Standing Knife, Pinon, and Morning Glory
a sculpture by James Surls, Charles Cowles Gallery, New York
by DEAN KOSTOS
Knife, be my source. Cleave.
Be root, a surge. Wooden knife,
rise, rise into pine.
But your tree has wings
embracing absence—become undone, the wire bloom
A phonograph’s horn, it pipes music from magma:
green the sound, mute the
color drenching what eye hears, what ear recalls. Can’t
a morning glory
coax & curl with sweet hissing?
Knife, be my source. Cleave
to, from. Be perfect
kundalini. Energy arcs: a cobra’s hood.
The spine of spirit
is the portrait remaining when a blade flays form.
DEAN KOSTOS is the author of Last Supper of the Senses, The Sentence That Ends with a Comma, and the chapbook Celestial Rust. He also edited the anthology Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry, the debut reading for which was held at the UN. He co-edited the anthology Mama’s Boy: Gay Men Write About Their Mothers, a Lambda Book Award finalist. His work has appeared in Barrow Street, Big City Lit, Boulevard, Chelsea, The Chiron Review, Cimarron Review, Cincinnati Review, Confrontation, The Dos Passos Review, The Dirty Goat, Ekphrasis, Euphony, Minnetonka Review, Porcupine, Rattapallax, Reading Brokeback Mountain (anthology), Southwest Review, Stand Magazine, Stranger at Home (anthology), Talisman, The Wallace Stevens Journal, Vanitas, Western Humanities Review, on Oprah Winfrey’s Web site Oxygen.com, and elsewhere. His literary criticism has appeared on Harvard U P Web site, in Talisman, American Book Review, and elsewhere. He has co-translated poems from Spanish with Jaime Manrique for Bomb; his translations from Modern Greek have appeared in Barrow Street and Talisman. Voices of Ascension commissioned him to write the text for the choral work Dialogue: Angel of Peace, Angel of War, set to music by James Bassi. Box-Triptych, his choreo-poem, was staged at La Mama ETC. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has taught poetry writing at the Gallatin School of NYU, The Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Wesleyan, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, and CUNY. Recipient of a Yaddo fellowship, he has served as literary judge for Columbia University’s Gold Crown and Gold Circle Awards.