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Notes for National Corpse Month, Part Six

June in Smoke

I became the corpse, because—and then, it floats away again.
—Alice Notley, In the Pines

June in Smoke

recall, translucent and disposable, the remaining corpses.
—Roberto Tejada, Lost Continent

June in Smoke

And one day the age will rise,
Like a corpse in a spring river—
—Anna Akhmatova, In 1940
(translated from the Russian by D.M. Thomas)

As if a delicate corpse followed in the shadow.
—Georg Trakl, Limbo
(translated from the German by Jim Doss & Werner Schmitt)

the forest mirrored in green, red, and black corpses, dermoid without skeletons or organs.
—Leslie Scalapino, Floats Horse-floats or Horse-flows

June in Smoke

On behalf of the wolf and all of us,
get out of the forest smiling corpse
who gorges on pain and death.
—Karena Youtz, The Western Screech Owl

June in Smoke

Under the flowers of green pinks, one illusory corpse sleeps
—Sakutarō Hagiwara, Pinks and a Blue Cat
(translated from the Japanese by Hiroaki Sato)

the corpse is not luminous/vines dangerous/flowers profuse
as in an arbitrary Eden.
—Ann Lauterbach, In the Museum of the Word

June in Smoke

An old-fashioned corpse hangs in the wood behind the sanatorium
A butterfly embroidered in the folds of her blue skirt
—Yang Chichang, Veins and Butterflies
(translated from the Chinese by John Balcom)

the dawn air and the night air,
bird-stretchings and bear-hangings
and pillowed corpse on corpse.
—Medbh McGuckian, The Realm of Nothing Whatever

June in Smoke

a headless corpse pours out vivid red blood in a river to the open pillow which drinks it in like a parched meadow.
—Charles Baudelaire, A Martyr
(translated from the French by Keith Waldrop)

Rise up on our throne of blood call it CORPSE MOUNTAIN built from what intangibles uncertain.
—Cassandra Troyan, Throne of Blood

June in Smoke

“so that god would bleed me into
a bloody mary

taking children back into the corpse’s
airborne form

when they had not been fleshed from
a border's vein”
—Lucas de Lima, Terraputa

June in Smoke

You walk these dried out roads
that called for the sun to make a corpse of you,
a blind child of God
who grows accustomed to navigating
beneath a thorny sky.
—María Baranda, Ficticia
(translated from the Spanish by Joshua Edwards)

draining the sound of walking,
shreds of bark and motes of corpses
—Gillian Conoley, Advent

we walked through the park refugees of tornadoes and corpses abandoned before the dead
—Samuel Ace, The height baffled me

June in Smoke

One day whooping, miles between corpses
—Brenda Iijima, Untimely Death is Driven Out Beyond the Horizon

June in Smoke

There are living corpses in the mouth of infants
—Joyce Mansour, There Are Intersections
(translated from the French by Gaelle Raphael)

In the dream song the corpses fall from the mouths of the children.
—Daniel Borzutzky, Good Morning, Ruin

June in Smoke

the streets are covered with corpses whose mouths
open to the spring
—Etel Adnan, The Arab Apocalypse

June in Smoke

Would you know how to use the currents of the bitter tide
To rush into the underbrush of exorbitant corpses
—Joyce Mansour, Flash Card
(translated from the French by Mary Beach)

June in Smoke

if blood doesn't flow from your glorious body and the flames of other times become subsumed in lost favors, feel not that the fever that overcomes you is a corpse deep inside your weary body
—Lila Zemborain, Mauve Sea-Orchids
(translated from the Spanish by Rosa Alcalá & Mónica de la Torre)

June in Smoke

Every corpse describes
                the orifice it
was intended to conceal
—Lawrence Giffin, Christian Name

June in Smoke

Are you a branch in the hand of the unwell?
I am a corpse without will.
—Rob Schlegel, The Lesser Fields

June in Smoke

Everything lays its corpse like a white coral
on light's wasteland.
—Fujita Fumie, In Illness
(translated from the Japanese by Hiroaki Sato)

June in Smoke

a whole corpse rises blushing and newly elastic.
—Kimiko Hahn, In Childhood

The corpse engorged with pale sky, and gracious from dawn.
—Purdey Lord Kreiden, Scolopendrum

an orange bloom at dawn
behind the corpse of pinto’s father strewn on train tracks
—Lucas de Lima, pinto (“chick” and slang for “penis” in portuguese)

June in Smoke

My marrow curdles phosphorescent
with shame we trees winter back to belly & turn
again candled & sinking gnats above the meatfisted hole

in the new corpse’s waxy neck.
—Jennifer MacKenzie, What Happens on the Moon

June in Smoke

Be dazzled like a jeweled vagina or an improved corpse.
—Joyelle McSweeney, ARS POETICA, or, I wanted to unlock my phone

I TOO AM A QUEEN WEARING HER CORONET OF PEARLS
MY CROWN DOES NOT FALL ASHORE & SHATTER AMID OUR CORPSES HEWN OF PETALS
—Lucas de Lima, Wet Land

June in Smoke

But I feared she was a corpse, or some sort of pupal life, deathlike before returning
—Dan Beachy-Quick, A Point That Flows

Pupa within a large corpse-flower
smells like the most beautiful
perfume you could ever possibly imagine:
I’m dead! I smell great!
—Amy Lawless, Mayfly

June in Smoke

Sometimes I imagine
the relief death brings, not to be melodramatic,
more matter-of-factly. In spring I’m supposed
to think about rebirth. Instead, empty lots
of dead grass & Eliot’s planted corpses.
—Gina Myers, False Spring

and the buzzards are on the corpse that is amidst the grass.
—Leslie Scalapino, The Return of Painting, the Pearl, and Orion

June in Smoke

there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee
—Federico Garcia Lorca, City That Does Not Sleep
(translated from the Spanish by Robert Bly)

Already I was nothing;
Mold formed on stale bread,
repeated piss stains on the wall,
a maggot-covered corpse
a thousand years old.
—Seungja Choi, Already I
(translated from the Korean by Won-Chung Kim & Cathy Park Hong)

June in Smoke

subtle dementia hosting steaming maggots aching in ecstasy, diminishing phantom corpses
—Adam Rabasca, Mischling

June in Smoke

Have you ever seen
a corpse.
                    Whatever it is, they are, it’s also burned?
—Carrie Lorig, To Lie Down / in an Attempt

June in Smoke

Does the necro-social order work for you? Are you a future mourner or a future murderer or a future corpse?
—Anne Boyer, On Poetry #10: All of a sudden the city on fire

June in Smoke

Did I tell you I saw corpses piled up inside the well in Pyongyang?
—Don Mee Choi, Hydrangea Agenda

Is the body a corpse already dreaming of the sky, feeling in this life the flesh picked-off by vulture-angels?
—Thom Donovan, Charnel Ground

June in Smoke

FOR THE ANXIETY OF PREMATURE BURIAL HOW TO DETECT LIFE IN A CORPSE
—Ally Harris, For the Anxiety of Premature Burial …

June in Smoke

Where's the corpse?
—Alice Notley, Songs & Stories of the Ghouls

You mean the corpse got up and walked itself away?
—Samuel Ace & Maureen Seaton, the grief of rivers

The plant fuse instead vivifying cool corpselight?
—Kate Schapira, Questions for Witches

June in Smoke

Did we meet as we gnawed on a corpse and rolled around inside the grave?
—Kim Hyesoon, The Rat Race
(translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi)

It was already too late when I dug into the grave, the corpse that had already been devoured by rats showed up and my back ached.
—Kim Hyesoon, Silent Night, Holy Night
(translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi)

June in Smoke

When I don't see
Corpses, I count living people as corpses.
—Linh Dinh, Live to Count

to you
my embittered people who count your corpses without howling.
—Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine, Epoch
(translated from the French by Gaelle Raphael)

June in Smoke

the living are fine with a corpse
—Tomaž Šalamun, Chiunque Giunge Le Mani
(translated from the Slovenian by Michael Biggins)

June in Smoke

how (if?) one becomes a Corpse, on purpose
there would be _ in the Person that you love
a pit of gravity.
—Jared Joseph & Sarah Peck, Here You Are

June in Smoke

I think I nonchalantly said, This smiling pancake has the exact same face of my grandmother’s corpse when it appeared to me as cake.
—Jackie Wang, Peplophoros as the World with Her Head Lopped Off

June in Smoke

If you love someone who has died, cling to the body, embrace the corpse, cut a lock of hair from her head, and once the body is removed, continue to speak to her every day.
—Laynie Browne, September Shall Never End

Now that I don’t have to walk backwards
to disguise my prints, I can refuse to die
from coronary or clutch my father’s corpse
—Bill Carty, An Almost Cosmic Joy Swept Over the Darkened Cities

but I can’t even dry the corpse of a family member.
—Department of Posthumous Letters, In Ancient Times Anything That Deviated From the Norm Was Considered An Omen of Ill-Luck

June in Smoke

He calls it a house to hold
his love, a house to hold
the corpses
—Rob Schlegel, January Machine

June in Smoke

and twice
now you’ve confused the scene of
a hacked up corpse with the
end of another horrifying chronicle which—
of course—couldn’t have happened exactly
the way you explained it—
—Caryl Pagel, The Heart

June in Smoke

Kind of like people monads corpses global
Effects of the multitude
—Thom Donovan, The Hole

June in Smoke

Corpse that keeps you company
            Like a woman,
Through the billable month
            Like a woman,
Each of your nonnative
            Like a woman,
Countries cooling, pink sunsetting
            Like a woman,
Your fine laborious recourse
            Like a woman,
Or recalling services you provided in them
            Like a woman,
Red and black of poems in them
            Like a woman,
Language to ascribe some violence in them
            Like a woman,
Bills flower from her mouth, a kind of debt
            Like a woman,
Floral arrangement, red and black
            Like a woman,
Her corpse keeps no one company
—Quinn Latimer, Corpse Life or, Live from Athens

June in Smoke

Parts of my corpse are laid out on a table—Someone
has destroyed my work,
reconstructing it as a person
—Alice Notley, Culture of One

this golden corpse veil
is elegant indeed but
murderous in debt
sold out to
death shroud apologists
—Cassandra Troyan, Kill Manual

June in Smoke

theres a violent atmosphere there are corpses, but there are, arent there and someone who is with us, but he is
—Alice Notley, Benediction

June in Smoke

The repugnance of this spirit
                who sails into the past
                                to lean over
                                whom he’s not sure
                                                is a corpse
                                                            or a human somnolent
—Michael Thomas Taren, In Smithereens

June in Smoke

Corpse confused with a bolt of cloth
—Myung Mi Kim, Commons

Grossly mistaking the corpses | grossly mistaking
—Brenda Iijima, Untimely Death is Driven Out Beyond the Horizon

June in Smoke

I saw two men wheeling forth a dead body
into the back of an unmarked hearse today
Their voices were too loud for my hangover
But I “gave them a break”
as talking raucously allowed
the corpse’s presence to be maybe less vivid
to their passing job duties
The body, its torso, limbs,
looked so flat under the tight blue tarp
—Amy Lawless, Corpse Pose

June in Smoke

the beggar’s corpse on the floor
of a port authority restroom
—Amber Atiya, the fierce bums of doo-wop

June in Smoke

and the crowd hears the scratching of the captive humans and their fingernails upon that hard roof, the earth, and also the fingertips of uncounted corpses tapping
—Anne Boyer, Il Pie Fermo

June in Smoke

                    the dead body too      slowly
strips off      the transient corpse
            and stands up
life is like light
—Kazuko Shiraishi, My Floating Mother, City

June in Smoke

Spread
So swiftly tastes like mud. Dredged mud off
The corpse sled hushed down woodsmoke.
—Lynn Xu, Earth Light: I

June in Smoke

A book remained edging his waist,
a book was sprouting from his dead corpse.
—César Vallejo, Spain, Take This Cup From Me
(translated from the Spanish by Clayton Eshleman)

On the page the readers find themselves crawling around like quadrupeds with hands full of grass and earth uprooting plants and trees setting out for home and not getting far counting corpses on the fields to hell with animals
—Daniel Borzutzky, The Book of Non-Writing

My memory has a belt of corpses!
—Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
(translated from the French by Clayton Eshleman & Annette Smith)

June in Smoke

I know when the deer know
it’s raining. Their corpses vault over me
on their way to the sun.
—Sara Nicholson, Lives of the Poets

this tender fish within the sun and this corpse in the yellow lake
I gave my blessing to the dumps
—Etel Adnan, The Arab Apocalypse

June in Smoke

the noon rotted in
the flowery scent
of corpse-vapor
—Richard Greenfield, from Tracer

June in Smoke

Milking the handle of an axe, corpsethieves
steady each other into a corridor.
—Joshua Marie Wilkinson, The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal

June in Smoke

a turquoise husk of light hastily fuses with the yellowlike zinc tints of the corpses of a few eyelashes to sketch the pastel turf gently rotting on the inside membrane
—Purdey Lord Kreiden, From/Goit Helum

—then we mayde use
from corpse-smell
strong as if it were insyde
my own mouthe
—Christine Hume, Log Written by an Unknown Hand in the Margin

June in Smoke

The zero’s blank corpse sounds over crops erotic as gas
—Sandra Simonds, These days are Malthusian Footnotes

June in Smoke

A corpse rotting under the eaves of spirit
A corpse that will never be found, or missed.
—Michael Thomas Taren, .... |..... |..

and more corpses than larvae in a rotten
pond
we are guilty of innocence
—Etel Adnan, Jebu

June in Smoke

                              on the matter of corpses
                                             not the Catholic church            not a
morality play            a hand is just a hand until you make it something
—Deborah Poe, The Morgue

June in Smoke

at the corner the dew
on the corpse awaits stiff
unaware of the many purposeless
strings it holds in its hand
—Amelia Rosselli, Sleep
(translated from the Italian by Amelia Rosselli)

June in Smoke

When we lie down to sleep at the bottom of the darkness, we are nearly as content as the corpses around us.
—Tada Chimako, From a Woman of a Distant Land
(translated from the Japanese by Jeffrey Angles)

June in Smoke

even the Holy Face is just a Mold
that is as if there only is
the country that is Darkness-and-Holy-Face
Epoch-Is-A-Corpse
—Gennady Aygi, Now Always Snow
(translated from the Russian by Sarah Valentine)

June in Smoke

And like a landscape of earth rising with the
earth our faces start to rise up out of our dead
faces and then, as the stones speak, as the earth
speaks, I speak to you, corpse of me, love of
me, bones of me, small round pupil of all the
love that rises and is the song of your eyes
looking at me.
—Raúl Zurita, INRI
(translated from the Spanish by William Rowe)

June in Smoke

Until I am not even that corpse
In the river not even my atoms
Broken up into parts of the river
And parts of the earth and parts
Of the sky until I am departed
Not by fire but by choice to be
Washed away from the world
Against my will and to wipe
The world away as I go into
What once I saw as awful sadness
And which now I do not see but am
—Matthew Henriksen, Defense

June in Smoke

They left him and listened, and it is then
that the corpse
almost lived secretly, for an instant
—César Vallejo, Spain, Take This Cup From Me

June in Smoke

However, a corpse is an abyss of sound. Nobody hears the corpse calling out.
—Bhanu Kapil, Ban (May 27, 2012)

June in Smoke

Parse the body. even. if the
Body is. still. a corpse
We can’t. even find
The corpses.
—Thom Donovan, The Unsalvageable

June in Smoke

A vow
is a corpse
and bait,

luring the void.
—Dot Devota, The Division of Labor

June in Smoke

Corpses are virgin.
—Mina Loy, Photo After Pogrom

June in Smoke

NOTE: The photograph of the woman in the woods was taken by my sister, Kelly Shimoda, of our paternal grandmother, June (Chizuko Yamashita) Shimoda, in Denver, North Carolina.

SEE ALSO: Notes for National Corpse Month, Parts One, Two, Three, Four & Five.

Originally Published: April 30th, 2015
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Brandon Shimoda is the author of several books of poetry, including O Bon (Litmus Press, 2011) and Evening Oracle (Letter Machine Editions, 2015), which won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also the co-editor, with Thom Donovan, of To look at the sea is to become what one...