Three Poems – Tony Mancus



And the story’s all over

Other blown things flew, during the working crew’s insomnia and a venerable barn got swallowed by a township of bees. Their wax and buzz.

Some flowerlike thing took to the painted red wood.

Slats grew porous, hospitable.

When people came to the noise from across the country, a living structure stood before them.
It performed few great feats. Breathing. Wings and production methods carefully observed, as holidays can be.

One man stood next to a child whose mouth hung O.
A woman wore her best hat, crowned by dense and cherry woods.
The next person to say a vowel sound would be set upon by a mass.
The hive decided. Then descended.
The people took up collections and padded down the drive while some church-laden folk sang O. As a swarm of wings brought them up into the air

The sign portends auspicious things, they sang and rose.
From below swam applause.

Worn hands beat together almost into the shape of flight and there, from afar, a similar observance could be made about the very ground where those many bodies stood pinned down as the living barn shook, them all breathing honey wax and wood.   


Sugar Maple, Swing

One way the trees keep live
all year is through protection
and the termites’ will
can bore them out

the center of anything
they can hollow until its
as dead as any damn one
of us who

bees follow, woodpeckers
and the locust folded back
into the water like it’s stalking
itself, unsunned and void

how many stunned lights
run the night – what squash
of sound at the mouth of
a riverhorn, the gathering

water in a barrel, what a bowl
shaped surface will do when
surging – it means to mark
the manuscript for playback

to annotate as if in measures

I don’t care for other people’s voices and I hate
and I hate my own, my ownership another falsity
rimmed with sugar and repeated

the ants soured of the picnic,
right across the rim of the bowl
crystals all in their jaws.


Instructive vs. possible

the truth in a poem being more what
than life provides

what happens to the real when it’s underlined
and period.

This silence paused between one direction in the switch, say away
sway whatever possession’s in it
currents see their position
set and go

I know the war is encoding everywhere
the crouching meat it was
encroaching here now in this time

trapped ones and zeros – men in size relative
to what they forget
and size itself, man’s relative

A decade to figure out how to change
what becomes light
description or what is changed in the rushes

and how it can be described
as juvenilia…the core ask is
to let everything in and go on

porousness at the scene
center to every crime

burned piano, asking nothing. strings
and hammered applause, no apologies.

The insurance terms us
for our sorriest moments

and who
goes the awl, who who,

out among the payouts
and the holes.

once a cell leans into what it will subsume,
we call the doctor
and skin the shelves. We can amplify the spaces

where things enter
and exit – can blow it out
noise pumping into public
the future dream-ambling
at the base of a structure

you say
room in this and all
the chance of a life event

distressed and catalogued by our moving
through it
to stand back and poke, like with a stick

that is the mind. One pulls on
the distance through time. One pulse
bins the natural cycle it is nothing to contain

one letter
is the hammer and one
letter is simply transformed

itself a hammer already topless
and inert


About Tony Mancus

Tony Mancus is the author of a handful of chapbooks. He lives with his wife Shannon and three yappy cats in Arlington, VA. View all posts by Tony Mancus

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