Friday, August 10, 2018

Circus of Trust by Mark Tardi

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Mark Tardi, one of my favorite Polish American poets, has a new book of poems.  If you've been following my blog, you'll know that this is the third time I'm featuring Mark's poems.  I wrote about him in 2012  and again in 2013 when his book Airport Music came out (click on the links here to see those pieces and poems).

He's got a new book out from the great Dalkey Archive Press called Circus of Trust (available at Amazon).  The poems are stronger and more moving than ever.

Here are a couple:


The roadsides favor promiscuity, snow
clenched to nights, hoarsely chromium,
forming a grin inside a crack. In sleep

Theyll pursue you: no bandit lapping the fence,
no slim digit hovering over the viewshed. I’m
waiting for my legs to catch up with my hand.

            Im waiting for that resigned way of Saturday.

An altered paradise, not epitome or ruminant,
a paradise born inside out, ceramic. Its a question of
polo or humanity, how technology is winning our hearts.

I know my bones and your hair, yes, how the eye
drowns in cold probability. The entire structure
must be subtracted from harms way. Folded

Among the constellations, ghost flat.

Youre right when you say the day continues
to torment me. I dont know whether to shit or go
blind, if sin were only a matter of physics.

That chalk village cut by amber nets, not an answer,
not a question. All tenses and inflections, bloodless,
buried in lead regardless of appetite.

I’m glad there are no rules, just the extent to which
we can describe what is lean or not lean. The tumult
and pulse, the interior light of things, from which

                                                Most of us would shrink.

from Attribution Error                                                                                                                    

Sometimes you have to start with a series of misunderstandings
brief stain to dark clarity
a jab, a simple burst of air
toward the invisible middle
like tripping between the pigeons and the cats
like demolished logic
because its always winter in Chicago
it’ll be dark in forty-five minutes
youre here to enjoy the contradictions
the continuous and familiar fact
like how economists have predicted seven of
the last three downturns
like trading a claw hammer for a kiss

For the oldest cinema in the world, for its secrets

whatever variable distances, itinerant longings
more guano for my artifacting


There are no harmless motives, thinking
detached from all consequence,
it was guttered and channeled and sluices
like a gnarled moccasin or
some squat ungainly bird

the ligaments could have been flypaper revolving in slow spirals

Gone are quinsy, glanders, and farcy
menstrual blood prettied with rosewater


You dont have to step on a body to carry
death on your shoes, gesticulant and aimless,
each day a relentless emptying out
the whorl expanding in itself
as if a tickle of electricity in mute chorus
as if left trembling with success

a skin of persuasion and habit, weather-worn
bound to a different set of restrictions

folding again into the murk beyond

                        between a gulf and a toilet


Mark Tardi is originally from Chicago and he earned his MFA from Brown University. His publications include the books The Circus of Trust (just out from Dalkey Archive Press), Airport music, and Euclid Shudders. He guest-edited an issue of the literary journal Aufgabe  devoted to contemporary Polish poetry and poetics and has translated poetry from the Polish by Kacper Bartczak, Miron Białoszewski, Monika Mosiewicz, and Przemysław Owczarek. A former Fulbright scholar, he lives with his family in a village in central Poland and is on faculty at the University of Łódź.

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