from Yield Architecture // Jake Syersak
from Yield Architecture
because my mind, flighty
as it was, tore
“thought torn in the shape of birds,”
I fly past security into the New York Gallery of Fine Arts, & where paintings
hang like sleepy, half-closed eyelids over waxy, reflective, reflexive floors,
walk as though belief could permeate a painting into Thomas Cole’s Course of
Empire. Dear Thomas, it’s not so implausible. If pixels are sawdust of what
sews the wooden fur of sleeping shut, I’m bound to dream these constructs.
I’m in love like you are with impermeability’s ability to archive Arcadia, to
dress its ideological empire up—in skins, skeins, history, hysteria, & dust.
Like an eye or the lashes crossing over I’m looking for its coalescence.
Thomas, I’m of a mind to speak to you / in you / through you now,
knowing the scaffolding of eyesight is the lashes, maybe just a lashing, in
hindsight. & I’m here in some regard to pull apart, like a mother-dove’s last
protective / instructive pull from a fledgling reveals “the last thing one
discovers in composing a work is what to put first” (or so says Pascal).
Because it is secretly the end. So I’ll be the beginning. Or so I’m thinking. Or
does what’s most beloved remain unflinching, like the soft punctuation of I’m
thinking built into a painting?
I know the weight I know you know the weight of. I think it’s the impress—
overhead—of sky, this sky, this the-less sky. Isn’t it nice how it weighs down
the legs of monoliths, ozymandiases—say, like sleep over eyelids’ ruination
from the ankles up? But it wells us up too. & so my second question: should
we feel lucky for how the earth so thirstily decants our mellifluity? I’ve
decided what stays unmoved is like an oyster’s soft hemorrhage tucked into
its unfelt shell. Then again, things fall without falling apart, too. Eyelashes
relax like a waterfall’s curling to, & I’m a confirmed shelter of that. But the
harder I focus, the less my eyes open on you as a reflection in water & more
like oil bullying through.
Thomas, when the sun is buttering down in droves, in doves, over Delphi-
like ruins, I grow gardens in me less afraid of my own leaps of faith. Of
blooming, I suppose the sheath of a bee’s sting is also of (& intrinsic to) their
insect. But shouldn’t that be the one cable broken loose that doesn’t sting?
The more I’m aware of the doves beside me the more I’m aware of their
awareness of. Like not knowing what to do with your hands during a photo-
op. Just look how divorced from it they are, turning air into there.
A mosquito glides by. Digs a fallen-asleep limb & out of the meaty air &
augurs it into a syringe. I imagine you smirking, Thomas, but it’s the way
we’re on the cusp, set to cue up a laugh track amidst this melodrama, that
convinces me of what might be unbeknownst to us: a very human touch. &
the moment I’m most conscious of my spine?—when shivers down the hairs
of my neck remind me of how smiles live just as long in executions as they
do in weddings. I think: a waterfall of eyelashes, slinking me not entirely spine, &
thus: I’m moot to serve as tributary to what’s concrete.
Isn’t that how you enter a violin?—when you’re aware of the oily regret that
clogs a violin’s rosewood-ridden note; or, aorta; or, the music-vacuuming
figure 8 its torso’s of. Every coming to is a leaving of, it seems. I could say,
“this violin is a mosquito,” but wouldn’t that only go so far as hogtying invis
solely enviro? I can’t hear inside my head thinking about a painting because
of how the acoustics of a room carve room, crave voice; how hollows howl:
I’m always one step behind. Thomas, this makes me want to write a book
about how I want to write a book about how this could be all our obituaries.
On the other hand, I wonder if I could reiterate: posit a violin, in place of
mosquito, as retroactively inclement z’s in the ear the same defibrillating
swollen the nothing of a room collapses into: an intro out of. Something like
hitting play on a book-on-tape of Jean-Jacques Rousseau describing a
landscape, until the stars swap out their eyes for asterisks. This could be all
our romances, Thomas. But I’m sick of using “shall I compare thee” as an
instrument. Singing silently mauve the reciprocal irritation & pleasure an itch
brings to a sore.
Thomas, this is the last I’ll write to you. I’m stepping out of this construct’s
sleeping belief now, into the clear, quiet cavity of the museum’s eye. Now is
when I love the querulous look of the museum go-ers faces as I jostle out
onto the hardwood, faces like swallowing into windows of what I love
collecting the projecting of. There’s just one question left: if I open my eyes too
wide will I collapse into my own museum? & the answer is, “the form grasped by
the eye should be confirmed by experience of the building in use.” By which
I mean, I’ve come to love those birds who’ve made, like sunlight, homes of
ruinous columns. Who’ve smashed like typeface against sliding glass
windows. Who’ve wrinkled like flames burning down to mystery. But are
those birds? We
could be those. We
could be those birds. We
could be those are
Jake Syersak received his MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently a PhD student in English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yield Architecture (forthcoming, Burnside Books 2018) and several chapbooks. His poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Colorado Review, Verse Daily, Omniverse, and elsewhere. He edits Cloud Rodeo, co-edits Radioactive Cloud, serve as a contributing editor for Letter Machine Editions, and co-curates the Yumfactory Reading Series in Athens, GA.