children even the squat,

ugly ones

sacred enough for me now, the knowing, broken

Auntie beaming blessings of her own.

3:00 AM

Woke mid-poem: cool, clammy; dry mouth,

full bladder; burritoed in bedding,

thinking: constraint in art is called

form; holds substance together,

a working within. Whereas

growing up with an alcoholic

is a workaround: a dream

shanty incubating a future

that jumps genre. And

work is a body: ingesting, pulsing, pumping.

An open system evolving new-ish output every day: