Blinded By Night - Stefanie Kott
an electronic chapbook
by Stefanie Kott

PREFACE Kindling on the fire you acting feed the flames in my fingers reacting This blaze solitary imagined crackles into the world whirls up into the world in smoke of offerings I burn open-eyed & smiling *** THE SURF i Indolent waves skim a composed sea play toward shore I take away from its calm foam deep blue-and-red crab claws brown spectrum of a muscle's shell striated peach of a snail's Nearby I pluck feathers of a conquered gull bones of a fallen fish a black, shriveled carcass I am not fooled by quiet waves tickling sand in pernicious stillness ii Around you gulls fight to the death to sit on your outstretched hand fish tear each other apart at your bait iii I dream with my arms braced against your mad surf *** MAKE READY I wade into glyphics dive through your visions take the hook # Bumpkin/genius you fish behind a seawall throw out bait bate me I nibble & run # The sea rolls in monotonous waves in your absence you become fire # I walk into your blaze fingers flaming & make ready *** LEAVES i As I peek through eyelet into trees the sun centered in shade arrests me & somehow I understand that for me you are inevitable ii Russet leaves cling without reason to limbs they know well As a survivor of many unknowns I know Once leaves no longer catch on a branch they recast One limb held me way too long iii I attach red to a tree of my own design & invite you in Like woodpeckers leaving autographs on the bark of a treehouse we record our signatures on air iv I flutter aching for you *** WINDOW ON TWO DREAMERS Spirit at the mast you breathe life into the small green sailboat framed in this bay window shore undulating beyond winter forest at view's end You rave at the moon in daytime tip the skiff in water stiller than your night rage dreams in my earsight so I can see I snap to a stretch of mind longer than the Peconic a channel soft with visions certain I am to take my passage in your wake In a move of my palm prayers I push through the window surround you *** THE POINT A turtle spits seawater in my eyes air smells like seaweed & red tide deranged waves batter b r e a k i n g to shore # Tough the fisherman beginning day early with a seiner's net ending it with a poem Tortoise shell veils the fisherman from light he relishes night Striking a koan he muses muses refuses to see light He goes with me long into my night # In my dreams he moves with a wave's vengeance toward me In reality chasing a turtle can be tiring # Alone inhaling salt-spray bouquet I swim to sand in swells smooth as water-pummeled shells But sand covers only so much ground when the sea wanes pale not even tide pulls me ii Sister saw redemption she saw the possibility of redemption iii Sea lion of lyric you are in my wake not by accident I strain to steer with you through the motions grow old with conviction I understand metal I celebrate you patience we are taking this in stages iv If I am wrong the right to love words (sex love truth beauty honor) is wrong there is no point *** THE NET A year ago I cast a net of loosely threaded gossamer large as the world & waited for you to find the center where I stood wriggling The size of the net & the time it took you to travel it were trifling While waiting I explored its widest reaches & played on the beach where there are so many varieties of shells to wonder at & fish to mimic & I found God in the waves & in the spirit of the wind & I believed in you for me ii I reel at the echo of your voice in a conch let's catch up catchupcatchup think you're closing in on the center of my net stand there open to the elements wriggling & you perch on the side of a wave wink at the night trace a tern's path with your eyes as if a string isn't jumping in your fingers Out of my depths too far from the center of the net in waters all too familiar but distant wriggling I am wriggling on sheer line on transparent little line yelling shrieking again for a raft knowing knowing not I cannot weary now & suddenly it doesn't matter you don't matter at all iii I surrender you to the gods on whose spirits I assembled you I surrender you for the goddesses on whose spirits I assemble me yet I disassemble you for the gods know I must be free of the net *** A FISHERMAN SPEAKS When ominous waves lift the bow to a gale in the night sky I materialize Sea surges in me propelled by wind I fish therefore I am I reel them clean them eat them raw Wet as a stormy deck & night dreams the few times I don't have a woman I am salty # I take hostages screw women to their mattresses leave 'em bare there who cares Warned one told her I'm no good pain in the ass anyway I'm almost gone I loved once knew love once what's love more than once anyway There's a bad boy in me and he fills me with joy # Yarns bounded by stars & crustaceans leap from a stylus in my mind where I live I lift my pen to dolphins in blue water women in fish skin swim And when synapses don't meet I complete in sleep lines I begin in snatches # Spirits that murdered my mother massacre me *** MAKING IT RIGHT (Two voices of the same person) I feel his snarl echo fitful through spine and skull then take its place at the dark center of my day Today I walk beside the sea to the furthermost speck I let sand freshen my heels and breathe the wind In belly dancer's veils I would dance each imagined hex to its void for just one word I float with the wind in my ribs and touch pale blue I feel senses of sky and sea and glide free I can change the night of his days He will be my king I can make it right make it right make it r . . . Tonight I'll look at the sea through a window big as sky I'll do the laundry read a book make a fire ***** PATTERNS i iv With sea water and a dollop of fever I rage against the moon I write life moon for you In the absence of life pattern myself a sentry I imagine fever at the harbor And so I turn to you certain waiting ii v At your words A mirror flashes I conjure veils Father/phantom/lover: For your deeds I have loved you before I feign indifference and you have not The poet/man dichotomy loved me back iii vi The dying eye demands I I survive because I have reach for the sun the courage to break patterns When fitting it mandates regrouping behind the moon moving on --end Comments? Please write Stefanie at