Sam Rasnake

Lost Connections, Hidden Intentions

The geometry of bodies in motion –
an earlobe, eyes intent on an unknown,
a face turning – is the calculation of loss.
Breathing swells both chests to one.
Hands in a desperate search for what’s missing
would like to touch but never do.

In an overstuffed summer room, a rotating
fan gives voice to love’s impossibilities –
between beautifully frail and inevitable ruin.
Nothing connects.  Forget the mushroom cloud
of a building, the car with corpse being pulled
from a river, the scream of money.

Lamp, books, and curtain.  An ashtray
displaced, a couch too small for coupling,
or the phone’s busy signal.  None of these stay.
A wind among trees and stacks of tile
with scaffolding.  An empty street in shadow.
Water runs from barrel to storm drain.

One streetlight, in a frenzied burn of dusk to darkness,
leaves such a blinding, present absence
for the uncertain morning to find.


False Windows

Are you afraid?… of yourself? …of me?
from Ma Nuit chez Maud by Eric Rohmer

Outside the snow is like the one falling
on Clermont-Ferrand that Christmas when
Rohmer had waited years for the moment
of storm that made talk inevitable, and could not
be missed, or another year would have to come
round for the setting to work.  His art was such
a force, he commanded even the elements as prop,
as character, as silence for story – an ordinary day
given to Pascal, religious chant and choice, infidelities
into the late hours – two bodies, one room, one bed –
when talk is never just talk – feeble declarations of
a false and hidden life where desire is willed to its knees,
finally – which is what it had wanted all along –
there in the warm, cozy spaces between the words.


A House

after Edward Hopper

It must be morning.
Long bellies of cloud hug
such a thin edge of ground
there’s no way of knowing
what world the road bends to –
uncut grass, browned deep,
an after-thought of scattered pines,
this house with blinds in place
behind dark windows. Someone
still comes here, still knows.
A creak here, a scratch there,
wind at the chimney’s mouth,
then groaning under the eaves.


Sam Rasnake’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Oranges & Sardines, Shampoo, BOXCAR Poetry Review, and The Smoking Poet, as well as the anthologies Best of the Web 2009 (Dzanc Books) and Deep River Apartments (The Private Press).  His latest work, Inside a Broken Clock, a chapbook of poems, will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2010.  He edits Blue Fifth Review, an online journal of poetry and art.