Scott Minar’s new collection of poems, Cymbalism, will be published my Mammoth Books in 2015. His poems and prose have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry International, Crazyhorse, Ninth Letter, West Branch, The Laurel Review, Kentucky Review, and other journals and anthologies in
the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of The Body’s Fire (Clarellen, 2002) and The Palace of Reasons (Mammoth Books, 2006); coauthor (with Edward Dougherty) of Exercises for Poets: Double Bloom (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006); and editor of The Working Poet: 75 Writing Exercises and a Poetry Anthology (Autumn House, 2009) and The Working Poet II (Mammoth Books, 2014). He has taught at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Antioch College, Bowling Green State University, Ohio University, and Elmira College. He is currently Professor of English at Ohio University Lancaster.
Boethius said, “You can write poetry,
or you can make art. Choose one.”
Insidious wasn’t sure he knew
the difference, so he went to the Underworld
to ask. Boethius was sitting
on a rock shelling aphorisms
when he arrived. There was a sign
in the dirt before him that read—
Knock on his forehead
if you want to talk.
It sounded like a wooden chime
or embolism in there. So they spoke
for hours about qui habet aures,
which version of art or philosophy
to write in prison or Rome.
He left knowing this:
To write is opening a door
that leads to the moon, then
to the surface of the sun,
then to a park in Abyssinia—
to an unnamed star
which is all of them.
he found, is a place
that never happens. It is written
in dark matter
or not at all.
Insidious woke to find an eye
painted on his hand. Then he realized
he couldn’t see. Geez, he thought,
What next. He made a fist
and a world collapsed. He opened
it and saw a Vermeer.
He took a moment to look
at his other five-petaled club.
This time he figured out
he was dreaming.
That’s how he could perceive
in this predicament. There was
an ear painted there. Suddenly,
the world became way too loud,
as if waves of thunder were crashing
into his ear on his palm.
Seeing nothing else,
he raised his arms, opened
to the sky, let it all in—
and heard the ringing
of a temple bell a thousand