The Peace of Wild Things
by Ariana D. Den Bleyker
There’s a primal peel and pull to this chap, a hungry animal ripping strips of reluctant flesh from its meal. It might read like a loss to some, burying, re-burying, and unearthing again, but in this litany of exposed bone and steaming viscera, there’s a resonant note of hopefulness, a fire kindling finally, finally, on a cold night deep in the wood, wolves huffing in the brush. It feels, for all the violence and mourning, like a recovery. Even in the frenzy of a carcass stripped, someone is fed. (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
AN EXCERPT FROM THE OPENING POEM “THE FUTURE IS AN ANIMAL”
I dream I am wolf, dream larger things until,
no face remaining, hair grows through floor-
boards, teeth in concrete and claws from brick,
what is proper only in bone. My coat rips away
from closed eyes, hunger, open hand: touch.
AND AN EXCERPT FROM A LATER IN THE COLLECTION, “THE HEART EXPANDS IN BLACK SOIL”
I dreamed of hunting wild boars, burying
two beating hearts. You called out, pointed
toward the sky. We stretched substance
into shadow, imagined ourselves yoked,
hooves torn & bloody, knowing we used
to say too much until it wasn’t enough.
We listened intently, heard the hearts
beat together, rip apart in silence. It was
more than quiet & wrong to call it peaceful.
I’ll make my own bones of this,
ABOUT THE POET
Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in Upstate New York, a wife, mother of two, a writer and an editor. When she’s not editing or writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of several poetry chapbooks and collections, including Wayward Lines, Strangest Sea and Beautiful Wreckage, the novelette, Finger : Knuckle : Palm and the experimental memoir, prosthesis.
ABOUT THE COVER ARTISTS
Nicci Mechler & Jonathan Rountree have been making art together for years, ever since they met in an undergraduate ceramics class at Northern Kentucky University, and learned the hard lesson that in raku firing as in life, measure twice, transport red-hot ceramics via wiggly tongs once. That story is available over drinks. Tweet us.
The Peace of Wild Things (Porkbelly Press, 2015)
Dark Water (Number 13 Press, 2015)
Wayward Line (RAWArT Press, 2015)
Beautiful Wreckage (Flutter Press, 2015)
Hatched from Bone (Flutter Press, 2014)
Finger, Knuckle, Palm (LucidPlay Publishing, 2014)
Prosthesis (Lummox Press, 2014)
There’s something of the grit of fairytales in The Peace of Wild Things. Something enchanting, old-timey, strung together with words that punch a rhythm out while deftly navigating the sounds of the written word. These poems dare you to touch the feathers and the bones of discomfort. To lay there on the forest floor and discover your own wild things, to embrace them, elegant or bloody—or both.
—E. Kristin Anderson, author of A Guide for the Practical Abductee and Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night.
“Dickinson writes, “A wounded deer leaps highest,” and in a movement of 15 poems, Den Bleyker shows us just how high that wounded deer can rise—each poem fuses the beauty and violence of nature, the casual cruelty of the natural order of things, as something that is simultaneously terrifying, intoxicating, and necessary for evolution. Wolves, deer, crows, wild boar, salmon, and all manner of songbirds—from chickadees and thrushes to cardinals and finches—populate the lines of the poems, each of them stitched together with the human voice of “you” and “me”, who at times run together as a pack and at other times hopelessly leap upstream, towards their death and away from each other.”
—Allie Marini via Rhizomatic Ideas / Zoetic Press