by Jen Coleman ((Header art by the incredibly talented photographer Mario Kroes.))
Jen Coleman’s poetry sings of the many gifts of our “wide, round, blue imagination” as we all coexist on this “massive space-time curving object,” reminding us that the capacity of our hearts is just as massive. Her poems are music cued to the thrum of the beauty that’s everywhere and in everything; in her work we are renewed and rewarded with “more life force, more infinite universe.”
I know now where my darkest chambers are.
As if I held myself in my own arms,
I breathe with silent flow, turn seismic air
and return it with a tremor that ruins
every wail into joy. I have no words
at this limit. My chest, tongue, and throat work
to craft survival out of suck and wheeze.
More life force, more infinite universe.
Listen close: the whisper crossing my teeth
has tones beyond the tones that will remind
you of lovers you never had, the kind
of love played without fret. Or don’t listen:
There are other things to say about love—
about music as a way of breathing.
You were a broad shouldered boundless boy born
on this massive space-time curving object,
in this universe where more baby worlds
are expected. You arrived with center
gyroscope spinning, reaching through space with
a light touch, stretching between galaxies
to the far stars in the mega-cosm
mining emptiness for wonder, sluicing
the vast invisible and catching gold
flecks in your wide, round, blue imagination.
When you were young I worried you would fall;
how close you came to the edges of things.
You worried only to fall behind, or
asleep, so sure of your spinning center.
Jen Coleman of Portland, Oregon is a member of the Spare Room reading series collective. Her book Psalms for Dogs and Sorcerers (Trembling Pillow Press) was selected by Dara Wier for the 2013 Bob Kaufman Book Prize.