Friday, May 30, 2008
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don't regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You've walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don't bother remembering
any of it. Let's stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.
Say it anyway.
Say it again.
What they tell you is irrelevant
can’t be denied and will
eventually be heard.
is a leading question.
Ask it anyway, then expect
what you won’t get.
There is no such thing
as the original
so you’ll have to make do
with a reasonable facsimile.
The history of the world
is hearsay. Hear it.
The whole truth
and nothing but the truth
is a lie.
I swear this.
My oath is a kiss.
Weaves a membrane of mist and fire.
When we make love in the flower world
My heart is close enough to sing to you
in a language too clumsy,
for human words.
This is my head. It is a good head.
Whirrs inside with a swarm of worries.
What is the source of this mystery.
Why can’t I see it right here, right now
as real as these hands hammering
the world together?
This is my soul. It is a good soul.
It tells me, “Come here forgetful one.”
And we sit together
We cook a little something to eat,
then a sip of something sweet,
for memory, for memory.
This is my song. It is a good song.
It walked forever the border of fire and water
climbed ribs of desire to sing to you.
Its new wings quiver with vulnerability.
Come lie next to me.
Put your head here.
My heart is close enough to sing.
for my watch, the water will agitate in the kettle,
but listen. Traffic. I want your dreams first. And
to slide my leg beneath yours before the day opens.
Wait. We slept late. You'll be moody, the phone
will ring, someone wanting something. Let me put
my hands in your hair. Who I was last night I would
be again. This is how the future holds me, how depression
wakes with us; my body shelters it. Let me
put my head on your breast. I know nothing lasts.
I would try to hold you back, not out of meanness
but fear. Oh my practical, my worldly-wise. You
know how the body falters, falls in on itself. Tell me
that we will never want from each other what we
cannot have. Lie. It's morning.
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
on the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger,
but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape,
traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth.
I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone solo
in the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakers
from a phone line, and you promised to always smell
the rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminal
pelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaled
all over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongue
ripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts.
I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirror
over his knee, till you helped me carry the barbell
of my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouetted
in the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believe
in fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep's clothing
and felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipper
of my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cord
around my ankle and yanked me across the continent.
And now there are three thousand miles between the u
and s in esophagus. And being without you is like standing
at a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickels
and making a wish. Some days I miss you so much
I'd jump off the roof of your office building
just to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wish
we could trade left eyeballs, so we could always see
what the other sees. But you're here, I'm there,
and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chance
to mix feelings into cyllables and pour into the receiver,
hope they don't disassemble in that calculus of wire.
And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machine
supporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they're
injecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants,
naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes:
Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers,
so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo,
and it's the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picasso
looking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint,
washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jenin
in all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes,
like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diver
in quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth,
like I'm the executioner's fingernail trying to reason
with the hand. And I don't know how to speak love
when the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste,
and the only sexual fantasy I have is busting
into the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowing
open the minds of generals. And I comfort myself
with the thought that we'll name our first child Jenin,
and her middle name will be Terezin, and we'll teach her
how to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers,
and to never neglect the first straw; because no one
ever talks about the first straw, it's always the last straw
that gets all the attention, but by then it's way too late.
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long
distance lover and proudly say
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
Your boundaries are always too narrow, and you bury
Yourself beneath a shallow grave of artifice, flesh and perfection
Look up above the mountain, to the right
Of the castle's turret, that's not a gull
That's a heart.
And of course it's tattered
Swooping too low crossing
The Atlantic to find you, its stomach
Was slit open on the horns of a caribou in Greenland.
Many species of birds have feasted on its eyes.
So, having come this far, I can now barely see you
It's two weeks since you've gone
The fragrance you left
Still remains in this apartment
As if it were bracketed to the wall like a shelf
It remains sweet yet somehow stale
The pressuring scent of expedience
How I hunger to devour it to devour you
Slowly, gently, vicious.
I chew on the pubic hairs you left on the sheet
Like a country boy chews a blade of grass as he walks
Near a pond, skimming flat rocks across the water.
If the angels knew, were kind,
That is where I'd be.
Instead, I have been been sitting down by the Hudson
At the end of the Gansevoort St. Pier
Reading Schiller on the sentimental and naive
Melville was a customs clerk there
The streets are still cobblestone
I'm hoping for an experience that pre-dates you.
For example, being chased by a dragonfly.
What is not perfect, you deign to destroy.
When you find your idea of perfection
You relax on well-cut grass leading down to the stream.
You make a stranger a lover and a lover a stranger
You isolate the curve of longing
Then accelerate the flow.
It becomes the curve of binding energy.
Under different circumstances,
I could admire that.
I keep finding your long straight hairs
In the blankets in the carpet on the arm
Of the chair where you were working
Perfecting your calligraphy
The lavish tyranny of words
Now I watch the red in each long strand shine, twisted
Between my thumb and forefinger in the window light
I tied one around the neck of an alabaster bear
The rest I just continue to drape across the roses
In the wine bottle beside the kitchen window
It's beginning to look like a spider's web. It seems
That each symbol possible, in time, finds its way back to me.
I put my faith in I put my I put mine in I put my faith in you
While it rains outside through the night
Through the twilight of the gods
I want to watch the rain falling with you inside
Inside you I want the rain to fall inside you
Lap the drops that drain
Lost, I remain inside you
When I took off to swim the river last week
I left the wine glass on the table beside my bed
The one you drank from here
Near full with bottled water, as you asked
The capricious symbols are turning cliche and wet
When I got home it was five days later, the humidity
In the city heavy that week but still
When I held it up there was something left, just enough drops
To wash down a pill to fall asleep
Then I filled it again and left it to the sun and defiance
There are times I hate you there is no question
But an unforced grace remains. Your generous silence
With our tongues we could tie the laces of angels,
Light or fallen, no matter
Your thighs moved smoothly as Latino gangsters
It's hard to walk from a love that never ended
The fury is deadly, as if I were locked forever
In a room with movies of bridges collapsing
Too rigid for the quick wind
You see, your leaving occurred without
The foreplay of anxiety which is essential
Before one flies through the window of a car
Out of control
Unprepared, only a certain yet vague prescience which didn't
Seem to concern me much I left it in your hands
As I took you at your word. Now I see the only means
I had to heal the burn was to replay again and again each permutation
In all its bitterness, and illusion.
It becomes tedious
As the tedious becomes essential apparently
Cassandra: that's you incarnate
Sweating the details of a future bliss
As if you could control it
The angels are more confused than ever
For once they call out, and there is no one to listen
You called from a phone by a lake
Deep in the canopy of black forests
The entire country deciduous, leaves rotting
Among the fresh angel skin a heart flown so far, it's fallen
It's grey among the leaves like a dying frog
And, seeing it, you step away, glad you avoided it
I found another of your hairs on the floor
This time I just threw it away it's becoming old
It keeps us from floating away.
yet presses down. We stumble and fall.
I thought dusk was the moment dividing
Night and day, all things possible.
Yet, tonight looking out from this terrace
Twilight is filled only
With red taillights moving away, to bridges or tunnels
Yet always water, above or below, red taillights
And the mercurial sadness of another darkness descending
A thicker gravity. So many lost loves
Your boundaries were too narrow
Everything planned assiduously
Within surgical thin perimeters.
Now and then you would test the borders you defined
But never too far, inside the fear of finding yourself
Even for a moment lost. At times you did
Step beyond, paler slightly from the risk,
To burn in the wilder sun, yet always returning
In time for the mail and the certainty and the phone perhaps
Inside those boundaries assurance and fantasy blur and merge
Inside those boundaries, thought and action become one
Without distinction. Those outside
Get spun, unravel. Your arms shrink in the cause of embrace
What you try to comfort you can no longer reach.
And I've done everything I'm accusing you of.
All the while I was staring straight
Into a wavering blue flame
Among the flaws, I watched
Your necessity bloom
Like careless crawling orchids
I didn't really notice until the first petal fell
And a strange arboreal wind blew it away
I was always seeing you on the move
As if passing in airport after airport
The smell of jet fuel, vanilla, fancy soap and ambivalence
Without an hour hand, a minute hand emblazoned
On its heat and glow, I could have
Watched the dew in these days reveal you as you opened
Perhaps I could have unveiled my own hesitations, washed the poison
From my lips, held you down by your wrists and watered you
In all resistance. Once again build myself a thirst and drink your overflow
I could have taken you to the dark gods
Still getting us back home on time
To sleep with the anorexic angel
Who I would pin motionless, radiant
Between your breast and my hand
My hand unyielding
Extended outward as light, the light
You learned as you lost it in a single moment
It's months now since you've been gone
And what I feel I'll tell you what it's like
It's like a last glass of Spanish Champagne slipping from my hand
Taking months to reach the carpet
It's like a slow hanging
This city is a scaffold my room's a trapdoor beneath
Not rope but a long red scarf a silk noose
Tightening slightly more day after day
Even now as I type
My feet are dangling a foot or two above the floor
Breathing only through vanity and my fingertips
The time hasn't changed since you left
That moment in front of my building throwing your suitcase
Into the trunk of the cab, a Hindu driver. I check the airport route
He has planned for you. We kiss long and sad and I
Watch you drive slowly off, your head craned back at me
I watched until you turned at 19th St. and were out of sight
Leaning my head to the side and feeling the cool of a marble pillar
Against my cheeks making one last wave one last
I went upstairs, called her, and slept
Forcing myself not to wake until daylight the next day.
You're in Amsterdam.
If they took those reinforcing beams away
From the old wooden houses along the canals in Holland
They would most likely have fallen into the water by now.
That is your art form
Out of lace and lashes.
Everything just fell away.
The bridges over the canal
They're quaint and banal
Tourist boats pass beneath.
I was a tourist
To your body.
Why do you smile so widely in every picture I have of you?
Sometimes it makes me feel like slapping you
In this room everything comes as a whisper.
So what did you say?
Why do I want to know?
Because that's the way it is for me, and always has:
To be amused, bewildered, bemused, and fucked
Without the slightest aspect left out.
I thought I had been floating with the tide easily
These last three years, not looking ahead yet waiting
For some small island
Even a rock would have done
To land on and survey how far I had come
And if it was worth going on
And all the while I now learn you had somehow fixed, shifted the natural flow
And I have been swimming upstream against those vacuumed years.
Salmon are an endangered species
Man, and the paws of black bears
I'm tired too tired for conjunctions.
Having reached land,
Are you worth love in any form?
An old story getting older
You may not possess irony, but you carry it like a silk purse
Now the mute fog rolls in off the river
And I can't speak.
It makes me listen too hard
With an urge to believe.
Why couldn't we find a love in that too-American exhaustion
Melt into each other as the hour that moans
In Europe how you have reached a mountaintop
Whose scent is things dead a thousand years
That is the fragrance of betrayal.
A cologne you took years to create
A chemical pun you mailed me in a white envelope
A white wedding envelope
The chemical wedding of C.R.
Child bride antelope
Collide and elope
This cologne is what you would have me press
In two subtle drops around my neck
Like a noose of splintering tears.
I flew straight through that car window
Without the essential anxiety
And the only way to recover
Is to play it over and over
On a screen too small
For the curve of time in this ward where I have been waiting
It makes everyone a fool, awake and in dreams. I wound up
Loving something I was forced to reinvent, deconstruct
Though I know you so well now
Come to understand your meaning
That's the worth of a lifetime
Everything else collapses
Or repeats often enough to forget
Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us
It's hard to find comfort
In this world.
You brought that to me
That's hard to let go.
Only you and I know only you & I
You have always been so far away
You have always
Been right here
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way.
than this: where I does not exit, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
not only in its burning agricultures
but also in the mouth of men and women,
I will finish off by taking the path away
to those who between my chest and your fragrance
want to interpose their obscure plant.
About me, nothing worse
they will tell you, my love,
than what I told you.
I lived in the prairies
before I got to know you
and I did not wait love but I was
laying in wait for and I jumped on the rose.
What more can they tell you?
I am neither good nor bad but a man,
and they will then associate the danger
of my life, which you know
and which with your passion you shared.
And good, this danger
is danger of love, of complete love
for all life,
for all lives,
and if this love brings us
the death and the prisons,
I am sure that your big eyes,
as when I kiss them,
will then close with pride,
into double pride, love,
with your pride and my pride.
But to my ears they will come before
to wear down the tour
of the sweet and hard love which binds us,
and they will say: “The one
is not a woman for you,
Why do you love her? I think
you could find one more beautiful,
more serious, more deep,
more other, you understand me, look how she’s light,
and what a head she has,
and look at how she dresses,
and etcetera and etcetera”.
And I in these lines say:
Like this I want you, love,
love, Like this I love you,
as you dress
and how your hair lifts up
and how your mouth smiles,
light as the water
of the spring upon the pure stones,
Like this I love you, beloved.
To bread I do not ask to teach me
but only not to lack during every day of life.
I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.
You came to my life
with what you were bringing,
of light and bread and shadow I expected you,
and Like this I need you,
Like this I love you,
and to those who want to hear tomorrow
that which I will not tell them, let them read it here,
and let them back off today because it is early
for these arguments.
Tomorrow we will only give them
a leaf of the tree of our love, a leaf
which will fall on the earth
like if it had been made by our lips
like a kiss which falls
from our invincible heights
to show the fire and the tenderness
of a true love.
First, and always with such ardor, so much
That even when confronted by this great
Enchantment my thoughts ascend to more delight.
I want to live through in each vain moment
And in its honor I must spread my song
And laugh with my delight and shed my tears
When she is sad or when she is contented.
And thus, when afterward comes looking for me
Who knows what death, anxiety of the living,
Who knows what loneliness, end of the loving
I could say to myself of the love (I had):
Let it not be immortal, since it is flame
But let it be infinite while it lasts.
What loneliness-in-motion, toward your company!
Rolling with the rain we follow the tracks alone.
In Taltal there is neither daybreak nor spring.
But you and I, love, we are together
from our clothes down to our roots:
together in the autumn, in water, in hips, until
we can be alone together---only you, only me.
To think of the effort, that the current carried
so many stones, the delta of Boroa water;
to think that you and I, divided by trains and nations,
we had only to love one another:
with all the confusions, the men and the women,
the earth that makes carnations rise, and makes them bloom!
I'll gladly admit that your voice doesn't
hover in a room as a lace-like stream of smoke.
Men don't drift away comparing the wiggle
in your walk to smouldering
incense suspending thickly in the air.
Sure, I could tell you that on my guitar
you were always the G-string, pure
allure and appeal; but that's an instrument
I've never learned to play. And Lord knows
there's none of the violin in either of us, no
rich, velvety sorrow to root out and heal.
Even the tambourine, to be honest, seems too
exotic and complex for whatever we had.
Listen carefully: I was wrong: your breath
hasn't coated the inside of your house
with a thick, yellow honey, and bees, quite simply
don't get confused and follow you home.
True, there are
moles on your back,
but it seems unlikely now that I ever
mistook them for little islands
where my mouth hovered like rain
ready to break. And, even if I could,
I wouldn't fold my lips into your body
like petals damp with desire's dark scent
-you see, the few flowers we have left
to offer each other are stunted now
and warped like northern trees.
It feels odd to finally say this. I've been
the proverbial ostrich up to his neck in sand, and
maybe my excuse is that blood was gathered
in a place far from my head.
yes you're right,
yes from now I will still dream of your hair, brown
like polished oak, and the feel of my hand
on your belly. I may even, in the daze of waking,
check to see if your navel left a mark on my palm.
It's a strange, lasting thing, when a fool for love turns
out to just be a fool.
to the rooftop, a soft shudder runs
through the house. On the radio,
Roethke is reading
of a woman he knew.
You are wearing
one of my shirts.
Now, I know it’s no more
possible to own a moment
than a person, but sometimes
we can settle into one,
like a tide returning from the shore,
a soft relaxing back into the sea.
Wind slides the unlatched door
open, mist from the rain
catches the ends of your hair.
On the tips of your fingers,
my body seems achingly beautiful.
Today, we could begin to grow
back every limb we have lost.
before your bicycle appeared under the street-lamp,
before you met me at the airport in a corduroy jacket,
before you agreed to hold my five ballpoint pens
while I ran to play touch football,
before your wet hair nearly touched the piano keys
and in advance of how your raincoat was tightly cinched
when you asked about nonviolent anti-war activity
and before you said "Truffaut,"
before your voice supernaturally soft sang
"I aweary wait upon the shore,"
before you suddenly stroked my thigh in the old Volvo,
when you had not yet said "Marcus Aurelius at 11:15"
and before your white shirt on te train,
before Pachelbel and "My Creole Belle"
and before your lips were so cool under that street-lamp
and before Buddy Holly in Vermont on the sofa
and Yeats in the library lounge,
prior to your denim cutoffs on the porch,
prior to my notes and your notes
and before your name became a pulsing star,
before all this
ah safer and smoother and smaller was my heart.
I look at your feet.
Your feet of arched bone,
your hard little feet.
I know that they support you,
and that your sweet weight
rises upon them.
Your waist and your breasts,
the doubled purple
of your nipples,
the sockets of your eyes
that have just flown away,
your wide fruit mouth,
your red tresses,
my little tower.
But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.
that conveys the importance of you.
To assure you of my desire, to assure you of dreams.
I want all the possibilities of you in writing.
I want to give your reflection.
I want your eyes on me.
I want to travel to the lightness with you and stay there.
I want everything before you to follow us like a trail behind me.
I want never to say goodbye to you, even on the street corner or the phone.
I want... I want so much I'm breathless.
I want to put my power into a poem to burn a hole in your pocket so I can sew it.
I want my words to scream through you.
I want the poem not to mean that much.
And I want to contradict myself by accident, and for you to know what i mean.
I want you to be distant and for me to feel you close.
I want endless days when its day and nighttime never to end when its night.
I want all the seasons in one day.
I want the sun to set before us and come up in front of us.
I want water to run up to our waists and to be drenched by the rain up to our ankles with holes in our shoes.
I want to think your thoughts because they're mine.
I want only what's urgent with you.
I want to get in the way of the barriers and I want you to be a tough guy when your supposed to, like you do already.
And I want you to be tender, like you do already.
And I want us to have met for a reason and I want that reason to be important.
And I want it to be bigger than us, I want it to take over us.
I want to forget.
I want to remember us.
And when you say you love me, I don't want to think you really mean New York City and all the fun we have in it.
And I want your smile always and your grimaces too.
I want your scar on my lips and I want your disappointments in my heart.
I want your strength in my soul, and I want my soul in my eyes.
I want to believe everything you say, and I do.
And I want you to tell me what's best, when I don't know.
And when you're lost I want to find you.
And when you're weary, I want to give you steeples and cathedral thoughts and coliseum dreams.
I want to drag you from the darkness and kneel with you exhausted with the blinding light blaring on us.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
That isn’t done Grabbing your girlfriend’s neck
isn’t done I mean it is done by god
often enough but not when I’m the girl
or the friend I love you with all my soul
and all my I don’t know what else to say
my friendliness and my girlishness
but by god my friend do not grab my neck
Neck with me nestle your neck into mine
I’ve been watching the necks of the geese
my geese our geese flying over our heads
and I’ve said goose wander in my chamber
You goose don’t be a gander and don’t be
a geek Be a Greek be a pagan be
a lover of life of me of my neck
Grab my neck my shoulder or my breast
but sweetly if you must my sweet goose
or I’ll call the police Not that the Greeks
were any better at love than we are
always stabbing at their men and their gods
but my god better than the Romans
and their strikes at the neck their split necks
All they did was say do not do do not
do that and thwack off with their head
So if you ask me what Greek is I say
give me a Greek over a Roman
Oh romance romance it’s Greek to me
it was Greek to the Romans and to me
to my roaming heart and my Grecian
gods to my friends and my gods and you
you my silly goose and my strangler
Can you draw me the shape of love?
John Donne was right after all;
the body is the book.
He is written into me, into every line
and recess, scored into hair skin bone,
etched on the pattern of the cell, carved
on the door of the heart. My fingertips
are branded with his name. He reads me
as a blind man does, with fingers and tongue;
his hands delve into the deepdown places,
the spaces between the ribs, melting the secret
emptinesses with the sweet solvency of touch.
He finds me in the chaos of myself,
and draws me into being.
And I am learning him, learning
the journey of him, the journey of the
cobbled spine and the contours of muscle,
of tongue and lips and teeth, of the old scars and
the steel-toed heart. His warmth winds around me
and his voice binds me with a whispered word.
I trace his veins to their fire source and
dissolve into them, and find the shape of him
in the heart of a flame.
He is the poem I travel.
I am the shell by the sea, hollow, emptied, quiet,
burnt by the sun, lipped by gentle waves, waiting
for him to fill me.
I am the leaf dancing on the broad blade of wind,
spiralling up to graze the stars and drifting back down
to alight on his hair.
I am the bowl he shapes, looks in, lifts to his lips;
I am the clear water rippling his reflection,
locked in his hands.
I melt into the inky darkness of his shadow
and sheltering in his strength redraw the outlines
of a curious grace.
I am the drop of rain just learning the storm,
drawing the curve of a snow-petalled flower,
shaping a clear peace.
My phantom lover in the deep black jazz night,
his ghost hands whispering down the strings
of the heart and playing them with the lightest touch,
drugging the dreams with rich saxophone notes
of deep longing, binding the soul, shivering down
the bones and infusing them with a mute cry,
a sudden sharp ache of loneliness.
I want you to miss me when I’m not there –
I want you to watch after a disappearing back and wound yourself on the sharp edges of an
I want a sudden remembrance to flood your senses, to wake a terrible longing under the skin, to slice
into the heart and leave you crying out on this side of the night –
I want your arms to ache with emptinesses, your hands to clutch at forlorn air, your ears to ring with
I want you to search the night and trace in the pattern of stars a foetal hope, to listen for a breath of
voice in the haunting wind –
I want to haunt you, to lurk in the unknowing mind, to scorch your fingertips with a remembered
I want you to eat fire for me –
I want you to want me too.
Love brute and beast, rubbing against you hungrily, hesitantly, lapping at the salt of you, wrenching at
Love a savage knowing, a shock of recognition ripped from you, more than feeling and deeper than
consciousness, rapped into the frame of bone.
Love a clarity of blindness, exhilarating and frightening, a mirror for a flawed vessel, an act of faith,
forcing you to your knees.
Love an invisible circle binding you, anchoring your flight, building you a homecoming.
Love a violence to shatter your peace.
Will you leave me here on the other side of the glass
with only a snatch of voice and the faint memory
of a fleeting touch to keep me?
We are one-winged angels just learning to fly,
riding the piercing sweetness of hope with a pair
of dreamer’s wings, shaped of a song tender
and tremulous, soaring high into the clear night
and waking all the stars to dance, a great golden
shower of exuberant exquisite joy.
This is our time, the diamond night, the
bewitching hour, this dreamtime perfumed
with the sandman sleep, this velvet wilderness
of a wondrous grace; and these our hands
will find each other.
even if she says I love you,
even though she swears
and promises nothing
but love love.
The light in this room
even my arm throws no shadow,
it too is consumed with light.
But this word love --
this word grows dark, grows
heavy and shakes itself, begins
to eat, to shudder and convulse
its way through this paper
until we too have dimmed in
its transparent throat and still
are riven, are glistening, hip and thigh, your
loosened hair which knows
Saturday, May 24, 2008
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.
But the moments we have lived in it?
When all due has been paid
To gods of wood and stone
And recognition has been made
Of those who'll breathe here when we are gone
Does it not takes its worth from us
Who made it because we were here?
Your words are the only furniture I can remember
Your body the book that told me most.
If this room has a ghost
It will be your laughter in the frank dark
Revealing the world as a room
Loved only for those moment when
We touched the purely human.
I could give water now to thirsty plants,
Dig up the floorboards, the foundation,
Study the worm's confidence,
Challenge his omnipotence
Because my blind eyes have seen through walls
That make safe prisons of the days.
We are living
In ceiling, floor and windows,
We are given to where we have been.
This white door will always open
On what our hands have touched,
Our eyes have seen.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
1 FROM THE NURSERY
When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore.
And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad -- even the yellow
wooden beads that slid and spun
along a spindle on my crib.
You taught me to exist without gratitude.
You ruined my manners toward God:
"We're here simply to wait for death;
the pleasures of earth are overrated."
I only appeared to belong to my mother,
to live among blocks and cotton undershirts
with snaps; among red tin lunch boxes
and report cards in ugly brown slipcases.
I was already yours -- the anti-urge,
the mutilator of souls.
so it was like listening to mountains grow.
I love you she says fifty times into a balloon
then releases the balloon into a room
whose volume she calculated to fit
the breath it would take to read
the complete works of Charlotte Bronte aloud.
Someone else pours green dust into the entryway
and puts rice paper on the floor. The door
is painted black. On the clothesline
shirttails snap above the berserk daffodils.
Hoagland says you've got to plunge the sword
into the charging bull. You've got
to sew yourself into a suit of light.
For the vacuum tube, it's easy,
just heat the metal to incandescence
and all that dark energy becomes radiance.
A kind of hatching, syntactic and full of buzz.
No contraindications, no laws forbidding
buying gin on Sundays. No if you're pregnant,
if you're operating heavy machinery because
who isn't towing the scuttled tonnage
of some self? Sometimes just rubbing
her feet is enough. Just putting out
a new cake of soap. Sure, the contents
are under pressure and everyone knows
that last step was never intended to bear
any weight but isn't that why we're standing there?
Ripples in her hair, I love you she hollers
over the propellers. Yellow scarf in mist.
When I planted all those daffodils,
I didn't know I was planting them
in my own chest. Play irretrievably
with the lid closed, Satie wrote on the score.
But Hoagland says he's sick of opening
the door each morning not on diamonds
but piles of coal, and he's sick of being
responsible for the eons of pressure needed
and the sea is sick of being responsible
for the rain, and the river is sick of the sea.
So the people who need the river
to float waste to New Jersey
throw in antidepressants. So the river
is still sick but nervous now too,
its legs keep thrashing out involuntarily,
flooding going concerns, keeping the president
awake. So the people throw in beta-blockers
to make it sleep which it does, sort of,
dreaming it's a snake again but this time
with fifty heads belching ammonia
which is nothing like the dreams it once had
of children splashing in the blue of its eyes.
So the president gets on the airways
with positive vectors and vows
to give every child a computer
but all this time, behind the podium,
his penis is shouting, Put me in, Coach,
I can be the river! So I love you say
the flashbulbs but then the captions
say something else. I love you says
the hammer to the nail. I love Tamescha
someone sprays across the For Sale sign.
So I tell Hoagland it's a fucked-up ruined
world in such palatial detail, he's stuck
for hours on the phone. Look at those crows,
they think they're in on the joke and
they don't love a thing. They think
they have to be that black to keep
all their radiance inside. I love you
the man says as his mother dies
so now nothing ties him to the earth,
not fistfuls of dirt, not the silly songs
he remembers singing as a child.
I love you I say meaning lend me twenty bucks.