you are in the diode archives diode v4n3



“To know that light falls and fills, often without our/ knowing”—Theodore Roethke

Stop blinking so loud,
winking with such perfect pitch.

It’s haunted, I think, to think
about how often you think about
how much thick warm blood
is awake or asleep
rapidly circuiting every inch
of every certain second through your head.  

And head and body,
       body and head,

we are all smitten
with the same slavers:

same reason why I can’t stop
walking with anything but
my ten toes and two perfect feet,
why you refuse to grab
at the vast mountains of air,
ice and light with anything
but your only hands.


Our Alzheimer Years

In memoriam Lewis Wright

Glazed clean
little dollops of consciousness;
your foot’s asleep,
your right leg,
a precious pinky finger.

Waiting for what’s always
just about to happen
next, we sit here
and the glittery stars answer
only to the sun
answer only to the stars.
To the splitting floridity of the darkness
and to the twinkly stars.

Even looking half-amassed like that
your long perennial selves
are sure worth knowing
and smooching.

Let’s consider life strictly
on a participation point basis: 
No matter what you have to say
the more often you raise your hand
the better the chances
you’ll be called on.

And then—not lost,
not roaming, ever-mendacious,
brawling light of the mind, seared
what we miss                    instead


Black Diamond

Realizing that breaking every finite bone

          In your readily measurable body

                    Is a kind of insouciant attitude,          

An elaborately attentive, half-pliant pose,

          In midair he teaches himself

                    The idea of home, its always expected

Sensation, marked and rendered
          Comfort, calm. Wobbled knots                            

                    Of air but paused,

Then the fall,

          His still-definitive conclusion.


“Ongoing time stabbed by a dagger.”—Rene Magritte

A brain secretes thought as a liver secretes bile. Accidents aren’t the same thing as mistakes, but your ideas regarding the difference between the two just might be. From close range the French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre once fired a cannon at a tree full of relentlessly chirping cicadas and not a note of their song was altered, not a beat missed. They were entirely undisturbed. This does not prove that cicadas are deaf; it only proves that they are not thinking while searching—singing—for a mate, and certainly not about cannon blasts. The massed brain secretes each and every thought as the liver secretes vacuous, guileful, greenish-orange bile. Even when absent, out of view, bile itself is a kind of thought; the liver, however, not as much. A white semicircle stapled to a piece of black construction paper and taped on the ceiling we painted a watery dull yellow, lots of unattributable wings floating around, I’ve been working on my idea for a map of the entire universe. In love with its own faultiness, it’s a work in progress, plangent thoughts inside plangent thought. 


It Is Only the Imagination That Can Resist the Imagination

Often I wonder what
my future husband’s voice                               
sounded like                                                          
before he went through puberty,
not the size of his tender, fox-throated lips
or the color of his sundried red hair.

Spruced mustache, his
impeccably attentive billy-goat-
beard cleanly divorcing
his face from his face;

so much that is of love
is not about it in any
relative form or manner.

Voice like a skinny kid’s cannonball
off the deep end diving board,

voice that housed acute memories  
of what had previously been said
before it ever spoke.

I am lying on my roommate’s couch,
watching trashy TV, waiting
for her to get home from work.

I hope she brings something good to eat
a large Blue Moon salad
or those vegan garlic chips.

Husband I haven’t met yet,
voice I won’t ever hear,

it is only the imagination
that can resist the imagination,

it is only the imagination
that can withstand, uphold,
subvert and resist
the imagination.  


Jeff Alessandrelli lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he co-curates the latest incarnation of the Clean Part Reading Series. He is the author of the little book Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound (Ravenna Press, 2011). Recent work appears in Octopus, DIAGRAM, Forklift, Ohio, and Laurel Review.