City-Ship-States of Mind
Isadora: You forget yourself, holding a laughing moon-skull, milking the carcass of a cloud-yak.
Esmeralda: By ship-light, sylphlike gowns of mist rising from teacups.
Ultima Liliac: One wave divided by none surpasses infinity—I’m no thing not me, not right.
The Vane Sisterhood: Like Cynthia and Sibyl, obsolete icicle and Barbary parking meter.
Specularia: Transparent eye, containing itself, in a transparent mirror—city of Isinglass sunk just off the coast.
Caveat: Both washed mirrors and copulation outlawed, since they lead to human duplication.
Hesperia: An invented encyclopedia of objects that surface wherever reality caves in.
Wilhelmina: We live in wimpled flames, each of us an ice inhabited by a splendid, silent nun.
Imperium Sine Fine: Ulysses and Diomedes solemnly step forward, shaking a forked tongue of liquid silver.
Amen Potter Codicilia: Cathedral spun of buttresses, blood and pastry stick, every cruelty scored in wood-maw and bone of loup-garou.
Omphaloskepsis: Feeling foggy nostalgia for places that never were, long anticipated in books never written.
Piccarda and Constanza: Sibling cities, constant inconstants, wading thigh-thigh in the October Crab Nebula.
Ixion (Alice) Edelweiss: Slavering like a lunatic pig on a cold table. Ocean scar and far-flung night.
Stephen Massimilla is a poet, scholar, professor, and painter. His multi-genre volume, Cooking with the Muse (Tupelo, 2016), won the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the National Indie Excellence Award, the Independent Author Network Book of the Year Award, and others. Previous books and awards include The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat (a Stephen F. Austin University Press Prize selection); Forty Floors from Yesterday (winner of the Bordighera/CUNY Poetry Prize); Later on Aiaia (winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize); Almost a Second Thought (runner-up for the Salmon Run National Poetry Book Award, selected by X.J. Kennedy); a study of myth in modern poetry; a Van Rensselaer Award, selected by Kenneth Koch; several Pushcart Prize nominations; and other honors. He holds an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and teaches literary modernism, among other subjects, at Columbia University and The New School. For more info: www.stephenmassimilla.com and www.cookingwiththemuse.com