White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
WHITE WHALE REVIEW
Judson Evans
Judson Evans is a Boston poet who teaches at The Boston Conservatory. Recent work has appeared in Volt and 1912: a Journal of Forms. He has collaborated with composers and choreographers, including composer Mohammed Fairouz, who set his poem "Bonsai Journal." John Yau chose him as an "emerging poet" for Academy of American Poets in 2007.

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Judson Evans

Codex Atlanticus

 

To transform the body to a flying machine hollow the thorax

and add lime to laundry bluing. Make a straight jacket of burlap bags

around the shoulders. Tighten the curry combs and wax attachments

to umbrella joints. Hold the rib cage of orange crates in place

with a belt train. No gear, yet, for steering the high unstable launch,

the platform run on whim and wound clothesline, rolling by the curvature

of earth. Of course, in the design phase, the draw-bridge impediments

of space are counted as spokes of free fall. We would want an exploded view

of the figure in its starched newspaper statics laid laterally with stolen reels

of motion from the Drive-In.

But the statics and resistance — cast off sheets, canisters

of galvanized buckets, the rake handles and off days

with details scratched below the loading dock —

blot the delicate ballistic studies with their scalpel of breathing units.

When the top string wound within the entrails is reeled in,

an updraft is coaxed from a slammed encyclopedia,

lift imprints through the layers of wish fulfillment

by pedals abridged to a washer drum.


Judson Evans

Flywheel Viscosity

 

Back at the cardboard box bristling

with appliance attachments,

decals and dials of bottle tops,

I tested animation with spring loaded mittens,

leaned on the mechanical advantage

of xylophone music as overheard mathematics.

 

Though my experiment with the catapult contraption

found no statistic difference between fort

and da, it proved a box without a label

liable to new ingredients, pointed a projector lens

to the corner of the cage to leave a smoky hand

on the shoulder.

 

I approximated sea level with shims of old ticket stubs

to engage the perpetual motion device

for picking locks, bestowing a spoil

of shovels and cut ribbons, a turntable

connived to the pace of cursive

signing signatures to map alibis, figure eights

of iron filings on a sheet of glass.

[....]


Judson Evans

I discovered a formula for a more pliable,

permeable water trumpet, a piano roll from a frayed

tourniquet peeled from a pendulum.

 

An old adding machine with its carriage sheared

off learned to redistribute ransacked rain

in a carousel of rear-view mirrors.


Judson Evans

How things work

 

The Archimedean lever of the swing set

unearths bodies from their ingratiating

gravity. The inclined plane of shoulders

under bafflement of arms.

Small patentable changes in the wind machine

reconstruct the history

of sailing ships.

Siege engines starve out the castles.

Tools turned inside out brandish their weapons.

Assault retrofits to assembly,

as the reason torturers take names for their atrocities

from children’s games.

Pulley of stiff laundry on which a sawn off cast is strung

in all its felt-point signatures—

kite of lost movement —

or elaborate system sending messages

between the beds.

If we are the tools of our tools, how do worm gears

lift up the dead?

[....]


Judson Evans

Sphinxes ask questions with bifurcating

escapement wheels.

The pyramid of swim-suited bathers in a 50’s beach film or

wedge of magnetic distances

crushed in a rain-triggered stampede.

Soccer game or pilgrimage. Attraction of numbers

soldered to their divisor. Espionage into mechanized

silk throwing unsettles birds

entirely operated by water valves.

Supporting the crossbeams, sandbagging

the floodwall, carrying out survivors.

chain mail

iron lung

airbag

armored car

crash helmet

air raid shelter

Prop and rack and pinion.

The meaning of dead weight

that we are always half carried.


Judson Evans

Tanguy Machine

 

Where does it go to sleep and dream,

the labor in the labor saving devices?

Returning the deposit,

decoupling the source code

from the pleasure centers of the genome?

 

Rock polisher attached

to plectrum for prepared piano, tape recorders forced by rewind

to cough back messages from Beatles albums.

 

Destructive imagination vents in periodic arguments

with electricity — model electric chair, crystal set re-wired

in remote robotics.

 

Complex games of set theory reconfigure the Ouija board.

What a waste of the landing pad, collaging glossies

of the moon-mission.

 

[....]


Judson Evans

Crumpled bills appreciate nothing. Seals of approval

scrape off with a bottle opener, dismantled tubes

from an upright radio

wait for the Great Sensorium in the attic.

 

Smashing the French clock’s dome

to experiment in transmission

of underwater secrets. Refusing designs

of the manufacturer,

The Family Council, the Inspector General.

Tampering with the escape hatch

of the eighties, slicing and splicing monopoly boards

into indeterminate,

permanent play.


Judson Evans

Cloud chamber

 

Find the slot in your viewfinder, the only slow

               motion

in your fastness, only swivel stick in the high, secure fortress

 

you call Nepenthe.

 

What would it cost for the daily sighting?

 

Why won’t you climb down?

 

                                                          Since you claim you love them —

leaden sow beetles corroding the waterworks.

 

And with day’s heat abated, the lower terraces are cool

and undefended,

 

                angel swords sleep like moss

in agate, thrushes replacing bone with leaching

crystal —

                song of the submersible.

 

[....]


Judson Evans

                                                         Why won’t you test

the belaying lines? Become a wick

 

lit by the wreck of dirigibles?

 

                Because of the contagion,

mirage canisters are buried everywhere.

 

Press your hand through the membrane.

 

The liquid inside the eye, the world before creation,

 

wings of an altar piece thrown open:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Judson Evans. White Whale Review, issue 2.3


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