21 | Aria begins | Dark Sky Preserves

Aria begins
(or poem for “thou unnecessary letter”)

                                                                        after Barbara Guest

          Aria  begins

                      count   decahedron’s 

                                                              echo

                                                                             finite guest

                                                            head-lamp illuminations:

                      kaleidoscopic

                                                lung-wreck

                                    marigold     nebulae

                                                            O Monde!

                                                Omega

                                    (parallel       questions        rendezvous)

                                                serpentine

                               timescales

                                                                                    waif-form

                                                                                                xeroxed

                                                we are yesterday’s

                                                                           zed.


Dark Sky Preserves

                                               Because I wanted to learn how

                                                                           to look at the sky

                                                                                                   again

                                               I chose from among your

                                                                           voices    

                                                                                      a constellation

                                                                                          nuclear        magic        numbers

                                               I began to believe in a

                                                we who are

                                                                                      faintest      at the zenith

                                                                                       ****

                                                                                       I found you

                                                                                                    listening in a whispering

                                                                                                    gallery

                                                                                                    marine and terrestrial

                                                your whole body

                                                                                       a tongue

                                                                                       ****

                                                                           I believed in your

                                                                                       life bearing

                                                                                                songs

                                                                in stalactite time scale

                                                                        in helium articulate reverence

                                                                                      and reservoirs over

                                                                                       ****

                                                Because you said the sky

                                                                           was a kind of ocean

                                                we learned the alchemy

                                                                                     of air

                                                                                     we became many

                                                                                       ****

                                                Do we have dreams or

                                                                           or do we see them?

                                                Do you know the feeling

                                                                           in music

                                                                                     where possession

                                                                                     before it leaves you

                                                                                                 from pressure or

                                                                                                 percussion?

                                                Because there will always be

                                                                                     light trespass

                                                                           we made dark sky

                                                                                                     preserves

                                                           because we could treat

                                                                                                     the darkness as

                                                                                                     property

                                                                                       ****

                                                because I wanted to feel the air

                                                               visible breath    

                                                                                        eternal ice

                                                               in a cyclone   you said 

                                                                                        I will sing over you

                                                               while you sleep    I will curate

                                                                           your dreaming 

                                                                           your sun-lions and

                                                                           your chariot

                                                                                        drawn by the sun


tiff dressen lives in the Portola neighborhood of San Francisco. Songs from the Astral Bestiary, a (slender) full-length collection of poetry, emerged from lyric& Press in 2014. In 2019, they played the role of Earl of Kent in the Milkwood Theater’s production of King Lear. In their spare time, they enjoy urban flâneuring, chasing their cats in the backyard, and setting type and printing at the SF Center for the Book.