Abstract Expressionism

By Edward Butscher

Under the forehead

a waterfall and nymphs

sing cream


at my chest, in my pants

shafts of clotted ice

piercing heart

and penis.


This is delirium

this vacancy

a clawing at air

life in abeyance

head buried

in arms

that seem butter

from the lamp’s weak

glow, then sea foam

as restless turnings

move a bloated

carcass closer

to its brink.


I reside here, one

at a time, hung

by sloth toes

till pain reams out

my stomach

and I rise

shuffling slippers

to the bathroom

where old piles ache

and bleed

a garden storm

of nothing but

nothing’s first joy.


Objects, like remorse

for things unsaid,

people undone,

are defined

by their absence


the stumble from loss

into sudden

color, green

and gold tiles

that slam my head

backward until I am

dizzy as a housefly.


A hole: a fire: a fetus

carved from loam

curved like a frog

nosing lily pads

blooming mind

from holy



roses grown

around the steel

stem idea of a rose

thorny self-defense

from debris of other

poses, old enemies

who dip bandages

in tears, school

girls gutted

on creation.


Again, again

(cannibal rite)

I suckle my breath

then race to the throne

of vein-less butts far

from ordinary lives

outside, an opaque

window maze

where wives whistle

their lovers home

and cats hump each

other hairless, a jungle

bled soft as clouds

before frozen

into art.



Edward Butscher is the author of first biographies of Sylvia Plath and Conrad Aiken, as well as shorter books on Adelaide Crapsey and Peter Wild, much criticism, and several books of poems, most recently, Eros Descending.

Comments are closed.