Aaron Blumenthal

Author, musician

When dark of starless night descends and I,
Thus looking o’er the edge of edgeless night,
Dream fearfully for days when soul mine lied
Of endless mornings, endless morning light,
The coming solstice cruel shall seem in th’ sun
Already fading, half-buried in the ground
And any victories in life unwon,
And odes of deeds sung ne’er I’ll hear a sound.
When cold of flowerless winter comes, then I,
Thoughts reaching ever back to sunny days,
Perchance may cross a comfort ere I die
That soft shall ease me to the store death pays:
So long as I’ve an hour or minute more,
A lifetime’s pleasure ever waits in store.

When I look out the window before going to bed
I see an endless stretch of lights and roads
That make so small my room and sleepy head
Which cannot stretch its thoughts beyond the close
Of day. Then can I drown in sky’s white tears
And reign in health yet surplus while the rose
Is read in love yet glossed when I have fears
That eye may seize me, hostage take my prose.
Such roads divulge what fellow greater could
Achieve than I who dare ask what he know:
Art! Where forgotten art though, whence goeth good?
That is the quest: shun any other—go!
I me myself I cannot find nor art,
For dark is stained the window by my heart.

The happy hour comporting sunshine rises;
Blue skies and white, clean snow impose the dark.
Golden summers are not so fair, nor cries
Of autumn-garnished lovers, little lark.
My solitary walks seem not so cold,
Nor cracked and crumbling pave a sorrowed sight;
The mirror shows my twin—he’s not so old
To fear with rousèd words the coming night.
And you, my dear, are not so beautiful
To steal soft sighs and claim mine heart’s whole while:
I’ll wait for spring and spring anew to mull
Upon some new fair favorite, new-walked mile.
My moment’s love shall next no more be true
But—now!—my darling dove, how I love you.

What comfort comes from written verse in lines
Fourteen in feet of five: what do they say?
Oft too by far I write of heart’s love-pines
And make each night a death upon the day.
The form conforms the secret sentiment,
And scheming rhyme determines word by word.
I wonder what artistic temperament
Thus drives my mind by form to be thus lured.
My sonic treasure, sonnet, life can frame
Within its ragged walls, a little world
To roam in, wand’ring blind for lustful fame.
Don’t stop! The volta’s ‘bout to be unfurled!
What, come for dreams thund’ring in words craft high?
For gleaming sheets arrived?—But, too, you’ll die.

I roam the streets of mind in search of theme
Appropriate for loveless youth removed from death;
So far unmoved to any bright, new dream
To write anew I throw to shadows breath.
Oh, echo! Guide me through the dim-lit caves 
Of art in which expected I’m to find
The sweet-lined lips revealing ‘luscent waves
Of prescient states of fortune, beauty, kind.
What lingers here when all the rose have fallen?
What Ah’s and Darling Mine’s and hopes remain?
I fear to think what Càlliòpe this calling
Quiet comes from, what hissing tide th’ refrain.
Oh, show, or let me go, archaic muse!
Your words of epic glory me ill-use.


So new the cycle ‘gins anew. I knew
In sitting next to you I self would woo
With tender thoughts to which surrender true.
Oh, beauty! Oh, soft speech the lips’ fine dew!
But let me taste thy fruitful nectar, stew
Of peach and roses, pink and red and blue.
Ten minutes hence I’ll rue the mute adieu 
Who pacing ‘mid my mind makes lone one two.
Please let me love or else escape from you:
Do move away or through the silence coo.
For few if any words I’ll quick construe
To give you clue of tax my heart’s dire due.
I speechless write, beseech thee give me view
Of thine heart lest this verse ever renew.

I had another chance and disavowed
It as my love. Oh blurrèd world, dead love!
What weariness betakes me, dizzy height
Of heart? Oh, did I ever feel? Oh, proud,
Proud pain, thou wreck my stony register,
Thou takest rubble of unsettled blood
And fearful flick’ring fire, eye of th’night,
And makest of it poison mortal proved.

Thou fickle temple, draught of black pleasure,
Thou hardened visage made a mask of mud,
Thou art the burden of my varied being!
I kneel at th’foot of mountain’s twin-peaked glory
And kiss the crumbling dirt beneath fast fleeing.
The bitter taste I bitter tell in story.

Too many times I've tried to speak to you,
And fearful fretted the lonely while away.
Two's many times more than me alone, Ms. Ch—,
Whose voice I hear but ne'er incite to say.
Think clunky my weary iambs, tired lines?
It was not me who starlight spun in eyes
Nor love besides nor by the tide to pine—
All mine can do in parody is cry.
The changing seasons move not cold hot fire
With which I long and lose myself for you
As even pleasure take to thee admire.
Shall I be bold to say thy name? Adieu!
Another waste of thought expends my while
While muted murmurs mark my mind's mort mile.

Remus's Sonnet (an exerpt from a longer poem, Remus and Grecia)
As if in pithy countenance of dream 
I saw soft-whisp'ring th' shy and muted Muse, 
Yet young in days am I who take the gleam 
In eye for that her me alone would choose. 
I dare not dream lest lose this force of favor, 
For sweet's the thought to think she to me wends:
To think towards me and sink her thoughts to savor—
How stark the difference 'tween her, me she lends 
Loft to to breed her thoughts with mine and make—
A monument of straw and silk of sea! 
I sigh to think what cost to pay, long rake 
The fields of mind I plant with seeds of thee.
O Love, who in not naming name the same, 
Thy course to think's to miss though muse to tame.

To look out the window at dawn and see the bright,
Gold boughs of sunny light drip down the bricks
Of buildings, soft silk dress the gown of night
Cast off—ah—naked for but a moment, fixed
Face nature blushing takes to look away
While I watch her dress in garb and gaze of dawn.
The warm look licks my cheek in coy, clean play
And beckons me to lie upon the lawn.
The dial stretching sun and shadow long
Against her face cries out to me to leave
My post and pilgrimage to isles of song—
What music bends the wind, what sweet reprieve?
To wake and face you, bright visage across
The pillow, kiss of rays, 'splays more I've lost.

I miss you, memory of moments mild
In the mind and made a mold for more hoped for.
Are days but template telling sons what style 
To stich or seam of self, of self adored?
What newness waits yet fallen from the blue,
Blue sky? What fortune flies on dreams of past
And what the cost of prior me's dead due?
Who is to say—that is—who is me cast
Each day in living stage of face and bone?
Where but behind me follows form of me,
A cast of flesh and figure figur'd alone?
Who—even among my selves—can this list see?
Is it love? I do not know but then again
If did, which me would so—the be or been?

It is a parlor trick—come pick a word—
Yes—any word, and then another, and 
I'll make a sonnet like a florist, heard
Bouquet of roses for the ear by hand
Assorted and consorted to comport
The themes buds do—romance and dance and dates
And plates of silver lit by candle, court
Created by the stems and beams and fate
Of couplets ringing like glass at sting of knife
And rings that make of one and two man, wife.
The language longs to rhyme and wrap 'round life,
So let her! misty morning to dire strife.
Are you appeased? It's easy thus to please
For one's the same as all—thus comes stale ease.

I woke at half past sleep to find a dawn
Inviting too by far to leave to dream.
The cold of the morning is a kiss upon
My ears as I walk to the cafe, cloudless cream
The spilling-over sky and sight of clear
And cocoa'd cup and bun of sugar swirls.
My tired morning writing's different dear
From tired nights' expungèd fears and furls
Of short, bitter hours. Four sweet from now
I'll see the manuscripts of Keats, the bloom
And flourish of his verdant mind. But how
Bitter it all seems posed against the rum'
And nation'd love I nurse for You, my queen
Of early mornings I'd much rather seen.

On finding that my cursive is like Keats',
The contoured K's and T's and curving H's,
I feel a schoolboy's crush to think my feats
In slant are mirrored of that bright, clear, sage.
Were that you still alive to school and guide
My trembling lines and loppèd loops of lead.
O lead me Keats, let all my puns aside,
That I may probe the seagreen heart instead
Of swelling foams of the Earth and tender tide.
Upon that shore I wish to stand and stare
Out o'er the ages, find you at my side
And hold your hand, ours being twin'ed pair.
Oh John, thou braver of the cold, dark cease,
My pittant script of thee I pray give peace.

What form betrays the lie? Sharp words make for
A poor knife. Softs and lavish loves and long-
ing breaks against the waves of laughter. Sing,
Burnt fuse where once found fire, a thresh or thorn
Against set heart! Flayed flesh of singèd mirth
Plays ribbons round the glowing globe strung taut
Like fire. Soft, fleeting love like stars upon
The Earth sweet lavished to admire. All thought,
Shorn by the pluming rock conspires to relish
The lush, worn hour. Drape custom's gown to hang:
She needs it not nor more i' th' absent, precious
Power's night. O dreamèd dawn, thou sun
Rise in reverse. But, kiss me to the quick,
Sweet softs and lavish loves, lest ling'ring stick.
This is the way further down the hall.
The sound of strings burnishes the while
And like a revelry extends the wall
And makes castles of the simple style.
Lift, thou glass, the hand that bears you loft
And Sing, round crystal mouth, the rotes of youth
Whose eyes, written to their hands' veins, waft
White lines and stones of time past heart and tooth.
Be wary of the shards upon the ground; 
They catch darkness in there rivulets 
And socket blood; red, frozen pools or pond
Or proud, light speech of the toppled privilege,
Vacant, vacant vacancy of the vacuous
Heart in bold blossom. Think that scene auspicious?

I used to think I loved you, back when spring
Was spring and candy was sweet and time was fresh.
The trick to prose is iambs and the thing
About poetry is, it can't sound too good or mesh
Too well or rhyme or any of that glass
Cup diamond shit. If you're rich you have bad taste
And if you're white you have bad manners—pass
Me a bottle, Mr. Jones, and tell me waste
Is just god's way of giving the water cooler
Something to listen to. Kiss me; make
My lips look occupied and livid, lewd,
Alive, because once you stop talking you stop being fake
And once you stop being fake you're dead and when
You're dead then spring can be spring and fresh again.

I want to write a sonnet. Staring at
The blank page, I see my own absence of words.
My fingers poised above the keys—now that
Sounds too cliché to say in a poem, too
Absurds walk into a bar and knock
Goes the weasel. Whose there? Mine? Orange
Is the color of things dying beautifully. Lock
Me into that rate, quick, before the interest
Gives up on that summered loan. I hear your rest
Are doing well—two kids like little cattle—
Always growing and Oing their mouths to the breast
To try to kiss death or at least taste her breath. Adults
Know better but for them, or maybe I
Should say for us, it's two lattes, then we die.
Give me a sliver of the countryside
And kiss my cheek, thou warm, wild winding breeze,
And tender me a honey-burnt sunrise:
Then there you'll find my passing life with these.
But oh, if you could speak to me in iambs
And clatter hooves against the cobblestones
And brush a leaf's tip through the down of dryads,
I'd take your granite eyes and knobbled bones
And build a bower by the field of lilies 
To marry you beneath, and say the vows
Of old and aging futures but unseen
But for their shady likeness in the boughs.
I break to breathe thine incensed, brambled verse
Where professed love is like to be a hearse.

If I had known that I am at that stage
Where I should shy and hide my work away,
I'd never make a mark upon the page
Without the full consent of that child clay
Of which I'm made which molds my soulward sway.
If I could grow to follow old and sage
Advice without eliding mine own splayed
Wisdom of huddled thoughts I'd never wage
Prose raised and posed as war with ward of rose
To blunt the bitter, wayward braise of trust.
If ever I can go amidst the rows
Of greatness filed by rank and filled with dust,
And drink those words and leave with all my thirst,
Then I'll look back and laugh at all this verse.