Ascent of the Blessed (c. 1505-1515)

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December 22, 2020 by The Citron Review

by James Kelly Quigley

Ascent of the Blessed

How can I describe it?
More liquid than electric.
Coals gleamed like eyes.
It kept passing over me
as turnpike arc lamps.
I’ll be honest: I thought
maybe I’d been fucked unconscious.
It was music without words.
It was words without music.
A fight-and-flight response.
I was a silverfish struck dumb
in sudden fluorescence
by a flicked lightswitch.
I was someone else’s reflex.
Recoil of a rifle in a lockbox.
The world was my idea.
I dotted it with shrubs.
Shook the Etch A Sketch
and started again with circles.
Cacophony came down
from the hills. Hills
came down from the hills.

James Kelly Quigley’s poetry has received a Pushcart Prize nomination, as well as a nomination for Best New Poets. Recent work has been published or is upcoming in Narrative, Nashville Review, Puerto del Sol, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox, and other places. He received both a BA and an MFA from New York University, where he taught undergraduate creative writing and served as Copy Editor of Washington Square Review. A finalist for a Brooklyn Poets fellowship, James was born and raised in New York, and lives in Brooklyn.


IMAGE CREDIT: Hieronymus Bosch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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