Poetry: Brian Mornar


May 27   The sky is dotted with bright stars.  As I just wrote the word “star,” I almost
forgot what a star is.  They become bright as the eyes adjust to the dark.  I am not used to
this kind of dark.


(from one notebook to another)

Mysticism is what the eye of the lover    our father shut his to see the complete frame and
grace of the man he could not share    and as permitted he was taken into his own body
alone sees in his beloved. Anyone can have his own mysticism    the thigh of the speed-
skater, bone enwrapped, thing-in-thigh, core-in-globe such things as the den held as
conjugal strength and grace    but he must keep it to himself    and so he did in divine
collaboration not universal but in the knotty shoulders of the city during the day, a polis
blinking out Psyche, her light to find Eros’ muscular surfaces, himself posed as thigh,
brother-to-brother the darkness multiplies in the epic, a mirror of the whole
circumambient world, an image of the age
    hidden to the notebook and the children have
yet to see

[August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, Athenaeum Fragments]


Gathered them into a circle    the council of men the children found themselves between,
two men turned face to face, [so] that they might recall this subject according to the
ideas received in the former world
and the children at the arms and legs of the apartment,
at length through the ear’s passages    marriage of love & wisdom in use    the rumor of
twos and these two like in like, the eye a muscle for seeing one across for man is by
creation the least effigy, image, and type of the great heaven. The human form is nothing
and there is no ring but this house bringing one to one the infernal arches of a
doorway and so they pinned the human form to the wall to keep out the fire thence a thick
darkness upon my eyes, and [we] began to rave
firebird and I around the circle to build a
wall for them    if they are spiritual, blessed marriages are provided—but not until they
are in heaven
and we knew this would be hard work, to keep the stars entorched and the
fires out as they multiply in the great heaven under which we were thrown    we are
wheels    peals, a layer of ground    each a burying sound

[Emanuel Swedenborg, The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugal Love]

Brian MornarBrian Mornar lives in Chicago where he teaches in the English Department at Columbia College. Little Red Leaves published Three American Letters (an e-edition) in 2011, and recent work can be found in American Letters & Commentary, Volt, and Upstairs at Duroc.