Two Poems

by Andrew Jankowski (March 2018)

The Running Bride, Odd Nerdrum

I. Captives


An example of captivity

And the passage of time


Fury on every side

With the bare hands of honor,

Sorrow at the raw hands of honor

Forcing their way.


And the joy of feeling death sit close


Even in captivity,

Even in the pitiful relenting

Of knowledge and generation,

A paradise of strength

Which was born

And yet was an echo of their nakedness.

Reliving the love she breathed over his shoulder

Itself an echo of the breath that was grace.


Yet no new sacrifice

Recalls the creation:


Establishment of all natures,

Who makes things grow


The red-hot stone grazing air

Already dies, for him is dead,

And is living

With the tenor of a lie told cheerfully,

Dies humbly,

For the misery of these evils is

Not yet ended.

Shepherds Viewing Passing Soldiers, Gustav Moreau


II. A Dream of St. Anthony

Home to a growing death

A blank dream that sits dead and black

On the marrow of the soul.


A god already devouring

And devoured in the slick ruts of

Convenience, harassed by the time.


Subdued bodies well past the hour of

Intention; slipping into patterns unbreakable.

Unbroken bodies, untested anger.


And time hung from the old year,

From the neck in a satchel,


A demonstration not sound but

Softly reassuring . . .


But you cannot consider this from outside,  

Or bring the flesh to heel

With your motives alone.


They burned like torches in the night

A poetic line from the great historian

Still remembered in the time of honor.


For they were men that burned,

And men that paced the tombs,

And slept along the hillsides,

Broke down the flesh

And brought the mind to heel.

Remembered then, having done honor

To an impossibility,

Their names a quiet legend in a

Dead language.


For some there is boldness alone,

For some, divine protection

For us a winter of choice with no consequence

And no conclusion

Slipping into patterns unbreakable.

Unbroken bodies, soft and tender skin

Is it better to break their innocence with your own?

Or stand in the blank dream

For there is no emulation without acceptance,

No dark symbol working in the flesh,

No knowledge without needing    

All that seems and is felt to be passed.


Andrew Jankowski is a poet, satirist, and occasional journalist who lives and works in the Northeastern United States.

Andrew Jankowski in New English Review.

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