Derek JG Williams

Marginalia

as though time accelerates

even as the days slow

 

another layer beneath this layer

of action

 

 

          *

 

 

flecks of green paint

fall to the rough pine floor

 

Saskia on the balcony smoking

annotating something

 

her dark pen scours

sheets of paper

 

for something true

 

she wants me to scrape away

civility too

 

 

          *

 

 

I might bray

 

bite at the air

that heaves

& harries me

 

I breathe

 

anger—intransitive

 

a verb

to stutter

insubstantiative

 

man

who angers easily

 

first example

in the dictionary

 

which tells you plenty

about men

 

 

          *

 

 

of substance—

 

twice

in twenty years

I’ve thrown a chair

through an empty room

 

at nothing at no one

& found the breakage

satisfying

 

who doesn’t want to see

an image

from the mind

 

let fly

 

 

          *

 

 

the mother tells her son

to breathe

when he cries out

 

for now

 

she is the director

of his anger

which is loss or fear

 

he stops crying

 

& wraps his arms

around her waist

 

 

          *

 

 

from the edges of the wall

I paint toward its center

 

the frame vanishes

 

there’s no time to rush

paint drying

 

each brushstroke

 

before I apply the next coat

over an inscription

 

our names & the date

temporary truths

 

 

          *

 

 

the chimes turn

in the wind

 

never still

there’s never peace

 

 

          *

 

 

after sweeping

the fallen paint chips

 

I replace

a burned out lightbulb

 

 

          *

 

 

I light a cigarette & sit

outside

 

the breeze in my ear

 

the chimes like a clock

tell the hour

 

folding it

into the next

 

 

    *

 

 

my beloved cuts lemongrass

onions garlic & ginger

 

earlier she handed me

a single hair from her head

 

I draped it

across my shoulders

 

it was gone

by the time I remembered

the gesture

 

 

          *

 

 

we change what we see

& are changed

 

when I flip the switch

 

the hall

where I work

is almost too bright

 

 

          *

 

 

we eat a simple soup

 

& I pray

to our better gods

 

whatever voice

is there

 

subsists on bread

& water

 

insists on little more

Williams_Headshot - Derek JG Williams.jpeg

 

 

Derek JG Williams is an American poet and essayist. He is the author of Poetry Is a Disease, forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press. He holds a doctorate in English and Creative Writing from Ohio University, and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. His poems and prose are published or forthcoming in Pleiades, DIAGRAM, Best New Poets, Plume Poetry 9, and on Boston's MBTA trains as a part of the city's Poetry on the T program. He lives in Germany with his wife and dog. Learn more about him at derekjgwilliams.com.

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