G.C. Waldrep

October 19, 2015 Waldrep G.C.



intel/cromlech, arch & splay
five-finger’d, the soul
pours as thrum
anoint/bequest, earth’s

blooded in Name, touch
to affliction,        (—gyre)

dim quern of the body
prelates a grain lichen
can’t safely suffer,
unislanded        as is all flesh

absent God we are
“meat with a dream,”
I told my friend stranded
in Cairo, she
was reading Luther

something light fled,
a threshing-verb
& fawn-kingdom

lust’s percussive temblor
in the evergreens
baptize & exhale
I have wanted both more
& less (than this)

in the midpoint of a pure
Sound           in the midpoint
of a clean encumbrance
I am laced (& unlaced)

purpose me O you
red wound
ablaze with Nation,
a meadow rises
into the body’s rest

as one furling lung
cleft of thread’s mosque
or compound           fracture,
the heart veers
pleaward, a green music

a slivering tightness
in the azure         sheath-gait,
(the body’s prescient quoit)

proprioception hesitates
(cavitates), filtering
body          from not-body
a potable physick

placed on repeat
the forest remembers
its first self             Marry me
cries the cruciform flame

I would bring two separate
lives to this cairn-
duct, enhespering

honey’s impact limns
this saline oculus
day’s scab, gently smoldering
Christ in the standing-place
[see:  rest (the idea of)]

(“meat with a dream”)
-in-waiting     (-O)


oh life I could have
(wanted)         waking now
from its winter sleep
into beauty’s
hearth, dawn’s un-
remaindered semaphore

church-bled prayerlight
set within a resin-
mesh, memory’s clerestory
ash-man, waste-kingdom

phosphorescence, vs.
(—planish this memory)

love’s fire-dream
within myth (lily-lift,
or vertical flesh system
trumpeting blade
in my shining-places

you may reach out
& touch it, love’s
voiled spectrum, it is not
a skin (tho’ touchable)

my sly & umbral holt
burrs this sky-leat
the blind walk, the deaf see
heal this solecism

pilgrim me, temple
of Christ’s red amplitude
piercing the glen
a thousand glass eyes
cast lesionward

or bells miscegenate
(we touch
with our twin drums)
haptic centrifuge
punched      from dew’s bone

say meat blossoms
into some other
dream, say      we are present
(purled moon of thrust

suckle me, all flying things
brew your high nectars
above my caul
’s insensate chemistry

baptismal trump,
deft chi-rho           inscribed
wheat’s haptic fragment

pocks this circumflex, e.g.
is like this, a broken window
a burning milk

the slow, steady pulse
of breath, its wretched
field      your vegetable heat
louvers, blots

the green wound
language’s ghost
among almost everything,
sweat’s ash & scour

the busy grave
gilds its vapors, the broad-
spread shade hums
eye-herding, unshepherding

I would tattoo this
plenty house
as one among flesh
a hem, a cup, a sleeping lamp
breath’s prong
or waking          swan

its small blue dispersal
(as from some evening bell
level, view / sheep (true)

G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are feast gently (Tupelo, 2018), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and The Earliest Witnesses (Tupelo/Carcanet, 2021).  Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Poetry, Paris Review, New England Review, Yale Review, Colorado Review, The Nation, New American Writing, Conjunctions, and other journals.  Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch.