Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gentilly

A black crow flies
over the gutted innards
of another home
determined waste.
Feathered space,
holes in wings
and the golden arches
of a flooded McDonald's remain
(how many served (?): negative,
a problem unannounced).

"If I had" hits the floor
when "a hammer" only moves dust -
air thick with what cannot be shoveled.

Training to take advantage
was to no advantage.
We've only become wealthy
enough to be cheap
with national byways clearly labeling
who to abandon -
Next Right Baton Rouge
in another forced exodus.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Where Things Go When They're Gone

There's no toast for breakfast,
the freshly baked bread is in your stomach.

The fresh scent of what could have been
gone. Write it off to sustenance,
bake another loaf, smell the yeast,
learn to like bitter chocolate,
exercise.

The recipe's old,
let it sustain you.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't Fold

Why do we do
what we do
the way we do it?

Because we start young
and the brain has many folds
so we accept that it gets folded
here and there by other hands
because who wants to be
responsible for so much.

We don’t walk around with our heads
open though – often anyway.
Imagine the sutures and the knives
and the cleaning necessary
of the operation room
before you allowed
someone to tear
in your child’s head.

Tomorrow when you walk
down the block
imagine that building
(an alien thinks is prison
you know is school)
as the operating table.

Why do we do
what we do
the way we do it?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Belly Button

There is never much
hope for independence –
attachment starts early
at the umbilical chord.
How strange to go through
with a hole in the center.

Lint musters here,
a left over vestige
gathering for the next void.

Late

Late at night
breeze comes
to take sorrow away
from those who wait.

Maybe you could tell her
to wait a little longer.
Maybe she would,
knowing you
are somewhere
waiting with her.

Premeditation

Before disquiet, ears cringe
like trampolines under children
yet to learn fear.

Ad nauseam the birds
chatter on flowers
while creaking stairs
insure household splinters
and fascination with injury.

Sense, spring and the earth on its axis
seduce our breath, our pulse, our need
to reproduce the mechanics o premeditation.

It’s no wonder screaming headlines
interrupt little on kitchen tables.

Hopeful Love Later On

On the beach
we will still
cartwheel till
falling down in French music
making love lips shaking shoulders
out-tapping the piano
with our laughing hearts.

No wine sir,
just you and me
to thrill each other
like children and the waves.

Oriel

Window, you box wonder so well
giving the outside world its life
of warps to twirl
a girl in a skirt
who merely sits within.

Just today, would you work
the other way? Shine on
what I know, what may stay.

It’s cold out there you know
where you dare me to affair
with the breeze, in my hair.

You should be barred!
Or opened.

Window, I want
none of your distortions,
only fresh air.

No Abandon

In moments before sleep
a tuned lullaby undoes today.
Backwards counting taught to us
the homeless heads
of mouths half-full.
A taste of tongue we take to teach love,
or learning to enjoy the air pocket -
the anti-womb;
the perfection of fetal position.

In the darkest moments
we cannot abandon
rehearsing how to undo, ourselves.

There is no abandon in endings.
There is only here.

Gini Age 5

Very seriously:
what does “believe” mean?
Then she cried
because she spoke German more
and English less and
confusion is upsetting
it’s true.

Tripping
on words many times
before settling on:
it is,
thinking
about something,
a lot,
caring
about something
a lot
willing something
to be, hard,
like flight
when falling
from a building.

Does it happen?
In English,
no.

Why is it a word then?
Because we want
it to be.

Ode to Shadow

I.

You do not want
to know me anymore.

This is wrong
(you say).
You do not want to know
me anymore this way.
This way?
Too many ways
to qualify this way
or that way.
If we had only
one way streets
we would never be
here, now
would we?

But, in a way,
I do not want to know you
(In that way which may mean
I won’t see you
in any way today).

Anyway,
you should know
I hate you
in a way.

And if I love
it will be
in a way that has more
ways (and turns and pirouettes).

So, if in a way
you love that,
it doesn’t mean you love
me. More it means
there are many cities
to loose ourselves on
corners and sadly
I’ll always love you
when I’m turning
(in a way).

II.

We are united
in forgetting
what is not meant to be
remembered,
raised to not
expect what we learn
to live without —
a lot to live
without, history
paltry evidence
at most.

Past passes already
while morning makes us
ravenous, termites
praying on roots —
what for? To learn
once more, the imbalance
of will and were
of words and feelings.

Trauma comes,
(a hulking sloth)
resistant to
articulation making living only
a formaldehyde insult.

What a dynasty we make
of eyes and ears
that can’t be
the things that didn’t;
all aborted;
coming to nothing;
the conditional,
creaturely forms we are;
roots, urge, blood;
the energy that hopelessly is.

Defeated, defining
by all we have,
not by the nots and not yets
of nights and bedtime’s
unrecorded dreams,
when everything possible,
nothing dread.

World where did you take
the not of shadows?

To love — world
you took, tormented, turned
the space of not
into love.

What once was
chrysalis enclosed
now the incest
of need and void
to fill before and after.

The maintenance of what is
coming at the expense of what is not.

Love can never be
in every way
to apologize
for what always is.

What always is not
still remains —
still my shadow,
stay still shadow
so I may
harbor hope
in the empty darkness.

III.

So hard on ourselves
in this journey,
land to sky.

That is all it is —
here to not here
without a ladder.

Much time jumping,
stretching, straining,
wishing love were
my shadow
so I might make this
in between more
momentous.

I wish I knew
how to hold myself
while stepping.

Tourist

On a tourist excursion
there is always a vista
where someone stands
on the summit.

Who it is, is irrelevant.
“is,” is just a word
and “was,” just an impression.
Loneliness grows as the action goes
further into the past.
(Below the summit
falls the ocean
flecks of chaos foaming
the ocean and sky
drowning each other
reflection in blue).

The tourist takes
a pronoun: you,
once the impressionist painting
that cohered to yesterday
is tomorrow too
you. The dots, the ocean
the world unable
to repeat itself
only able to be
endless
with no chorus
over and over
dots crashing and cradling
the pronoun for the world
I have learned is you.
I learned is as you.

The you is love
the point is made
the drowning begun complete
a drop on the horizon no more
the world is
there is no was
but what is now
you.

A Toast to Sunlight!

A young man sharpens knives
over the meat display
A woman’s chest
falls heavy on the counter -
no one to straighten up for -
her strollered baby cries,
bypassers brace
a smile.

Watch the steam rise off cups,
disappearance to the madness of the mundane.
It is morning again,
compelling us to fulfill
our mugs.

Flicker

Like a moth to a flame
you make my madness.
Heat becoming, coming closer,
sweat easing, in and out,
drunken pores, pouring me,
in between, fingers where
wetness wants to stay inflamed.

There seems no such place
where wings never were,

till you come on.

Aloneness

I saw it torment
the small of your back.

The sun you love, burning
what you could not reach.
The dogged days branding
you, scars of derelict maps.

Recurring Nightmare

This is the dream I dream
again and again.
It is late when sense, long since
sleeping, loses consciousness,
buildings fall parenthetically
and your face appears in the derelict windows.

Worse, there are no words
to say sorry or anything
in need of saying, leaving me
wanting the one impossible possibility:
not to watch you in pain again,
to be the one who comes undone.

But with my secret thanks, morning rises
an epitaph for a dream —
the guilt of existence recurs,
no way to undo what is done.

Scraps

You always called
dutifully, during dinner
inevitably interrupting
what nourishment
we fostered
without you.

The sweet dreams you sent
over a telephone chord
that stretched between you and she
strangled me
in our pristine white kitchen.

The dinner bell, the telephone,
we all jumped for separate reasons
each to complete our scheduled intimacy.
Set around a half empty table
trying to make love seem so simple
was simply impossible.

But these were meals
and I learned fast
to stuff versions of scrapped love
behind my smile,
to eat pain like vegetables.

Anything to insure love could be
worth the hurt.

Brooklyn Christmas Tree

The annual debacle of want
came mid December.
Me craving a bigger tree
and you knowing better
the bounds of our abilities.

We’d place it in our upright shopping cart,
the kind old ladies use that I later
became embarrassed of.
Over many bumps in the sidewalk
we alternately laughed and tripped
making it home only to face the assemblage.
(However many times you pave an ocean,
it leaks.)

One time when you yelled
at your boyfriend across the counter,
louder than you thought, worried faith would die
if we didn’t finish the cards and cookies,
I, wondering what else could go wrong,
quietly took a meat cleaver to the trunk
to make it fit.

Later in the hospital
when the doctor asked
how the wood chip got in my eye
you cried.

I didn’t understand.
I was always there in the morning.

Erased Space

Coffee’s pronounced
with a Boston accent
and I taste nothing.

It’s early
and you’ve changed the calendar
as only great tyrants can.

Today’s AD,
tomorrow’s BC,
I have no object now
no power to control
my subjective reality.

How many summers
and how many winters
since we’ve all not met?
They pass in me,
I seem to be passing on
to where the winter
does not come
after the harvest
instead the new starts
from nowhere
and we’re here really.

There just is no here.

We’ll reschedule a meal
we say before it’s too late
and someone places food
on a grave, dines with
the heretical dead
continuing.

What shortcuts are there?
To this calendar
this rescheduling
this notion that
the harvest comes.

Elsewhere, elsewhere
where are we now
floating between pages
that subscribe to an
undescribed notion
succumbed to misunderstanding.

One day will the world
be fully erased
by the space
between us?
It takes hold slowly.
It takes hold.

The collapse, the implosion, the erosion
of I, the full uncertainty
is here where we can’t be.

I wasn’t born bruised
but here I am today
an old peach.

Why must we still have
great expectations?
Absalom, Absalom
will we find thee?

She Smelled Like Trees

Unforgettable voice,

I await your pleasure
on a broken clock
that tells time right
twice a day.

It’s lonely here
where the past metastasizes
(A grassy pasture,
a bouquet of weeds,
a golf course; evolution
shows little prospect
for completion.)
and knows no simple
ending. Ending?
Nothing ends,
nothing heals,
nothing hardens,
nothing’s forgotten.

No one loves
selflessly. We’re selfish
to reveal ourselves
to have selves
and call it nurturing.

What kind of consciousness
is this? With each one
in our ordered place –
alone.

It is the psychic plot,
overcome by the uncanny
prolongation, the next days
and the logic of all things not closed.

Progress is this
symphony of agony,
of moaning uncertain notes
in continuance.

These are the acoustics
of going under.

Expressionless Morning

I do not want to have to ask
for the things I will not ask for.
I want them to come
like morning.

I want you to be morning
and I know that is more
than I can ask
(because I will not ask for it).

But it would be nice
if you became morning all the same.

And some days you do
and some days I am
tired of wanting more
than morning and so
you in morning are enough —
which is when I remember
I am enough
in morning that is
with me and I am
thankful.

But winter comes
and light holds time less
fast. Speed takes so much
time, and I think,
we are here after all
faster or slower
than morning permits
our tenses to readjust
we’re just here again
and it is enough
that your face is expressionless
when you sleep
and I kiss it still
knowing its rise
and rise and rise.

What Faulkner might teach on “Mammalian Ludicrosities” (“If we could just unravel in time”)

Once you get inside me
what do you expect?
(I am just another
tenement, awaiting a coffin).

We can’t stand our lives
up that long, sagging
towards death, afraid.

There is no little place
to keep shop, to think
the world in shape.

I want to be let in
where the blood runs free
I am dying. To see what?
More than the mind can doubt:
my very self —
tiny, frail, meager, fallen.

Smell yourself rotting
and try not to die.
Instead stay stuck there
pitchforked between iron skies
and copper fields,
alive in this mud puddle
and then
splash, splash!
in our bodies of wetlands,
tears and animal tracks,
no irrigation, just subsumption.

Can you see and still
want to spill you into the world,
the current of the natural
and drown knowing
there is no reason to think?

Can you want to become mud,
to violate you and I
to love our inadequate selves,
to erase the thoughts that began
the boxes that made us believe
in patches and fixes
and all the justifying
to bury the dead
before noting how limited
how alone?

No, we cannot be cleansed
of metaphor —
in this world of empty words
we still want privacy
to be able to know better
why flesh rots.

But you know,
even the best made glass jar
explodes in winter.

Garlic Press

My mother harps on apologies
over not giving me her
father’s garlic press.
We feel guilty
for what we cannot give.

It is a small thing, I say.
(That isn’t really so small
seeing as vividly
I remember the light gray
chipping metal
that might have looked sharp
at one point, mechanical,
fresh out of a factory,
or maybe came with him
from Italy, before her,
before he worked
at the factory even.)

I never met him;
She had me late,
he left early —
some combination.

Sometimes she made spaghetti
on his old pasta machine
(which wasn’t suggested
for my new apartment,
which I don’t even know
how to use).

There are these things
about each other
we will never know.

And now, cooking dinner,
my new garlic press
makes me feel too old,
so far, from what once was
home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Home

What else could inspire us
Creatures to habitate.
Hopes of walled bliss
of rooms where light shines stronger
on the best parts of ourselves.

Outside, the world offers
no such planted mirrors
but mountains, ridges
and moons seduce.

It is a hopeless romance
between a bedroom and the view.
How lucky we are
to be animate
to have feet.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Apartment at Night

It’s late
when crane lights still flicker —
and not much seems natural
from one box between two others.

A light bulb slowly fading
will never know why
we sustain it —
fearing dark and death.

It will never know the of course
of your skin and mine.

There’s much to be built
by hands that touch,
but not much more than this
to be had.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Coffee

When I’m the early morning bird
who’s lost her appetite for the worm,
and I think the world has lost all taste,
I drink coffee. The sun insists
I know no other way.

I find you stirring,
milking my madness.

Like a coffee ground in a filter
you catch me and we brew the day.