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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, December 10, 2018.
About this Poem 

“I wanted condensed color in places then color degraded and bleeding out into other spots. In order to perform this poem successfully, I try to concentrate on skating only its silences. I break the line quickly to make it fall tall and thin, like the Watts Towers. This way I can identify the silences streaming through a little easier as I'm reading. My partner recently asked me to read this poem as I was preparing to perform, but he couldn't remember the title. When I asked him to describe it, he said, ‘You know, the poem where you describe all the colored gasses.’”
—Cedar Sigo

Arsenal 4

Cinders 
in clotted 
smoke
stone of 
the war 
and its gleaming
battle plans 
reduced to 
perfection
the floors reappear 
in silent 
symphonic gestures,
a folded paper
calico window 
hung with tiger 
skins, knocking twice
at night 
Jerusalem red 
lamps
worn more 
as a garland 
than her smear turning 
trampled door
breaking the fall 
scribbles
under square jars, 
giants
in long fits
in hieroglyphics 
the painters 
weaned on
bent reed pens 
drilled holes, blood 
ink of gorgons 
(violet)
sample of 
the sirens
hooked
in delay over
and underwater
approaches
replete
faint
bluish grey 

Copyright © 2018 by Cedar sigo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Cedar sigo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Cedar Sigo

Cedar Sigo

Cedar Sigo is the author of Royals (Wave Books, 2017). He lives in San Francisco, California.

by this poet

poem

for Bill Berkson

Was it tonight’s
flirtatious
remark or his
exquisite song-book
on stage?
My outside life
has turned itself in,
any opening
up at all
is no small feat
when romancing
the edge
of an echo
Smoke in the
dream and rest

2
poem

We will live forever misaligning the changes
into further time stinted tricks
giving up post kickflip failures
scribbling prepared remarks to notebooks
unlocked over dry spells flooded with demand
salt crystals crushed, the past flashed
and I was a working writer, nursing the pools

poem

Leave the long fall between us (peak after peak)
Here were my paints and there were my powders
And then I was drunk and we lost each other
My shadow tumbled after
Soaking cinnamon leaves in the lake of the moon
The roll of the damned drum calls me to duty
The dice in the light of the