ACCELERANT · BILL YARROW
The poems in accelerant reflect a probing, inventive mind. As we read, we are taken on an extraordinary and powerful journey deep into our psyche. Yarrow infuses modern-day culture with unbounded grace and lyrical wit.
Robert Vaughan, author of Funhouse
THE WHOLE DEBT
just as I was launching my life, extending the web of my friendships, adding magicians, librarians, architects, horticulturalists, house lawyers, horse lawyers, CIOs, videographers, EFL instructors, instructional designers…
just when the langoustines had me by the throat, when the side exits were all blocked, when the nacreous clouds began to move in, when the power grid was stretched to breaking, when the atrial gas main was poised for rupture, when the Mad River was rising, when the medallions of my palms were beginning to itch…
just when the air was loud with the sound of invisible mockery, when the world, paralyzed by littleness, was becoming dull, when all the birds headed for the bourbon hidden in the corn, when cheers of ill will resounded from the abandoned sawmill, when craven acolytes were craving ions…
just when the sky was dark with birds, the ground black with snakes, the river choked with otters, the mesa teeming with beetles, the mountains pocked with bees…
my stepparents slammed the door of the oven of the soufflé of death and the feisty yeast of conjured life began to rise.
POET BETWEEN OXNARD AND VAN NUYS
The butter of summer was melting onto
the toast of the town, a town which I had
visited only in dreams, dreams I had failed
to remember despite earnest attempts
to recall their evocative details, details
so reverberant they made the old men
outside the café sob with happiness
for their outmoded childhoods among
the tangled brambles and dry rivers
as they remembered soft rendezvous with lovers
long lost to futures unclouded by intrigue.
It was the summer of mutton, the summer of
jellyfish and jacaranda. The gypsy caterpillars,
had commandeered the lobby of the fortress.
One rolling hill reconsidered its profile
and decided to light out for fiery Iowa.
Sunlamps flashed off and on in a Morse code
of bitter inconsequence. Dilations of happy
mockery, indices of jocular boxes, tropes
of moroseness, modular degeneration and
fascist neuralgia – the preternatural detritus
of opulence leading to no end but one – optimism.
A universe of pearls, a multiverse of swine.
Cultivated fields of alternating texture.
There is no privilege in description, but neither
is there license in horizon. What of the solitary
bougainvillea – not in molly, not even in bloom.
But what harm can six beers do before noon?
What bad can happen in a stand of trees?
Who dare interrupt the symmetry of tilled
hills or planted vines? “It’s getting foggy,”
said the man beneath the incarnadine hat.
But the inviolet sun had other ideas.
To the music of fronds cascading from blonde trees,
the beach, decked in swim vestments, preoccupied
by scorpion waves, retreated from boxer crabs corralled
by rat-hair orphans wearing ill-fitting Jasper hats
and I thought, the only thing continuous is time.
How strange to look out at waves from a train. How
odd for sand dunes to roll past the eye. How otherworldly
to have train tracks parallel the dolphin road. Unsettling
to see the landscape ripple and crest and churn.
I had gone north looking for rescue. I found it sitting
in a rental train looking out at the passenger coast.
About the Author
Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and an editor at the online journal Blue Fifth Review, is the author of Against Prompts, The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and five chapbooks, most recently We All Saw It Coming. His work also appears in the anthologies Aeolian Harp, This is Poetry: The Midwest Poets, and Beginnings: How 14 Poets Got Their Start. He has been widely published in both national and international journals and has been nominated eight times for a Pushcart Prize.
Copyright © 2019 Bill Yarrow
Cover photograph by Lauren Leja
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