REM Stage 6: A Poetry Blog || julie niklas

07/03/2012, 10:36 AM
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Apartment walls closed over like a lily.
The fragrant stamen needing to be dusted like a fan blade.

Flowers like this cannot be painted.
In the morning it opens white light over the sleeper sofa.
Needing to be dusted like a photo frame.

Translucent and full of narrow hallways.
Outside there is a city of thick stems.
It would be too easy to emerge.
Too easy to pull the petals away one by one.

The endtables taste like pollen and sea salt.
Strongholds of dew and grass rooting it to the floor below.

Something when it blooms.
Small comforts in messes of luggage on the carpet.
A coffee pot gasping in the yellow center.

Self-Portrait in Purple
04/26/2012, 9:14 PM
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it’s true about the spoons—
being pulled from the womb
by them, for one, and also
their consistency in providing
methods for delivery,
silvery and suddenly black
and closed-around.
implying lips in the simplest
sense of the utensil,
later a measurement for tea
and steep times, for years.

in patches of lavender
the drowsy scent carried through
pale dusks whose dawns
equaled them and we moved
between states of motion and rest
like the laws were suggestions
and fed ourselves with our hands.

by autumn the burning bushes
taught the singe of daylight
to bare shoulders, and instilled
fear of things with tough skins.
we always preferred plums,
whose sunsets could be
punctured, gouged out.

These Days
02/12/2012, 6:05 PM
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Morning movement,
the unmeeting of eyelids—
that is all heavy now
like mouthscent of yew berries
and deep brews of mercury
chew slowly, miss.

After breakfast vertebrae
topple over one another
like a jacob’s ladder
and it all gets strung up
on sensory input.

I am the sound of zinnias
and root rot and the taste
of a car crash: each muscle
remains in its own sleep
and feels like metal
upon waking.

hammering a chenille blanket to the wall in the middle of the night
12/23/2011, 10:06 PM
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terrible things happened
between your fingers in my dreams:
it seemed I saw you twisting
cotton from its seeds


constructed the chenille
cotton twist fabric hem sew pull
the cataclysm of collected
parts becoming wholes

woke and took steel to iron to wood
sleep to skull to infinite
opening of eyes and metal noise
seeping into every stitch

stretched like boatsail to empty
wall where nothing was the same
nails rained to hardwood
stuck between the grains

it kept falling from its frame
never figured these fibers
would mimic softest physics
crocheted squares spread wider


sugar-sugar repulsion shook your
look here hook and sinker
and blinked not believing
you were leaving me in the lake

said stay silken cinderblock
mockingbird foot in mouth
mammoth mirror image
miss mothers and surfaces

toes cold staccato silted
sold secret congruencies
of sink and swim and stolen
hands for treading water

blackout and backtracked
nighttime highways
bleary sunday boulevards
searching riverbanks


drowned in water well
dream deep as solid mud
down and out of light
felt for the bucket and tugged


woke up to cricked neck
moon and hammer in elbow crook
snuck eyes around circumference
numbers of the clock you took

between my fingers
hold thoughts like snails
or nails meant to hold you
either way maintain trails

remember you rolling
fringe between your fingers
flaking from the threads
only crumbles ever lingered

11/20/2011, 8:40 PM
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The street curls downward like an eyelash, or the tendril of a blackberry vine who has remembered the humidity. This is perceived—I am not allowed to draw these sorts of parallels.

Katie asks for more soap to stretch over her hands, which now reek of chlorophyll. This is heard and smelled.
There has been no mention of a bubble wand. This is forgotten.

She is a keeper of junebugs. This is known.
Their pastel shells (sunbleached hematite) drift like a thousand blown jewels of zirconia from a dandelion. This is a mirage. I have never seen this before.
It’s the second summer day she has shaken them from her hair. This is also known—it is pattern.

Heat blooms into membranes of dishsoap. This is seen.
They are filled with something more than air, enclosed by colors that are more than light tricks. This is what we would like to believe.

The Kinetics of Fishman Returning to Earth
10/20/2011, 10:47 PM
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And he seemed confused
that the sea was so far away
and immense stretches of sand
the kinds of volumes that
can’t be counted in handfuls

sprawled between him and the water

when years later
after spurting from the waves
like a bloated flying fish
he awoke in an unmown pasture
with nothing but green
and a senseless portrait of the sky
chigger-bitten and the only
still thing in tall grass.

07/28/2011, 6:20 PM
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We are sitting with our heads against windows
rumbling in the storm letting the electricity
happen and happen
and the rain is slanting down like the laughter of gods
who have passed all 99 bottles of saltwater from the wall
around the room
and are drunk with static charges between their fingers
stretched as long and wavering and brilliant as auroras
which we turn our eyes upward to
stretching corneas to sky grasping
for reasons that blessings or miracles
could be so obvious.

Night, why don’t you ever sleep?
(Why are you so vain?)
Why don’t you shatter your million mirrors
and let Wordsworth and the other dead romantics
reflect upon you and not feel so lonely?

Romanticism—as you approach it like a busy street corner
is sterile and the window poets these days
get off on things like vacancies and slant rhyme
brewing their coffee weak and filling it with
hazelnut syrup
so it is less like they are drinking coffee
and more like they are waiting for the lightning to pass.

So today we are not poets
because there is still something romantic about rain
gray sky electric momentous light
and we still treasure the cadence and chaos of language
and we can put ourselves aside
to enjoy thunder while it stumbles
over our houses in its bleary ten AM drowse
clinging to the curtains of night until its head can stop
gyroscoping on our windowsills
like the hundreds of fruit flies
that have met the same fate.

07/03/2011, 6:30 PM
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The sky is still blue                          (barely)
like the space
between the paint and the road,
which I have always imagined
ethereal and directional—
circuited like the veins in my father’s arms
and the immense pressure of blood
I could always hear but not touch
and only imagine was there
as I leaned my head
against the banister-gap of his elbow
(fathers are staircases with endless rails)
taking the warmth of his maple skin
as proof of his life.

In the sunset his forehead
shines coppery pink
and the sky is still blue                          (but burning, and only
rumored blue)
like the bottom of a flame engulfing
molten silver, and everything
above the sun
is streaked lettuce green.
He is no longer crisp enough
to wear pleated pants,
or tuck his shirt in around the house,

but he is still the color of daylight
in his eyes,
which I know means
I am his daughter
since mine are hazel and swamp
and that is how landscapes came to be.

The sky is grayest indigo                          (and only around the halos
of the stars)
which is the color of I love you.
Tall at night like a citronella candle,
I can lean my head on his shoulder,
which is soft.

Pale, scintillating moonstone.

06/14/2011, 6:15 PM
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They are more of a testament to the clock
than a race against it,
which is attributed to the duality
of the word hands in this case.
Here, your scrawl, there, the tick,
and somewhere hidden in your chambers,
is whatever caused them.

What we would imagine to be your signature—
a sort of trademark like a sunset
or your certain brand of brainwave
is found falling off the bottom of a page
dated back to April of last year,
never torn from its binding,
never addressed or destined to ride
in the front seat of a dingy mail truck
like the letters the rest of us have written.

This way, left unstamped and
sewn into a composition notebook,
they have the solidity and weight of memory
like a gravestone,
and you walk away holding the chisel
you pried out of your own hands.

Hands According to Sunlight
06/12/2011, 5:56 AM
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She does not capture one
of the twenty seven bones
as she reenacts our shadow puppets
against the ironwood floors
at this time of morning, her bird’s eye
angle is no x-ray, no stranger to ambiguity
but the shapes she makes
on walls and granite counters and painted cabinets
are the same shapes that have
picked up apples from street corner vendors
and been able to discern them from the carrots and the pears.

They are shapes that have folded cotton shirts
and held other shapes like them
even though in shadow there is no evidence of touch or containment,
but there is a thing we believe in
called illusion
which cannot be felt—only witnessed
and doubted.

She can make our hands into snakes or cars
or summer watermelons, she takes away the things
that have made them hands,
removes the railings and catches so there is
nothing familiar to grasp,
no musculature, nothing to define them.

The sun misses the moons on our fingernails
and she cannot see how many times they have been in orbit
or that she is making realities unreal.

Given light like this
through kitchen windows and stained glass,
we would rather rely
on the incompetence of shapes
than the uncertainty of our own skin in darkness.