Jonathan Simkins
AFTER EMILY WILCOX’S BEAST OF BURDEN





It is very cold,
                there are strange stars near Arcturus,

Voices are crying an unknown name in the sky

                        -Archibald MacLeish

On the appointed day the north sky
Condemned us to a shared sun.

We were too pure for burning light,
Too naked for wind and rock to honor.

The arc of heaven saw fit
To blind us to familiar earth.

They skinned us for a cloud voice
Who championed their dominion.

Now fires are raging past the mountains,
Ships are plowing through blood seas

Under the blackness of starfire,
And robes anoint us, exalt us,

Imprison us to human holiness,
Hubris, and unalloyed recklessness.

Bear greatness still beating in this breast
Weeps and rejoices for the glacier’s melting.





AFTER ERIN ASMUSSEN’S DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY





You were coming in through the wall
With the chattering teeth of the fly God

Mouths opened one by one
From every shining pore
Of my body

Letting in with the light
The meanings of light

Behind which swinging door
Your body is twisting

Around the tree
That is my body

Baucis and Philemon
Or arboreal codependency

Power of the tea leaves
Fiercer than any longing





AFTER ERIN ASMUSSEN’S DEBUT





I’ll let you know
When the scorpions come

When the balloons rise
Without your body

And the monsters
Coveting your dress

Settle for bloody tentacles
In your sewer kingdom

From an inverted spire
You’ll watch the space

Where your skull was
Alighting in the mist

White like smoke
Like a blind baby

Born in the caves
Praying to be human





AFTER KEITH GOBLE’S SWINGIN’ HAMMERS





Surely the structure fires have turned to plowshares.
Switchblade clouds wither and fade in the moonlight,

A golden aura triangulates the eastern horizon,
And the quiet insistences of stone have risen

With the granite fist and assembled masters
To tame an acre for a cache of souls.

Trees and mountains retain their voices
In the bricks, inheriting through second sight

Routes to the keyhole of builder’s blood,
A covenant of sovereignty and sacrifice.

A king has come to ratify a world,
And all the elements abide with him.

The mind of the oak is in his hand
Driving its chi through the hammer’s fall.

The pounding heart of the mountain’s core
Will never leave the music of these houses.





RELIQUARY





I love those spirits
That men stand off and point at,
Or shudder and hood up their souls-
Those ruined ones

                        -Lola Ridge

Because where it ravages both past and future
Looked alluringly mortal in its animal decay.

Because our magnetism for desolate places
Was neither cause nor cure but simple condition.

Because the need for hatred had not yet
Found a source to reverse itself from.

Because intimate fire and sacral water
Forge bonds stronger than vows of ghosts.

Because what was ancient and alone
Renewed itself in the balmy Florida air.

Because inside the man and woman
The boy and girl saw their likeness.

Because the cold lights lit the void
With my glittering words to shield you.

Because no sky will ever collapse on us
More crushing than the one we shared.





Jonathan Simkins lives in Denver, Colorado. His poetry has been published in Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Literary Orphans, Lost Coast Review, Nomadic Journal, and Wilderness House Literary Review, among others.

Erin Asmussen is an artist currently living in Deadwood, South Dakota after spending 16 years in Denver, Colorado while attending the Art Institute and performing a series of creative jobs including sculpting mannequins and large scale play lands. Erin found happiness in the art world and began to show her personal work in 2004, with a broad range from wood carving, papier-mâché, recycled object art, clay, painting and more.

Keith Goble is a painter and multimedia artist residing in Denver, Colorado. You can find him at Helikon Gallery in Studio #212 for most First Fridays and art events.

Emily Wilcox is originally from Kentucky, and currently based in Denver, where she makes oil paintings, collages, and drawings.

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 Swingin' Hammers by Keith Goble   acrylic on door, 30" x 80" 
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 Doors of Opportunity, Erin Asmussen   acrylic on canvas, 8" x 8" 
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 Beast of Burden by Emily Wilcox   oil on canvas (3 panels), 50" x 71" 
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 Debut by Erin Asmussen    acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"