Off the Grid
To rewire a brain for interested
dwellers in the West, a hack
from the East pulls exposed cables
and cords from wall outlets
and light fixtures: Ohm. (Lightning,
the key for fearlessness, strikes up
conversations all about kites
but never cracks a downward
facing smile on the frightened.)
Engineers then plan for rut diggers
who feel around the dark searching
for a big switch. With a flick
in wrists palms come together
to honor, without applause,
unseen gods. The sunbird and dog
wait to master the tree rooted
in a meditation on light
to prepare for the oncoming.
The circuits open 24 / 7 can be
counted on one hand clapping.
Groovy folk wish to own the tool
with the holy cow attachment
the way wall street executives
wear golden parachutes.
Will Well Mine
Seldom does talent dam tear ducts,
cement nostrils using mucus,
or avoid a cleaning under fingernails.
Aptitude inspires filing nails but never
to the quick after a good polishing,
encourages a bored brow to try
something else, hungers for the grits
that American hardship shovels
under noses, leaving glove marks
across cheeks. In the long run, grit
molests empty wallets into faces
with smiles. In a bedroom, guts
whips into shape every sad sack
lumped among wind-up failures
and balloons with batteries
not included. Fiasco frescos throw
up the uninitiated hands when lemons
bubble from a wall or turkeys flap.
The patient never gets any better.
This race roots for a root.
Pluck stands Puck tall at the podium
and no one notices animal instincts
stuck to a heel, long but perforated.
* * *
Americana Rich Murphy’s book-length manuscript of poems recently selected as the winner in the Prize Americana 2013 by The Institute for American Studies and Popular Culture. His first book, The Apple in the Monkey Tree, was published in 2007 (Codhill Press); his second book Voyeur was published in 2009. Chapbooks include, Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications).
Two chapbooks have recently been released: Paideia from Aldrich Publications and Oops! from Finishing Line Press. Recent poetry may be found in Pennsylvania Review, Fjord Review, Otoliths, Euphony, The Straddler, James Dickey Review, and Poetica. Recent prose scholarship on poetics has been published in Imaginary Syllabus, Anthology chapters, Palm Press, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, The International Journal of the Humanities, Fringe Magazine, Reconfigurations: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, The Journal of Ecocriticism, Folly Magazine, Imaginary Syllabus, (Palm Press), and New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.
Richard Carr wrote, “[Murphy’s} poems are extraordinary as individuals, from the intriguing declarative first sentence of each down to its decisive, glistening last line. And as a collection, like ‘a subtle song [that] travels / from ancient feet through hearts / to first breath in the world,’ Voyeur is spectacular.”
Rich Murphy lives in Marblehead, MA.