Wednesday, July 30, 2008
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?
Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
drawn randomly from millions but convinced
it had to happen this way - in reward for what?
The light descends from nowhere.
Why on these two and not on others?
Doesn't this outrage justice? Yes it does.
Doesn't it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.
Look at the happy couple.
Couldn't they at least try to hide it,
fake a little depression for their friends' sake?
Listen to them laughing - it's an insult.
The language they use - deceptively clear.
And their little celebrations, rituals,
the elaborate mutual routines -
it's obviously a plot behind the human race's back!
It's hard even to guess how far things might go
if people start to follow their example.
What could religion and poetry count on?
What would be remembered? What renounced?
Who'd want to stay within bounds?
True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life's highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn't populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.
Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there's no such thing.
Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.
We are separated, finally, not by death but life.
We cling to the dead, but the living break away.
On my birthday, the waxwings arrive in the garden,
strip the trees bare as my barren heart.
I put out suet and bread for December birds:
Hung from evergreen branches, greasy gray
Ornaments for the rites of the winter solstice.
How can you and I meet face to face
After our triumphant love?
After our failure?
Since this isolation, it is always cold.
My clothes don't fit. My hair refuses to obey.
And, for the first time, I permit
These little anarchies of flesh and object.
together, they flick me toward some final defeat.
Thinking of you, I am suddenly old...
A mute spectator as the months wind by.
I have tried to put you out of my mind forever.
Home isn't here. It went away with you,
Disappearing in the space of a breath,
In the time one takes to open a foreknown letter.
My fists are bruised from beating on the ground.
There are clouds between me and the watery light.
Truly, I try to flourish, to find pleasure
Without an endless reference to you
Who made the days and years seem worth enduring.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Hell is the moment you realize that you were ignorant of the fact, when it was true, that you were not yet ruined by desire.
The kind of music I want to continue hearing after I am dead is the kind that makes me think I will be capable of hearing it then.
There is music in Hell. Wind of desolation! It blows past the egg-eyed statues. The canopic jars are full of secrets.
The wind blows through me. I open my mouth to speak.
I recite the list of people I have copulated with. It does not take long. I say the names of my imaginary children. I call out four-syllable words beginning with B. This is how I stay alive.
Beelzebub. Brachiosaur. Bubble-headed. I don’t know how I stay alive. What I do know is that there is a light, far above us, that goes out when we die,
and that in Hell there is a gray tulip that grows without any sun. It reminds me of everything I failed at,
and I water it carefully. It is all I have to remind me of you.
The depths of how I care.
The words "I want you" do not betray
The extent of what I dare.
The words "I need you" can not convey
The extent of my prayer.
The words "I love you" do not portray
The heights of my err.
You are not friends,
And friendship has passed.
And whole days are lost and among them
A fountain empties itself.
And sometimes it happens that you are loved and then
You are not loved,
And love is past.
And whole days are lost and among them
A fountain empties itself into the grass.
And sometimes you want to speak to her and then
You do not want to speak,
Then the opportunity has passed.
Your dreams flare up, they suddenly vanish.
And also it happens that there is nowhere to go and then
There is somewhere to go,
Then you have bypassed.
And the years flare up and are gone,
Quicker than a minute.
So you have nothing.
You wonder if these things matter and then
As soon you begin to wonder if these things matter
They cease to matter,
And caring is past.
And a fountain empties itself into the grass.
It is her who is lost,
And then it is both who are lost,
And nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.
In a very ordinary world
A most extraordinary pain mingles with the small routines,
The loss seems huge and yet
Nothing can be pinned down or fully explained.
You are afraid.
If you found the perfect love
It would scald your hands,
Rip the skin from your nerves,
Cause havoc with a computered heart.
You lose your love for her and then it is her who is lost.
You tried not to hurt and yet
Everything you touched became a wound.
You tried to mend what cannot be mended,
You tried, neither foolish nor clumsy,
To rescue what cannot be rescued.
And now she is elsewhere
And her night and your night
Are both utterly drained.
How easy it would be
If love could be brought home like a lost kitten
Or gathered in like strawberries,
How lovely it would be;
But nothing is ever as perfect as you want it to be.
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn't make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I'd rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it's spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer's song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
MEMORY LOVES TIME
in big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.
Last night I dreamed of X again.
She's like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I'm glad.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,
dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature's wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It's been doing that all week:
and throwing it away,
and making more.
it will speak in your own tongue.
Locking its arms around you, it will hold you as long
as you ever wanted.
Only this time it will be long enough. It will not let go.
Burying your face in its dark shoulder, you’ll smell mud and hair
You’ll taste your mother’s sour nipple, your favorite salty cock
and swallow a word you thought you’d spit out once and be done with.
Through half-closed eyes you’ll see that its shadow looks like yours,
a perfect fit. You could weep with gratefulness. It will take you
as you like it best, hard and fast as a slap across your face,
or so sweet and slow you’ll scream give it to me give it to me
until it does.
Nothing will ever reach this deep. Nothing will ever clench this hard.
At last (the little girls are clapping, shouting) someone has pulled
the drawstring of your gym bag closed enough and tight. At last
someone has knotted the lace of your shoe so it won’t ever
Even as you turn into it, even as you begin to feel yourself stop,
you’ll whistle with amazement between your residual teeth oh jesus
oh sweetheart, oh holy mother, nothing nothing nothing ever felt
she is loving me hard
against my will
tears crystallizing to persuasion in my palms
I cannot dance fast enough to escape
this warm comfort - the easy settling
of her thumbs strobing the inside of my arms
lips running themselves moist across my back
she is running away with me
and I am trying to map the line of our flight
the one which says there is work to be done
the one grooved by a tear
from the sad fold of a mother's eyelid
to the beautiful cruel corner of her mouth
looking for an option to stop us there
all I find is fluid and soft a beckoning
calling at the tangled knot in my stomach
and war paint on and ready
I cannot dance from her
I have decided long ago
that one day we will need to leave
each other that some fight or the other
will pull one of us too hard to stay
and this is why I love her loud enough
to counterpoint the violent love songs of Nina Simone
why she weaves war a thick crochet of passion and anger
in the days we grip in this frenzy
why her bed calls me to rest and love
only long enough to make sustenance
of our memory
If she bathes me in the hymns and dust
that will make me bulletproof
I will war for her battles too
love her enough to leave
when a Coltrane-Marley drumsong
bleeds war across my torso
enough to welcome her back
when her own hymns fasten her to a cross
and we love others with each other
on our breaths and feed revolution
down the throats of lovers who need more
than conviction to join their brothers
...today on the front - I gutted an enemy
just for you. kissed him in his dying breath
my hands exiting his jagged bloody wounds
I opened your mail pungent
with the raw musk of a poem
sound of a Fela song
leaving the envelope with a leap
song and your words cradling me
the way I cradle you
song hard inside me and tender
against my throat
I smeared the enemy's blood
along the margins
watched the ink-fed alchemy
swirl into pictures of your mocking smile
calling me back to you
Love in these times is hard shit
a series of options that always rip
the heart from something
love in celebration of our hips and thighs
or confine some longings to spirit
curtail passion to protect those
who believe themselves innocent
meantime - beloved
believe in magic - find yourself enough religion
to expect me back
cradle the implausibility of us
tight to your bosom
in the songs that raised us
the sermons we preach
the hot smell of our sweats mingling
if we so much as touch
that there was magic
that we happened at all
a revolution waiting in our kisses
and bloodstains on a battlefield
that are calling me back to you
for all the things
I still want to dream about us
that we would toss
turn our way lose ourselves
in each other's limbs
and rut there all over again
too small for the full-bodied voluptuousness
too small for the full-contact fuck
too small for the full slick sweat we surrender
too small for the grunts and the screams
we extract from each other
to small for the way those grunts
struggle up from our stomachs
somersaulting themselves into 'iloveyous'
and spasmodic cum shots
it is good we also have the floor
and the bathroom
and the tub
and the chair
and the desk
and the park
public spaces and the wide open savannas
of our imaginations
these places will have to substitute
offer room for the volume
of our fucking and our poetry
for the way this animal love
lurches monstrous up my chest
wanting to make you happy
and warm and unafraid
so - get a bigger bed
one that can hold all the things
I still want to dream
but ready me a tiny corner on this one
so I can still get lost in you.
black licorice, you may now love it.
If you come across a bus stop in mid-December
someone may have written i heart you with
their finger on the window's condensation.
It may be fresh enough you can tell
where she pressed her forefinger down
hardest and whether or not she wore gloves.
It may be that what you think is love
Is no more so than a clump of pink insulation
hanging strangely in a trashed storefront
is a freshly butchered ham.
If you sleep like a manger scene
boxed up in the attic for half a century
you may be in love, have some rare
form of bipolar, or both, plus really thirsty.
There is an explanation for the river's
freezing only at the mouth of its tributary,
translucent necklace of ice.
It may be you are actually as alone as you feel,
that it will only exponentiate.
That this is what scared you so much in the darkness.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
You reach into your handbag
(the one I bought you some Xmases ago)
And pulling out
A pair of dead cats
Skinned and glistening like the underside of tongues
Or old elastoplasts
Sticky with earwigs
You laugh cruelongly
And hurl them at my eyes
Even though we have grown old together
And my kisses are little more than functional
I still love you
You and your strange ways
Do not demand the love
I gave you once.
For a moment, I really believed
That you alone gave meaning
To my withered life;
That the accelerating pain
Of my unrequited love,
Would make me forget
All other torments
Of this troubled world;
That your face lent stability
To the restless spring;
That nothing else mattered
In this empty world
But your deep, seductive eyes.
For a moment, I really believed
That if I could only possess you,
I could conquer Fate itself.
But all that was false,
A mere illusion.
This world of ours bleeds
With more pains than just the pain of love;
And many more pleasures beckon us all the time
Than just the fleeting pleasures of a reunion with you.
For untold centuries,
The affluent have always woven many webs of intrigue,
Dark and cruel and mysterious,
And dressed them up in silks and brocades.
And for all those years,
On every street and in every bazaar,
Human bodies have been brazenly sold,
Dressed in dust and bathed in blood,
Malnourished, misshapen and baked by disease.
Time and time again,
My eyes are diverted
To this tragic scene,
Your beauty is alluring as ever,
Your arms inviting as always:
But how can I ever ignore
All this ugliness, all this pain?
Yes, my love,
This world of ours bleeds
With more pains that just the pain of love;
And many more pleasures beckon us all the time
Than just the fleeting pleasure of a reunion with you.
Do not demand the love
I gave you once.
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me.
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing
I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to yourself,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never consent
to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color'd light,
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus
of gold-color'd light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it streams,
effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon yourself
all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries,
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
mockeries, what is their return?)
The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the
accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or from
yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these
balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed,
premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you,
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.
As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like carefully
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing
the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard!
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense
and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent
dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain,
The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing sufficiency,
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest,
whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are
picks its way.
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.
A circle itself is perfect.
Please don't go behind the buildings yet again.
I have watched you all evening.
I have compared my life to yours and found mine lacking.
You are leaving me.
And you will never even know what it was.
To see a sliver of your brilliance as you finally disappeared.
I have touched the part of you that never felt me.
I have touched you all the way to untouchability.
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don't prefer one "strain" to another.
I'd have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says "That's
not like Frank!", all to the good! I
don't wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart--
you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.
| I've got to tell you|
how I love you always
I think of it on grey
mornings with death
in my mouth the tea
is never hot enough
then and the cigarette
dry the maroon robe
chills me I need you
and look out the window
at the noiseless snow
At night on the dock
the buses glow like
clouds and I am lonely
thinking of flutes
I miss you always
when I go to the beach
the sand is wet with
tears that seem mine
although I never weep
and hold you in my
heart with a very real
humor you'd be proud of
the parking lot is
crowded and I stand
rattling my keys the car
is empty as a bicycle
what are you doing now
where did you eat your
lunch and were there
lots of anchovies it
is difficult to think
of you without me in
the sentence you depress
me when you are alone
Last night the stars
were numerous and today
snow is their calling
card I'll not be cordial
there is nothing that
distracts me music is
only a crossword puzzle
do you know how it is
when you are the only
passenger if there is a
place further from me
I beg you do not go
Windows where I once with you
At evening looked into landscape
Are bright now with a foreign light.
Path still runs from the door where you
Stood without looking around
Then curved down into the valley
At the turn once more you lifted
To the moon your pale face.
But it was too late to call
Sinks as it did then round the house
Every joy you took away.
Windows where I in selfish air
looked stiff into evening
wanting you to stay
But I was the path, the dark
valley that sucked you away
was my strange light, my call.
Everything you took with.
What is left is a joy
like a pale face in moonlight
not sure which way it looks
as the door falls down the valley,
as the door becomes landscape
and you come back constantly
along the selfish path I am
waiting at evening for your call.
You went and I window,
I am selfish with light
and I am stiff with calling.
I am the path where you
once turned round too late for silence
too late for moons
I am stiff as glass because the light
shows you only going out and coming back.
Come back the way a face
sinks around the house and makes it stay,
the way a moon turns
into a window and the landscape
runs from the door.
At evening you look in.
I am stiff with calling
and you are bright with doors.
It was too late to look around,
the joys of valleys are a silence
you took with. The turn
was where the evening door
fills with foreign joys and we stand.
We stood. Once
with you at
to the moon
too late for
down into silence
windows where I once with door
summoned a turn in the path
and the moon looked over her shoulder
til the landscape filled with standing still
come back the way a place
becomes foreign and a door looks around
and you bend around the silence
and your face lifts in the stiff air
and veer back what once curved away.
Stiff in your valley
your face sinks round me
and I am bright with a strange window
in the land a shape I saw
since noon, too late to call
I stood in hell with framed unlight---
woe to standers! oh to have your name
to shower down in, starry light!
fate knocks loud from the door,
time bleaches anger,
a tomb to roof my spite---
jungle of glass from which we looked
I am made simple by distance.
and this land shape I saw
has you in it turning back
and lifting to the moon again
the foreign windows of your face
so they will shine for us,
those stars whose unlight
frames hell as a house
from which you curved away---
but now the bright silence
veers you home.
I am my body and I want you back
I am my body and I am my mind I
am my body and I want your mind
whatever I am I want your body
curving back to look at me
the way a face looks at the moon
and I want your moon to be my mind
and your mind to be my face and I want
to look around me and find you
I want to look up at your face
the way a window hears a house
and a door falls through landscape
endlessly opening. Then the dark
turns silent and only your name
stands in the mind of the door.
You turn back and see the star
that brightens with your tears
It is a name to hold in mind.
A valley to revisit.
The mail never comes, you have
to bring it to the door.
It is always noon in this jungle---
in the darkness a silence sways,
tries, tears the emulsion of an image.
We are together---then
bleach the dark and turn
lifting again your pale face
to my body. I am your door
you are my path we are our house---
light finds your name
to shower down in once for all.
Moaned, and I mean you more.
the want I do you turns me
to the door, to spite all calls
and still call out. To veer
towards you and leave every valley
and find you where a star stands.
Stall me under hedges, bright
with seeing you again I turn the path
itself into a house, the land
into a window, time to a door
and we stand together not looking back.
Find a star where it shines with tears
evenings in the land, shape you saw
since noon: hell with framed unlight.
Fate knocks loud from the door: woe to
standers. Oh name to shower
down in! Stall me under box hedges,
by your care warmed, no male ever
moaned. Time bleaches angers.
Thought is where to spite tomb-roofs---
sings between emulsions. A house.
All is freed, and names you mine.
Fenster wo ich einst mit dir
Abends in die landschaft sah
Sind nun hell mit fremdem licht.
Pfad noch läuft vom tor wo du
Standest ohne umzuschaun
Dann ins tal hinunterbogst.
Bei der kehr warf nochmals auf
Mond dein bleiches angesicht.
Doch es war zu spät zum ruf.
Sinkt wie damals um das haus.
Alle freude nahmst du mit.
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate,
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant,
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate.
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned,
Since from myself another self I turned.
My care is like my shadow in the sun,
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it,
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done.
His too familiar care doth make me rue it.
No means I find to rid him from my breast,
Till by the end of things it be supprest.
Some gentler passion slide into my mind,
For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind.
Let me or float or sink, be high or low.
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.
into someone else’s back, there’s a flicker
in your eye only seen in late-night
television (the heroine stretching her face, half-
grin, half-cry), all you’ve done wrong
clarified in a liquidy theme song.
You say, the only party is my party, the only
death worth dying is the disastrous one.
If everything was black and white,
darling, the world would look more
like an afterlife, certain and grand
and unexplainable. But even the shoreline
against the city tonight is indecisive,
jagged and rocky the way desire used to be
before you knew enough to know it was desire.
We would go out, arm in arm,
And look at the elm trees
Growing on the embankment
In front of our house.
Their branches were interlaced.
Their crowns were dense with spring leaves.
They were like our love.
Love and trust were not enough to turn back
The wheels of life and death.
She faded like a mirage over the desert.
One morning like a bird she was gone
In the white scarves of death.
Now when the child
Whom she left in her memory
Cries and begs for her,
All I can do is pick him up
And hug him clumsily.
I have nothing to give him.
In our bedroom our pillows
Still lie side by side,
As we lay once.
I sit there by myself
And let the days grow dark.
I lie awake at night, sighing till daylight.
No matter how much I mourn
I shall never see her again.
They tell me her spirit
May haunt Mount Hagai
Under the eagles’ wings.
I struggle over the ridges
And climb to the summit.
I know all the time
That I shall never see her,
Not even so much as a faint quiver in the air.
All my longing, all my love
Will never make any difference.
Friday, July 4, 2008
I have none. A refugee,
I go home and become a ghost
searching houses I lived in. They say —
the father of my father of his father of his father was a prince
who married a Jewish girl
against the Church's will and his father's will and
the father of this father. Losing all,
eager to lose: the estate, ships,
hiding this ring (his wedding ring), a ring
my father handed to my brother, then took. Handed,
then took, hastily. In a family album
we sit like the mannequins
of school children
like a lecture is postponed.
Then my mother begins to dance, re-arranging
this dream. Her love
is difficult; loving her is simple as putting raspberries
in my mouth.
On my brother's head: not a single
gray hair, he is singing to his twelve-month-old son.
And my father is singing
to his six-year-old silence.
This is how we live on earth, a flock of sparrows.
The darkness, a magician, finds quarters
behind our ears. We don't know what life is,
who makes it, the reality is thick
with longing. We put it up to our lips
recent in its origin. Here, in these dark tunnels where pomegranates
fall, all these thoughts fly around like moths, lured by light, by sweet
smell of decay, trapping themselves by their own free choice in the
confined space of their making: It can’t already be June, it can’t
already be Monday, that’s what they say, that’s what people keep
muttering to themselves this morning as they cradle the last of the
sleep in their coffee cups, for the precious moments in which they
huddle in themselves before they must sign off their lives to something
they don’t believe in, to something they think they cannot escape
from. As they rock in the rhythm of the train, someone thinks, A moth
in spider’s nest, though she does not see the intricate weaving of the
thin threads, ready to untangle between our fingers, snapping the
threads. But it’s like this: It’s already June, I’m already 28 and I
haven’t done anything, many are talking, comforting us in these
minutes of our lives when we descend down to darkness, to darkness
so dark that we are helpless, our bodies swaying left to right, left to
right as if we’re rocking in prayer, but we are not praying. We’re boxed
in the freight, we’re boxed in a subway car, this is the death train, but
unlike them, forced away from their homes because of blood, we
chose this train, we chose to be on it, we are boxed in, we’re as
helpless, we tell ourselves, positioning ourselves to the gravity, the
pull of the train. Our highest dreams thrown out like our last night’s
dinner, a woman’s dream flies past, landing silently on the subway
floor like the last note of an aria, I wish someone loved me, I wish He
loved me, a thought so light it floats quietly down, hovers an inch
or two above the floor, then lands, landing as someone steps on it. I wish somebody loved me, but I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, she closes her thoughts from us, she looks down to the book on her lap, the thick one, heavy like her sadness, but she doesn’t stop her reading, the thick book stays where it is, the woman, though, reads so little, doesn’t really read, just daydreams, her hopes going where we are going, she stays where she is, on the seat across. We are all going somewhere we have to each day, pulled by the invisible strings, and we say, I can go no other place, this is where I belong. No, we go to places only if we must, but must is a habit, after all, we can go anywhere as long as we let ourselves, anywhere we want to, only if we want to, she can stretch her arms as if in flight, and leave, leave this train, this city…only if she wants to. We think there’s no way out, our lives guided by some invisible lines only fate has right to hold, right to control. But we are closer to grace, we are closer to where we were before we were born, before we forgot the songs, before we forgot the promises, we are closer to grace in the darkness of our own making, we are not of time—only if we let it, only if we let the watch unshackle us, but we forget,as we have forgotten, as soon as we open our eyes. Many are called and many do not hear.
One year in every ten
I manage it----
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot
My face a featureless, fine
Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?----
The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the felsh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me
And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like a cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot----
The big strip tease.
These are my hands,
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.
It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical
Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
That knocks me out.
There is a charge
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart----
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge,
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shriek
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----
A cake of soap.
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.
Herr God, Herr Lucifer,
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.