Three Poems by Askold Skalsky

Odyssey of a Deconstructed Head
Like a snap down the forking path of a decentered garden, he untied her from the master narrative of life. Overspilling with rage, he grasped after the ungraspable, a claw hammer, which he brought down on her head, resolving discrepancies through a final definition. Then, shunning discursive representations, he began to cut up her body. For several days he hacked and sawed in the bedroom, sheets spread on plastic, curtains tightly drawn, a Frankenstein eluding the regime of ordered worlds and meditating on the unsayable. Then he drove south, taking his daughters and letting the inconceivable gain presence in the white plastic bags he brought, full with his wife’s parts that he threw off the White Cliffs near Dover, staging what only dreams allow, while the girls sat in the car, unknowingly eating their crisps and drinking bottles of soda. What  remains concealed is not merely the repressed and unconscious, he thought, as he baked her head in the oven back home. It is the unimaginable itself, maybe even the incommensurate, and he added the hands and toes, turning the gas up eight notches so the heat would disguise the features of the cooked face past all critical framing. But the substance for which words already exist took its toll: a dog unearthed the skull a year later, where he had buried it on a golf course, bringing the play of his deception into meaning. He confessed all, further reducing the unidentifiable realm of pattern and ending the domain of multiplicity—fissures in the center of the real.

Modernity’s Placetobe—Post, Anti, and Post-Post
… that all their eggs of self-deception notwithstanding, did
supply the plicate-precious knowledge later to be steamed
and esteemed as brothy insights into a mysterious contingency,
yet one must still insist, like ancient Roman ways—Siste viator
by the wayside tomb—to remind and remand the misconceptions
spilled out on their bodies’ sallow skin of variegated aged sheen,
their business out for all to see, under a future perfect hundred
pounds of stone, yea, that they did so and sow while trying to
void this massy product of a febrile wit for something other
than the other, the locus loculi of unknown knowing, a breach
into which they furiously plunge—Oh tangency, what is your
name? The evitable aspiration without prefix, without relation
and its obscene horizontal charge, a particular locality believing
itself the monomanic universe that delves its plot in every
narratival mass, habit-bound, construable, while deeming some
extra-territorial truth and extratemporal decidability, deeming
a viscous-vacuous transpar­ency of the provisional, the always
apterous condition of our skeletal core, damming and dooming
themselves, grand boneyard narratologists of planetary certainty,
of ambi-this and ambi-that in every sin and sign, dimming their
selves to lucidate the orga-regulous, classi-gorizable disorder
of the world …

Philosophers—foxes that settle for munching
weeds instead of grapes, or like Faust’s servant who
grubs for gold yet beams when he finds worms—
fall short of the unattainable depth of true discern.
When every veil comes off, the statue stands
revealed in all its blinding nakedness and ease
as the ontologic drive of our unease, no less,
not meager surrogates or dress. But we have an
anodyne of superior kind to make our philosophic
kine loll about in barns and fields, and even behind
golden shields. And the particulate capsule of high art
is led to play its substitutive part, so that I aver
in underwhelming verse—every epoch gets
the metaphysics it deserves. Good and hard.

About the Poet
Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky is a retired college professor living in Frederick, Maryland. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines and online journals in the USA as well as in literary publications in Europe, Canada, and Australia. A first collection, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011.