Bruce Beasley

Self-Portrait in Ink

 

As the gone-
translucent

octopus
jet-blasts into evasion, vanishing

while its ink-sac spurts
a cloud of defensive

mucus & coagulant
azure-black pigment,

self-shaped
octopus imago in ink, so the shark

gnashes at that blobbed
sepia phantom,

pseudomorph
that disperses into black

nebulae & shreds
with each shark-strike

& the escaped
octopus throbs

beyond, see-through
in the see-through water, untouched—:

so, go
little poem, little

ink-smudge-on-fingertip
& -print, mimicker

& camouflage,
self-getaway, cloud-

scribble, write
out my dissipating

name on the water,
emptied sac of self-illusive ink . . .

 

“Self-Portrait in Ink” is reprinted from Theophobia (BOA, 2012).

 

Bruce Beasley is a professor of English at Western Washington University and the author of seven collections of poems, most recently Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012) and The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007).  He won the Ohio State University Press/Journal Award for The Creation, the Colorado Prize in Poetry (selected by Charles Wright) for Summer Mystagogia, and the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award for Lord Brain, a poetic meditation on neuroscience and cosmology.  Wesleyan University Press published his books Spirituals (1988) and Signs and Abominations (2000).  Beasley has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Artist Trust, and three Pushcart prizes.  His work appears in the Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize and other anthologies.

 

 


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