Poem of the Week | April 26, 2011
Jessica Piazza: "Achluophilia"
This week we are proud to feature “Achluophilia” by Jessica Piazza. The poem is previously unpublished. Jessica Piazza was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She is co-founder of Bat City Review, a contributing editor at The Offending Adam, and an editor for The Gold Line Press Chapbook Contest. When she’s not working on publishing other people’s poems, she writes her own…some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Agni, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, National Poetry Review, Rattle, 32 Poems, No Tell Motel and Barrelhouse.
For a few years I basically only wrote formal poems whose titles were clinical phobias or clinical philias. I’m clearly obsessed with obsession, and though forms can be an obsession in and of themselves, I was also really into the play that sonics allow: how different meters and insistent internal rhyme and alliteration can produce a sound that I hope mimics the pulse of the poems’ obsessive fears and loves. Achluophilia is a Sapphic, and I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with that form; perfect, maybe, for a love poem about darkness. But I hope the music beats like a tell-tale heart beneath the floor of the poem. And I hope, more importantly, that you all have fun reading it. Because there’s plenty of obsession in our little world of poetry, but maybe not enough fun.
Love of darkness
My tired love sleeps. His eyes are alive with movement:
flicker, flicker, mimicking trains and halfway
open. Tragic: one should be blind when sleeping;
hardship, overload of the heart. Awake, the
body blinks, incredulous: stunned and working.
Mornings waking, swept by the moving world, he
whispers of seeing,
talks of seeing halfway in sleep-the curse of
nighttime sight, the bedfellow shadows, how the
dark is never static the way we dream it
must be. He tells me
we’ve been here, surviving for hundreds of years, half
dozed. The minutes fly in the day. At night we
watch each other, watching. I sleep. I dream his
dreams of a moving
darkness. In my dreams my own eyes half open,
watching him, asleep, and I see him sleeping,
seeing, moving. Night, and I’m covered with his
eyes, but his eyes won’t
cover him. It’s night, and I can’t distinguish
sleep from sight. I move, and I understand him:
we have lived for years, somewhere in between the
blink and the blindness.
SEE THE ISSUE
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