Alex Rieser – Everything’s The Cause Nowadays, Mantes That Summer, The Thing That Saying Nothing Says

Everything’s the Cause Nowadays


But in all important ways
I had come to it to ask,
if I had not come to it?
Nighttime in the landscape of affliction,
no mortuary on the plot
of land adjacent to our house
no pig farm or slaughterhouse—
just a vacant field which makes us…uncomfortable?
Something like going hungry—the presence of
absence, its properties of—what?—isolation?

Who among us wouldn’t recite the prayers
stored in memory? The gestation
of some worry, looking at the rock-plot, if I had
opened my mouth, having carried home all this
I would’ve had a wife that lost it on me,
lost it all on me I thought as the cracking
ice in my glass, following the condensation
down a line of ants off the plate,
usually she’s too kind to notice but who among us
wouldn’t feel the need to call this
to attention. Holding our tongues is not the same
as being baffled into silence. It’s not
that food stays fresh in the cold
it’s that it’s kept so well in the dark.

At what cost do we feed
each other? To come to
the one we do as waxed axis
flocculating on the table cloth,
clothes, skin, the mortuary,
slaughterhouse and pig-farms up the road.

Forget the open plot, she has these beautiful,

long fingernails she’s using to pick the wax,

to keep me from keeping out,

to clear the plate. You’ve got

to be something not to feel
this way. Got to be something else
to let it keep you out, a bird perhaps from
some kind of winter, and if not that,
an insurance salesman predicting a triggering incident,
a box with cryptic nutritional facts, or another
box with a pre-printed shipping label, god
to be able to walk through those
back rooms of the warehouse toward something
more to eat, toward that it
intersecting axis of the moment
I told her.


The Thing That Saying Nothing Says

Mutual ownership doesn’t seem right, you
never have money, never say what you want
for dinner you’ll notice we’ve grown so
thin lingering in the kitchen, holding the eye-lock,
neither taking even a box of rice down. Because
we won’t decide I’m keeping the painting
we bought in Venice where it is
though it fit the way the room was.
Took us nine nights walking to and from
restaurants arguing how to talk
the dealer down. Early to sleep meeting
some gravityless center where we grapple
each other into inarticulation. Into
the thing that saying nothing says.

That lingering doesn’t make us tougher it
makes this more severe and what doesn’t
end us only skims the fibers until there’s nothing
left of the spinning bed. But remnants
remnants because I won’t say either
is why you leave and why you come back.


Mantes That Summer

The first came as a stain on the air

the humming birds misread for sky

removing a post-it note from the mirror

diamond eye on the sticklike end

the wife of the doctor found

there were live intruders in that woman’s house

From stone eggs the second emerged

the starving end of a fingernail

and this soft tune played to its eating

so that heat pure heat would be the nest

and her children’s chants

to the third sandrock abdomen

Maybe months before the fourth sighting

no longer anyone’s wife

under the button of a sleeve to touch

now forbidden to speak of it more so

the fifth between pages in tucking

bladed edge’s underneathly twinkle

The children make her in

her hands and ache is un-lived yet

quickly, say what you’ll take up


Alex Rieser is the author of Emancipator (New Fraktur Press, 2011), and has internationally published poetry, fiction, interviews, and criticism. He holds an MFA from The University of San Francisco, where he worked as the Chief Art, & Poetry editor for Switchback. His works have appeared in, or are forthcoming from: Ploughshares, Transfer, Idiolexicon, Quiet Lightning, NoD, Leveler, The Ignatian, Switchback, Esque, Corium, Sprung Formal, Shady Side Review, Foothill, Great Weather for Media, The Prague Review, Fat City, The Portland Review, and Feathertale. He currently lives in San Diego with his wife and two dogs.

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