Tag Archives: The Wire Fence Holding Back the World

“Stillness” by Martin Willits

How do we still the stillness,
making it less than a soft whisper of sleep?
One more day no one can take problems anymore,
and look at how badly it turned out
as the sun sighed, going out
behind the black-purple night sky background.

How can we make it any more quiet
than when the sun is a red flood
disappearing under the weight of the setting
and the pushing down of night?

The large orange harvest moon
sits on the horizon
like it was a hard wooden park bench.
It is so close we can see the pockmarks
from eons of smashing asteroids,
and we do not know what to say —

how do we get more silence, less
talking, less accidental noises
than that? Less than an oar
not moving in water, not dripping
when lifted, not tipping into the row boat
as it is tied onto a pier, and not
the soundlessness of the wooden dock —
how do we get less noise than that?

Even the moth flaming after touching fire
makes a subtle noise. Or the cat, padding
on a thick rug, clawing and sharpening its nails,
arching before circling into sleep,
makes a curious noise, one that troubles
the quiet. No matter how softly we proceed,
noise follows us, makes sure we know it’s there.

Martin Willitts Jr has 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017) plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2018).

 

 

 

 

“Releasing the Dark Landscape” by Martin Willitts Jr

The last sunlight falls behind the vanishing trees,
where it hesitates before leaving completely.
Some decisions are measured by regret.
Some of us, when we find ourselves old, notice this.

Out on the prairie, someone tries to hold the land
together with barbed wire stapled to aging wood posts.
however I am the kind of person who brings cutters
and snip each sharp wire, and let the fields open.

I am the kind who encourages yellow-throated meadowlarks.
When cut, the dark will be released; the air will be set free.
Doors on distanced houses ripple like muscles after working.
Some wonder why I do this, question idleness as the cause,

suggest I had nothing better to do. I am the kind laws
are made to discourage people like me from acting impulsively.
I cannot obey, and sharpen the blades like a raptor’s talons.
I am the kind that knows outcrops sweeten with silence.

I go to the wire to test it. It glints in moonlight and speaks.
It knows the quiet patterns of flight, the tactical for listening.
I should have brought the cutter, it slender purpose of justice,
the rusting wind caught on it should be freed. I touch barehanded.

It slices like eyes. It whispers, be careful. The fields, spare me.
Yearning and ceasing are shadows lengthening, in stillness,
in the final ambient light, then, the meadowlark stopped —
only the robin’s sleepy-time sound is in this field, and it is held here.

I experience the necessary absence. I also lose blood to its danger.
They say actions speak for you and what you stand for.
I have been listening to the suffering. Something had to be done.
When I cut, the earth flies away, like wings or leaves or regret.
___

Martin Willitts Jr. has 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016). His forthcoming include “Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed” (FutureCycle Press); “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Press); and the winner of the Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Turtle Island Press).