Mary Harju: The Fall '18


Mary Harju '18


Ode On Love (2003)

What is the essence of a too-brief kiss?
   The rigor of reaching the thing-in-itself,
from subject to object, chaos to bliss,
    our frail intuition of heavenly health?
Our love is not molecules, dumbly colliding,
    nor it it knowledge, formal and static,
       nor it it accident, reasoned and plumbed-
it's real, meta-rational, soaring and gliding,
    felt like an earthquake, bringing up panic,
       taking our parts and achieving a sum.

The greater part of love is sacrifice-
    flesh intermingled, tensing and tingled,
this is the secret I learn from your eyes.
    Giving my body- knotted, single,
tiny eruptions that come from my tongue-
    plunging down surface, slicking the flesh,
       thoughtless as leopards or hurricane winds-
watching you shudder, watching you come,
     rapt in the throes of an innocent death,
         giving my life to an inch of your skin.

Thus, we trade in secure oblivion
    for reckless reality, messy and fleeting.
Such is the cosmos: creation, carrion,
    motions of molecules merging and meeting.
Nothing is lost but notions of self-ness,
    hard ideations that closet and clatter,
       rages of ego that strain at their walls-
nothing is gained but a sense of the deathless,
    "there-ness" of spirit, "there-ness" of matter,
        ultimate "there-ness" that scares as it calls.


Eratio 26: The White Album (2nd Edition)

The new issue of Eratio (26) features, in its entirety, the second edition of the e-book The White Album, initially released by Ungovernable Press in 2009. Many thanks to Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino. 

If Life Is Making Your Head Bleed...

...then beat a hasty retreat back to 1488


Ode On Jazz

Physical beauty, Formal Rigor of God—
spiritual beauty, Economy of God—
Natural Will, Transcendent Will,
Facile Will in all its’ dismal “there-ness”—

Piano broken chords breaking down space
like watching bits of paper collect,
contained in a 12-bar blues; root
notes you tend to lean on,
or maybe a honking minor third,
a harmonic multi-colored sharp…

Follow your compulsion into flurries,
clusters of connecting phrases,
then a pause to sanctify as the progression
resolves after lingering on the fifth
for the appointed time—
pentatonics mainly w/ some suspensions,
sheets of sound, there it is...trademark leaps
only found in Coltrane,
like watching a rainbow erupt
out of the placid bowels of street-lakes,
sparrows in the gutters,
Eliot-esque alienation syncopated
impossibly high & mighty…

Repeat the repetition now into major scale—
Ionian gold, major-third suspensions again,
almost midnight for tremulous trees,
also hipsters, flights of birds, rabbis
in the wilderness as blues ends; here’s a quicker
quirkier jarring bit to cut
your teeth on…

Base bottom notes natural like ferns,
ride the ride cymbal like musical fellatio,
roll w/ rolls & kick-drum ejaculations,
what Hart Crane heard in bridges,
only blues (so bridge seldom comes),
stasis achieved nicely replicates movements,
bowel, kidney, heart-beat, daring snare of lip-ness,
thickness, quickness,
get it all out for all of us into the brick-laden city,
mutter of exhausted midnight buses
as vibrato notes shiver, miniature
solos on the toms creates energy
of emptiness among the weird abundance,
concluding w/ roll on the snare, now bass
also investigates metaphysical space,
not so much implacable as inexhaustible
eruptions; spring of autumn,
autumn of spring…

Seasons of balance, compromise,
away from extremes; Middle Path exteriorized,
oh piano on a minor seventh which bespeaks
longing for a more ethereal world,
elegiac as the last apple of October, eaten
by a Halloween camp-fire, beyond blues
of Earth into cadence, dying fall of pure moon,
ravaged, torn from the throat of persistence,
mute existence destroyed completely
and on fire, a universe of fingers & mouths,
looking down the tide of Death into eternity,
square-shouldered & erect,
freezing into whims of Ultimate “there-ness”,
beyond ordinary notions of quotidian abyss
in one long sitting pow-wow peace-pipe corn-cob
wholesome dinner of Voidness,
but insinuated only to drive away singularity….

Jazz is plural,
they give you a space, show you its’ contours,
allow you to move around & drown
if you want over hilltops of remorse, created
by Love or dolorous longing & especially
Central Parks of the soul & intellectual Bordello
life cut & pasting its’ bleak outline over rooftops
& bluebirds



She said, undressing, to love is to be
an orphan hiding from a hurricane in
a church made of glass. Impractical, I
said, & I don't like metaphors in bed
anymore, in my old age, any more than I
like spiders. Then, as we made love, she
said, you're an orphan, hiding from a hurricane.
Oh, I said, are you a church made of glass?
Well, she said, I'm a little cracked, aren't I?
Outside, cars slithered by, oblivious, exhaust
fumes tingeing human summer air. You're
cracked alright, & so is your sister, I said,
baiting her to collapse onto my chest,
throwing stones from my glass church, side-armed-


Philly Free School '18


Of the girls at CHS...

...few would've believed that ten years ago this month I'd be doing this task


Hearkening Back to 1342

In recessional times, people find it difficult to connect the right way



The dirge droned over the dimly lit dance
floor, "Stop Me If You've Heard This One
Before," & Tara, a bowl-headed red-head from
Jersey, heaved against me. Tara shouldered
suburban Jersey around with her like a sprained
ankle; tall tales of potential husbands, other
familial engagements. She sought ins with us;
we always said yes; yet we bled something
out of her, blocked her moves. Mike Land,
who (oddly) was no dancer, drank our grungy
group under the table, in a short-lived joint
off of Rittenhouse Square- Tara made a
gesture to her girlfriend to step outside. "It's
a conspiracy," I kidded Mike, "bring on the shots."


Poems in Otoliths

Five poems out now in Otoliths 50. Many thanks to Mark Young.



Also strange, in a recession, to see what gets preserved and what doesn't. 


Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Molly strips at The Office
in Center City Philly: high-
school drop-out, pot-fiend,
child in second grade, puffed
up from downing lager during
down-time. She told me her
story because Desmond beats
the hell out of her, she needs
a better gig. Health insurance
does not exist for her or the kid,
she lives in fear of Italian Market
ruffians bearing down on little Bradley.
I brought her back to my pad,
fucked her, told her I would gladly
be a father to Bradley if I had
the time, or the money, but I don't.


A Series of Portals

We now have online the possibility of "double portals" for Opera Bufa and When You Bit...: the original Otoliths book pdfs, and full-length recordings of the entire respective books. Here, for Opera Bufa: book pdf, book-length mp3; and for When You Bit...., book pdf and book-length mp3.


Hanging Out in 1613

In recessional times, folks, you never know who you might run into.