by George Eklund 

Perhaps You Understand

I’ve done what I could do.
If you want to mutilate me, then you will.
I cannot row very far or fast
In my boat of green light.
But I am beginning to know the wind
And what we cannot hear.

A baby creature cried in the woods,
I had to keep my pencil moving,
Perhaps you understand.

The wind cannot leave itself alone.
Our hope, as always, is to have some dinner
And live gently through another night,
To leave some language in the atoms
Of a disappearing world.

Perhaps you understand what came into us.
It was a whisper from the mind to the mind
As some creature howled in the woods.
I had to keep my pencil moving
In and out of the wind between us.

I may have been listening to myself all along,
Filtered through the harps of the trees.
Perhaps you understand how the bones of my hands
Darken in sleep,
How I move toward myself in the cosmic hour

And wash myself in the shadow
Of a tree my father planted.
The mind cannot shape the snow
But forms the hope
For its own cries to stop
Before others might listen and know…

Perhaps you understand prayers that come
Through us in a low humming,
The sound of a small plane far away,
A child shoring across a dark room.

How the mind erases and restores knowledge
In the heaven of itself, the green rowing
Through the mutilated interiors.                                                             

Perhaps you will forgive the mind
That fears the body of itself.
Perhaps you understand I must move my pencil
And go now.

Indigo Flame

Many children have lifted me
Into the gray bare woods
Cleared of derangements, manifestos.

They have carried me over the clumps of snow
And the mud that cannot thaw.

Something has already happened,
Something I have not seen or imagined.

Perhaps someone imaginary has disappeared
Or has brought me beautiful words or music…

A hammering may commence at any time,
The world remaking itself without me.

I have awakened with an indigo flame
Dancing from my hand to my eyes.

Essay on a High D Sharp

We tithe in blood and nausea.
Finally we are creatures again,
Touched and made mad
Touched and made of memory we cannot hold
And made of winter sun through trees
Touched and materialized
On the outskirts of the vacuumed museum.
Dressed in baptismal white,
In the pain of the first gasp
Every mind made beautiful and incomplete
Every sun burning and waiting.
The mind scatters itself,
Splitting itself into a thousand places.
There is no announcement, only sound,
A high D sharp
Ending history for a moment
Bringing history back into its eggs,
A holy land beyond the mind,
A muse outside of the cold
Every sun burning for its orbiting worlds
And their lovely moons.

Sky Fever

Say ever
Say fever
Say sky fever
Ever sky fever made
Of noise from town and dark
Feathers spread on the walk.

The ensemble dressed in black
And made the sound of God’s voice.

The saint appeared with a garden hose
And a ripsaw in its hands.
This is how they made an angel look,
This says something about a people;

It has to do with the rigid or supple
Quality of their minds.
It has to do with how they comb their hair,
How they dress
And how they treat their children.

The ensemble dressed in a new color each day.
They all liked to look at art,
Especially breasts,
But were neglectful of their mothers.

This says something about the shape of the God
They perceived within,
How it came and went.

Essay in a New Century

Forgive me I wanted to hear something rare.
I wanted to be something rare
In that season when I would seize
And lower myself into a tub
To feel myself break open…
Early in the new century
There is a man-horror that follows us.
It is something we make
Something made upon us
Something made out of us
Something mad upon us
A making upon us.


We have cancelled our plans for Paris
Cancelled our plans for Central America.
Where ever you go
Castles are overgrown by trees and vines.
You would be lucky
To be named for a field
That never held a town or road.


Sooner or later in some dark corner
Everyone says Tra-la.
The struggles are forever imprinted
From the wrist to the ankle,
A neurosis or an ecstasy.


They push their carts toward the products.
They push dutifully and dream-like
In hunger and atonement and hope.
They  bring the children, bring the old ones,
The afflicted in their apparatuses
The giddy and the dead ones aisle by aisle
In the bright fluorescence.
All of them thinking about what did not yet exist.


The house fills with distant seasons.
I have passed through so many buildings
And rooms within buildings.
I have held so many hands
Never to know anything.
Because we remember
Because we cannot remember
The brain has a deep fold,
For some a quiet shrine
Or a holiday train station.

My body is putting itself to sleep.
I must go alone to the waiting rooms,
Dark and empty
With stained ceilings
Where one’s name is never called.

About the Author:

George Eklund has published widely in north American journals, including The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Cimarron Review, Epoch, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, The New Ohio Review, The North American Review,   Poet Lore, Quarterly West, Sycamore Review, and Willow Springs, among others. Most recently his poems have appeared in The Lindenwood Review, Poetry Fix, Red Booth Review, and Rio Grande Review, as well as Tinge, Toad, 6×6, and Conduit. Eklund’s full length volumes include The Island Blade (ABZ Press 2011) and Each Breath I Cannot Hold (Wind Publications 2011). Finishing Line Press published his chapbook, Wanting To Be an Element, in 2012. Finishing Line Press published his recent collection, Altar, in September 2019. His translations from the Spanish have appeared in The Rio Grande Review and In Translation/Third Rail. George Eklund is Emeritus Professor at Morehead State University.  He shares studio space with the painter and poet, Laura Eklund, on thirty acres of wooded hills in eastern Kentucky.