In a blink: when poetry and everything else happens



.Blink Logo 5








Betta Than Meta

Here’s an idea:

in FB scroll down at say
a post a second —keep on keeping on
(maybe Meta’s your thing)
find your groove, lose yourself
in avatars and memes,
get a timely sense of your milieu,
what you’re enmeshed in now, good or ill,
a scroll of streaming truth, or not, soundless,
unless you hum a track yourself; but not downbeat,
keep it up and light or you’ll fly off rails
it might be meditative,
but whateva,
considering the stakes,
there must be something betta
than Meta

Jim Culleny, © 5/26/16, rev 3/20/23

To Thin to Spawn an Echo

from here the atmosphere’s a space so vast—
with depth enough to spawn an echo, but

seen from the moon imagine
a somewhat fat elastic band
stretched round a blue ball,
or slim mist of sweat evaporating
from the crown of a head still
clear enough to spawn an echo

imagine an aura of oxygen
held by a gauze of gravity but
with weave so slight so ephemeral yet
substantial enough to spawn an echo

try to envision something absolutely
essential but (in perfect condition) invisible,
containing the essence of life, but

now see it thick with carbon,
a saturated scarf girdling a globe
at equatorial noon muffling billions
of small voices crying, Now we see! but
too late too weak too spent too thin
to spawn even an echo

Jim Culleny


—for my bee-keeping friends H & J

bee adorned with pollen fur yellow as sun
following a helical strand of DNA flower to flower,
hauling the essence of sweet to its hive while incidentally
bearing for all the world capsules of life,
hauling a bounty of food and beauty
on its back and body

Jim Culleny

Coming by Wrong to the Right Unknown

“That I might arrive like Columbus, who came by wrong
to the right unknown”
—Rodney Jones, poet

it doesn’t matter where you start
you always end where you’d not begun
being hamstrung by what you never knew
along the way to what’s to come

when you get there, I presume,
little-known worlds are left behind,
at least it’s what the mystics say,
they recommend you seek to find;
but their promises are so obscure
you never know to where they surge—
the way, the truth, the light
sometimes seem a demiurge,
a minor cloud of hints and signs,
a myth, a mist of pointless lines
—except (in unknown’s push and shove)
the brilliant flames of

laugh and love!

Jim Culleny, 2/2/21

Flux you, Heraclitus

Life is flux.
………. —Heraclitus of Ephesus
Everything passes and everything changes
…………—Bob Dylan

….. —for B. M.

another lifelong friend has died. Sunday
part of me again vanished too—
young men together
we built things— homes,
carpenters in sync we drove spikes
through joists, hammered steel to steel
psyched by our strength and cleverness;
once you exclaimed, laughing when the wind came up
and snatched a sheet of ply from our grips,
“Flux you, Heraclitus!” ……… Now here
that philosopher’s ultimate truth is breath—
words slipping through our lips
and I want to run my car, windows wide,
down the narrow sloped canyon
of Main again, slow roll in low,
coasting as a hawk on thermals,
hearing its muffler echo, hearing its stutter
bounce off the stone façade of 1st National
and plate glass storefronts
shattering silence in the dark,
making noises louder than
mere mutter

Jim Culleny

Politics vs. Reality

“A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.” —attributed
to Ben Franklin (on the fragile lives of Democratic Republics)
“In erratic times one cannot be too attentive, too
ready to stand or duck.”
 —A. Skutočné

what’s real depends upon where a thing lands
(how far along it is from ultraviolet to infrared—
from invisible to invisible), but on the
spectrum of real, it might be said

if it’s a matter of life-or-death I’m inclined to think
whatever’s coming at me now is most real,
so I move, I snap to, I jump or duck,

but if, instead, I get lost in the contours
of the coming bumper bound to ice me,
if I’m lost in its chiaroscuro,
lost in its seductive curves,
lost in the way fenders sleek and silver slice air,
lost in its hood’s patina,
in the way its lacquered finish
creates a bright steel ambiance,
if I’m gone in its pricey logo cast in chrome

— if at that moment
my real is mere beauty, then realities collide,
aesthetics gives way to physics (the most
existential real of that moment) and the
reality of beauty and biology abruptly dies

—then too (too late) the meaning of distraction
would’ve suddenly been real, suggesting a deeper take
on the meaning of truth and lies

joy and sorrow
are both real

some say money is real
and it is, the way it wrenches things—
anything with that much clout,
anything that so shapes the mind of the world,
anything that so pummels and rips the fabric of love
is surely real

but what’s real is ephemeral as mist
(thin       thick     mortal     divine)

depending upon when and where it lands
on the spectrum of real, real is different
at different times

Jim Culleny

Socratic Martini

sitting on the cut stump of day
sipping from conical clear glass,
sundown, elastic shadows of trees stretched
lovely long and taught across grass
maybe twenty minutes before sun
sinks behind spruce spikes
animating a mountain-wave’s sine
like those of an oscilloscope
capturing electric profiles
of unseen forms as Socratic
as this transparent something in my hand
filled with sloshing invisibility
as I raise it to sip wondering what it is,
how it is, and what it will be
when shadow falls

Jim Culleny

Thursday Poem

“Maybe the greatest miracle is memory” – Brian Doyle

Father Joe

The holiest moments
were those curse words
Father Joe muttered under
his breath when some asshole
walked down the aisle or when, shit,
the choir started in too early. I always
volunteered to sit on his right so I could
hold the Bible open leaned in against my
sternum, Jesus Christ, as he read the Liturgy of the Word.
He’d gently, damnit, slide the long tassels across the pages
like a blessing. I still follow his eyes as he reads, arms
bent up from his elbows tucked into his side, palms up
Glory Be to the Highest, sonofabitch, listening
for those curse words in that sacred syntax.

by Michael Garrigan
The Echotheo Review