064.1: Randall Horton:: Thursday & There Lived a Family with a Daughter & The Weight of All Things & More Clearly To See 064

The most telling two lines of Randall Horton’s treatment of subject matter are, uniquely, in his poem entitled, “More Clearly To See”: "rotating helicopter blades churn splitting quite freely decomposition. but the brain will think not about narration but it is." Horton’s poetry is thus energized by a synechdochal tension of part against whole. In order, “To See More Clearly,” the composition must split quite freely into particulars. As such, this poem moves into an imagistic and syntactical accumulation, always vulnerable to deconstruction by an unexpected word or image that obliterates any preexisting “givens.” See how the word “murder” slips in between “a description of/ swallows” and “the skyline more tranquil” in lines 5-6? These disruptions are not mere red herrings, meant to throw a reader off his or her game. Instead, Horton makes a clear argument about malleability and frailty in poetic (as well as personal and collective) narrative.

In fact, all four of these poems exhibit narratives composed and disrupted by unexpected parts. “The Weight of All Things” begins, “once there were particles, atoms clung/together and glue,” then disperses into a kind of vertiginous lyrical intensity. The “vertigo state[ment]” of “Thursday” ends in a stalemate, where a speaker attempts to comprehend a world imbued with the colorful chaos of “hybrid & rainbow.” Even “There Lived a Family with Daughter”—arguably the most “straight-forward” narrative poem in this bunch—through lyrical repetition and a keen use of bait-and-switch exhibits Horton’s narrative freshness, his challenge to self and reader to see both the poem and the world anew. Cody Todd


waking to a vertigo [state]ment
      between calendar days   i yell-

.o. suppose wednesday’s imbroglio hooks
      not but for nothing else      & then

subconsciously allegorical
      one eye straggles. to the other   red i

believe hump day failed conceptually
      like monday.    & ordered promise

i have learned to be certain   is speculative.
      hypotheses no more mathematical

to cradle than lines etched in your hand.   & listen ::
      the reel/eight track or digital divide.

subtracting always already equals
      what becomes of bebop is what

i asked my-main-mane-leon. the other day
      holding up the corner—: a column liberating

his body parts. interdependent synonyms
      nothing but bone—: he said dig it  cuz’

life doesn’t have to be. a recurring sequel
      the progression in the frame’s [shudder]

hybrid & rainbow leon was   topography
      in the air. i left my last word up.

There Lived a Family with a Daughter

there is a flash flood on minnesota ave., the light
april rain drumming against the rooftop. a bedrock

of blue rattles inside the apartment. no one sleeps
here. small remnants left in the abandonment.

another thunderclap       .tonight.       where lil lulu?
a forlorn aftermath through windowpanes will not reveal

once, the bumbling dance of mortals, the bleakness
ate itself into cracked walls, o the despair, o the echo

of music still here. laughter, a family once laughed
drowning, a chorus of spirituals could not save them.

there is a flash flood on minnesota ave., the light
our father’s did not salvage nothing but an elegy

on the avenue, in broad day or night there is a shadow
hear lil lulu whistling to the johns in the alleyways.

The Weight of All Things

once there were particles, atoms clung
together & glue

there were noises from the bang

another universe begun, life
& the body formed, a shape

obtuse the head splendid. o human.
o being—

heaven often fails the galaxy
lifted from a sinner’s pocket

come now & reconsider. come now,

the body writhe—

creational myths begin in err—

inside the receptacle a door
opening to another door

biology & bees alongside birds

to earth’s rotation we build.

More Clearly To See

for Ed Roberson

one could wonder simply about nodal points—the long black camera’s lens, aerial shots & each quadrangle more linear & the green ever-so-clear. rotating helicopter blades churn splitting quite freely decomposition. but the brain will think not about narration but it is. atmospheric within conditions weathervanes point southeast but more lower. the central region crisscrossing & a shooter all focus in on the [object]. feathering away a description of swallows murder the skyline more tranquil. curving the bent trajectory between blades the shooter looks out to get more closer in. photography demands sepia through the scope but it could be a barrel. outside the grassy knoll certainly (shots fired) the view under the clip of a pine banking northeast hung inside another horizon—