Chalcedony’s Second 10 Songs
In Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs the poet broadens the exultant, erotic outburst of her first chapbook. She adds existentialism, science, and much attitude to these conversations – or rather, to these rants – at her lover. Chalcedony (kal-SAID-‘n-ee) has no doubt he needs a lot of educating! She affirms her sacred connection to emotion, and this connection extends, at every turn, to earth, myths, pagan life, love, and death. How else do we know we’re human? And Chalcedony believes we are boundarilessly in love, all of us, and the apparent way we live is illusion – safe, cloying illusion. She melds her devil-may-care range of language with that of Shakespeare and the direct expression of classical Greek poets. Chalcedony invites the reader to become a wild, sensual creature like herself, full of delight and full of fire.
Chalcedony’s open, passionate voice is an outgrowth of Matson’s first book, Mainline to the Heart, published originally in 1966 and reissued by Regent Press in the spring of 2009. Mainline to the Heart is “an enormously powerful evocation of a state of mind most people barely know exists,” states Jack Foley, and Steve Kowit calls the poems “Naked paeans…the wailing, chaotic lyricism of youth sung in the key of compulsive sexual frenzy — an orgasmic, rapturous celebration of lust, drugs, and life.” While a young man Matson immersed himself in the counterculture and in hard drugs, but he emerged later drug-free and with full appreciation of the passion and honesty of the 1960s. These qualities are crucially important, he thinks, for the current era. Coming to terms with my youthful, energetic voice has been a challenge, he admits, adding that his early influences made possible the range of Chalcedony’s voice. Now, six years after starting her poems, they feel like his own.
published by: Minotaur Press
format: saddle stitch, 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.1 inches
numbered pages: 35
cover price: $5.00
Do you remember the magic?
Do you remember boots and cells
dancing on muddied trails
and cobblestones beside
free-flowing ravines where hanging
gooseberries and cool updrafts
your warming blood through its arteries?
Do you remember light winking on water?
Do you remember how sacred?
The cherry splits open for you.
Pomegranates align their seeds inside
hidden rinds and for you
through fractured skin
their berries set free ambrosia.
Ripe juice smears our mouths carnelian.
That red honey oozing over cheeks
signals our eyes’ squint
through the inside-out.
Can those slits along doorjambs
and chimney flashing be zippers?
We knew the air would come apart.
We knew celestial skin would curl open.
Ancient stories underpin this present
as you push shoulders through hanging
eucalyptus on a walkway.
a dead phonetic now live,
pug nose face and arched brows
the foreground to a pagan forest
ringing bare limestone hills.
Myths slather their passions
into our lives like caviar.
Take a bite,
we’re too luscious to be untouched.
Too scrumptious to be untasted.
Because our atoms remember
popping out of cosmic plasma
twelve billion years ago, because trillions
of trillions accreted brothers and sisters
in nuclear fires,
we yearn. We yearn
because our cells remember
the 360 degree perfect amniotic embrace
in our mother’s womb.
Can your fingers not touch this remnant
hug one quarter inch away?
Your hand not feel the pulse
under its own skin?
Let me do the touching
while you ride a slow explosion.
You with berry juice dripping from cracked lips,
you’re not too hungry to eat.
Not too unmythy to touch back.
Would your purpled fingers still reach
for vine hanging grapes!
None is more ripe
than the juice constrained by your skin.
How many thousand novas planted star bits
in your body! How many pomegranates!
Do you remember how sacred?
Magic palpitates when more stars
line up than we can count
and proclaim, “Yes!”
Unbuckle the jackets
and unfasten snaps from this dangerous
and comforting embrace.
More stars than can fit along
optic nerves and I take in none
until I see the stars in your eyes.