Nymphs by Emmalea Russo

Darger, Henry. Human Headed Blengins of Calverine Island Catherine Isles

NYMPHS by Emmalea Russo 



Between paradises:
A sickness

Fun seductive
And wondering

If I’d become
Pure image

A nymph at the top
Of Purgatorio, alone with lights

In her hands
Against drugged sylvan shadow

Or in Paradiso,
Painting the gulf coast on firmament

Senselessly in Henry Darger’s novel
Tormented by evil adults

Then released, almost-free
Into reeds

Screaming for a thousand feet
In Darger’s novel of infinite

Nymphs, syringes, images
I can be spotted

By my outfit
Corpus Gloriosum

Cold, a trouble-maker
With tail and ancient

Aura hyperborean
An almost-maiden with eerie

Personality reading Sexual Personae
Hollywood Husbands, Madame Bovary




Outside city limits
Socrates is open to possession

By the nymphs
Inducing and producing

Metamorphosis and persistence
Of retinal image, plus desire

Humidity was done with me
And I was sick

In bed accosted by images
Of leopards bulls serpents

Scorpions and wolves gnashing
Saint Anthony in the desert




Syringe, from a wood nymph
Named Syrinx turned

Into water reeds out of which Pan
Fashioned his musical ecstasies

Spilled on the beach
In Santa Monica where I was more

Than animal but not yet human
A soul without union

Is useless, no?
I was hooked on a subject

From bed
It was spring

Outside in Venusburg
Or Vienna

Or Jersey Shore
Image of an image, dead

Reading constellations
Never written

We had paintings commissioned
Then we ate them on the terrace

As my images
Attached to topics

Envisioned the place

Where Florida Gulf
Empties into California




Sure, nymphs can get sick
Live near water

Won’t get raised
In the resurrection

Unless they mate with men
Under astrological phenomena

From bed, I phoned him
And said I was afraid

Of the endless novel
Of Henry Darger

Some fifteen-thousand pages
With illustrations

Still, I went in to what is known
As the realms of the unreal

Or whatever




Old school medicine

In the foyer
In Florida with a view

Bone-white sky, dry
In California

And France on the other side
Laure dead in Bataille’s bed

Of tuberculosis blinking
Into dismembered furniture

Where I missed this
Sickness and its attendant

Nympholeptic men
Shining like horseheads




Half-pretty, in the image
I am throwing a party

At the mid-century
Modern home of a Los Angeles

I wear ermine-lined coat

With leg of mutton
Sleeves, Elizabethan

From 1980s and you wear

We are both younger
Than we’ve ever been

Stunning, say the guests
Half of whom believe

I will lead them some
Where unseen, that im

Ages will become
Music and music

A screen




Portrait of Queen
In Medici collar standing

Above the world
As bitchy nymph leader

To endless novels and un
Written constellations

I came willingly
Maybe, and running

Blasting White Rabbit
Mixed and quickened

Alchemical Studies
Mysterium Coniunctionis

Carl Jung and handsome
French philosophers

Who left Europe
For California’s

Machines and high
Possession rates




In Florida,
Walked parking lots to the mall

Under water tower
Sun, inhuman

Erethism and viaticum

Repeating machinery
Of industry

The mall was cool
Linoleum in which I read

Stories by the Chekhov
Of suburbia

Went fractive
Mad into our kairological

Station between paradises
Neighbors play a Celine Dion

Song of long nights and touching
Searching for sidereal balm

Or ash of what’s endured
The music at the mall

Replaced my turbulence
With a midmost peace




Thousandfold wandering
Microcosm I walked on

Long and charged along
A Delacroix

Tiger felling a horse
In blood-orange

Ha ha ha




So I could hiss as wind
Into the ears of men and corn

Signing from the basin
Of a syringe the sun fills

White sky I can’t tell
From the white horse

Getting felled by tiger
In the shadow of a screaming reed

In the corner of a gone painting’s
California spring


Emmalea Russo is a writer and astrologer. Her books of poetry are GWave Archive, Confetti, and Magenta. Recent work has appeared in Artforum, BOMB, Spike Art Magazine, and Los Angeles Review of Books. Her first novel, Vivienne, is forthcoming in September.

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