Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 1
Spring 2010

[Two Poems]

Renée Ashley


There’s sorrow wrapped up in an old woman & over there: rage in a man who is trying the sea on like a sharkskin suit Above both the sky is an upturned bowl of birds & a vague history’s settling like mist on the place where the bones hatch So many pities There was a man with a separate discontent he was feeding the squirrels he was feeding the deer What a woman took from him was not quite the heart We are outsiders everywhere—not just in art—& the limits of language don’t hinder us As if we could speak to abstraction or fact Always this way alone among the others The slabber & drool of our dogs in the dark & more light than we can know than the cowl of the pitiful moon can shed Plenty to read by Just look over there: the robin’s red breast has burst & her heart flown out The sun’s strong fire turns our own skin to spite The house is still in flames I’m telling you now so you’ll know: light is leaping from our roof Our own books are burning.

Three Pieces: Ambiguous with Respect to Their Realization
(Upon Hearing the Music of Three Young Experimental Composers)


she was there the tones/ moved through her/
works unfolding in time in time through motion/
process into motion motion as duration///
three sets of possibility/of duration//two scores realized/
: one pealing//enactments of the mind more minds than three enact/
the nonverbal pealing::aural not oral/ in time through her//not a
not a word through her//but process as motion motion as wave through her/
as duration as tone//a pealing in her/vibrations through her waiting/
her body embodying/a part of the body enacting the possible/work
the work is possible/is realized::nonverbal//no/no word/yes
you turn outward inward you find the tone in the roadbed of the body
in the roadbed of the mind which is body pressing outward//turning in::/
but not only in the mind/in the vessel that is the body/through the air as a wave she there//
the tones moved through her//she unfolded/ in time


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury