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Experience Meat

by Forrest Rapier

Let long vowels be untouchable strings 
        of the Aeolian harp inside your throat.

Smooth the poem-stone with plain lingo
        for the reader. Write into the meat,

your experience-meat—cut-it-up for them
        to read. Make it easy, never hazy. Write 

unique messages that outline what-to-do
        if God just shows up one day

out of the blue. Spritz pomegranate perfume 
        like a little heart-throb

open in the palm of a prophet. Round
        out what you say with a concept

to help a groggy man who has foggy-nothing
        for a memory. Help Ralph talk to his wife 

like his tongue is the first cinema opened in Alaska
        & everybody’s jaw drops for the camera.

Try to make movies with your words, try to carve
        Mary Magdalene from scrap wood, try to run

around the neighborhood & find sublime connections
        in the picked-apart bird spine. Navigate the gorgeous

circle-of-all-experience. Listen to the beat—write rhythmic
        chasms from the phantom in your plasma. 

Pretend the world’s gone hazmat & you have to save
        every idea-seed because one day it might grow

a watermelon—nobody remembers how to cut juicy
        cubes, except you. Be sage with your voice. Give

as much as you can to the Hovering Guardians who keep
        watch above us like the gargoyles coughing

rain off the side of Notre Dame. Save what you can
        from the inevitable fires—they only want

to burn the Crown of Thorns. Keep honeypots
        inside the pantry—leave your love-door ajar.

Forrest Rapier

About Forrest Rapier

Forrest Rapier’s poetry is forthcoming in Appalachian ReviewAsheville Poetry Review, and Denver Quarterly Review. A former recipient of a University Poetry Prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets, he has held writing residencies at the University of Virginia and Brevard College. A former editor for Greensboro Review and North Carolina Writers Network, he received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he now lives and hikes the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.