By Anthony Seidman

A jungle, a small jungle, the size
of a hummingbird-heart or crab-nebula
witnessed through an Arizona telescope the girth
of a blue whale’s lungs; a jungle
only I can hear: its rustle of fronds, ant
mandibles scissoring leaves which
will raft phalanxes across the river
and into the bush, ox-carcasses scattered and
picked to the bone; a jungle with its thunder
as rain clatters on the canopy
covering this page; a jungle,
no larger than a toddler’s tooth,
yet teeming with beetles, rills,
spider-monkeys, irritable tarantulas, termites;
it is a jungle I taste in the manner
a boy extends his tongue in a snowfield,
and flake lands on tongue’s tip and
twilight is like voices reverberating
through amniotic fluid into an embryo’s sleep;
a jungle I savor as fruitful, fluvial, tang of lemon,
lifetimes of salt, a fountain of milk,
a tributary, the blossom of a wet dream;
this jungle which you too
apprehend, like a man smelling lust
in the pores of a female flushed with estrus,
the way a woman tastes the stiffened nerves
in a boy awakening to puberty like
fanged fish flitting through warm currents–
this, the jungle I bequeath you. It is the genius
jungle, the genus jungle, the shaman’s feather,
and the word’s ovulation. It is the only
jungle that matters. The emerald
flash between two immemorial nocturnes.

(“Transmissions” originally appeared in The Bitter Oleander, and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Anthony Seidman is the author of six collections of poetry, including Where Thirsts Intersect (The Bitter Oleander Press), Black Neon (Pudding House Press), and the artist’s book The Motel Insomnia, created with French artist, Jean-Claude Loubieres, and published by AdeLeo Editions of Paris, France. His poetry, short fiction, essays and translations have appeared in such publications as Pearl, The Bitter Oleander, Nimrod, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Poetry International, and in Latin America in Newsweek en Español, La Jornada, Critica, La Prensa of Managua, Nicaragua, the University of Guadalajara’s Luvina.

Editor’s Note: Today’s poem is as thick as the jungle it shares with us. Words, hard consonants, alliteration, and images have to be cut through with the mind’s machete to trek along this rich track. Your reward? The Congo, the Amazon, the jungles of Papa New Guinea. A jungle that can only be seen under a microscope; a jungle that reaches the far corners of the universe. Be patient, be persistent, be adventurous. Seek, and you shall find.

Want to see more by and about Anthony Seidman?
Out of Nothing
Big Bridge
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