Poetry: Emily Vogel


There are sound barriers among abundances of snow. From the house, I can hear a man’s voice like a distant shotgun. My newborn daughter gasps delightedly at the sight of an inanimate object. She smiles as she sleeps. The world is otherwise full of concrete and rumors all about zombies. Others claim that God is definitely a hoax of the highest order. A clock determines all relevant narratives. You are drowsy. You laugh as you watch very old movies. This sequestering from the snow is a type of indemnity, a reason not to get shot to death on an ordinary day at the supermarket. Meanwhile, the world is desperate to go on existing, and God’s unassailable love is on many desperate radios.

An Ear, The Forest, Or?

I am meant to be a shadow
in the shape of a tree. The issue is.
I dreamt this, and some ambitious commentary
about the 1920s. I’m sure
that some very important people witnessed this,
stuffed their mouths
with some variety of shellfish. The room
was dimly lit, the guests wont
to a drunk ecstasy. Everything seemed
critical as a trailing of eloquent words.
I woke to the sound of a desperate child,
your desire for the eternal breaking point
temporarily housed in the silence of sleep.
They said this was necessary.
God is long road, the pavement paled
with early sunlight. It is cold
and the inside of my mouth feels insipid.
I would like a glass of water.
The issue is. A saint only arises
out of inevitable things. You return home
having hauled a whole mountain
on your back. I speak to the desperate child
in Hebrew inflections, the music
rising like the timbres
of your unquiet soul. The issue is.
A sense of the unquiet soul reverberates
off of these lonely walls. I noticed this morning
that the wallpaper was tearing.
It was beautiful, squalid, something
to note like an occasion. It is a cause
for discussion. God is a long road,
a longing for intimate discussions.
The desperate child sleeps in the midst
of dissent, her body
expanding like breath. I would like
a glass of water. But play that music
one more time. It is like blood in crisis.
It is orgasmic, pivitol, a breaking point
that sings like something violate
in an abiding ear.
And the ear is the forest, in the dark,
where everything is holy and complicated.
Sometimes, in the forest
there is rain, the mind escaped to nothing,
and I cannot relent
in these offerings of grace.

Remaining indoors during the winter months indemnifies a sort of shield from the displeasure of extreme cold and blinding snow. I’ve always felt that I am somewhat dead during the winter months, passing through the colorless world as if a ghost. Things feel almost erased, nullified, absent, in some dormant holding cell of time. Any noise, however slight, on a quiet day in the winter is an event to be noted. These poems, along with the others in the manuscript, “First Words” were all written in the winter, following the recent birth of my first child. While she slept, the poems arose as if from the graves of a consciousness that seemed both attentive and inattentive to itself all at once. How aware are we of our consciousness, of what it truly understands and desires? Through the winter months, time was measured by my daughter’s sleep cycles. I slept with her and dreamt, or dreamt awake while she slept. The poems might be located in a spot on the brain where, even while awake, dreams are still active, and where the dreamer hasn’t quite fully entered the physical world. It is necessary that we are always aware, even if only peripherally, of the narratives that exist beyond just our birth and unto our deaths, that there is always something larger, more omniscient, and schematic, if not also more misunderstood.

155005_565048493507430_95198630_nEmily Vogel’s poetry has been published in numerous journals, most recently in San Pedro River Review, Lyrelyre, Maggy, Lips, The Paterson Literary Review, and The Journal of New Jersey Poets. She has published five chapbooks: most recently Digressions on God (Main Street Rag, author’s choice series, 2012). The Philosopher’s Wife, a full-length collection, was published in 2011 (Chester River Press). She has work forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Tiferet, and 2 Bridges Review. She is the poetry editor of the online journal Ragazine, and teaches writing at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College. She finds solace at home with her husband, the poet and essayist, Joe Weil, and their daughter, Clare.