Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Billows


Billows of sheets and things, a spore’s rusty stump. Making me eat some things, narrow hungry hump. I have a dear whose money is wind and humming. Rip me from this very vine. Petrichor. Dangle me in rain. There is no time for time, only when punctuations circle ends like prey. But wait a moment. I was addressing the billows, under which a lissome arm is nestled between my knees. He is sleeping. I am sleeping. No—that’s not right. I am under undone tulle, hardly unconscious, even less young. This arm: a merchant of heat and string. It is only a sheet. Filaments so insouciant. It is very rude. But do not think I don’t suppose all the rickshaws running. I considered it. Remember the humming? No one loves me. So on with spore-burst and rusting. On with the eye-blink and dusting. On with the mellow sun, the lonesome earth, and the dying sea. Take your song and eat it. I am woebegone.

Love Poem


1.

His hands are large steaks at the end of strong branches, and when he closes his fingers together, they form such a perfect surface, a tapered oval, flat edges coming together that it appears as if the hands were once land masses shaken on fault lines into five peninsulas; the shores still mirror the other’s across the ocean of splayed hands. His fingers are not radiating twigs of a branch; they are slices of bread from a loaf, vertical cuts in a cake.


2.

His hair is black and salted. He is hardly aware of this. But he knows about his eyes. What color are they now? -- he’ll ask a woman looking into them for the first time. I answered, I don’t know, but they are too light, too light of some color that is not green nor brown, certainly not blue, and they are reflecting most of the light rays here and sending them back in the other direction.


3.


His luck is a whiskey drink; the reliability of broken things tied together. Maybe in the original order. Maybe not.


4.

He’s assumed the suit of a train-jumper, generations behind his time. He’d play the banjo if he could, and says he’d prefer to be on the way. But for now, his train-legs aren’t rocking, and he sits on the ground with me awkwardly strumming.


5.

His middle is the fulcrum for his see-saw shoulders; it’s where I like to hold him best, and his arms are crusty with soon to be scars from splinters and nails and pieces that fell free of the things he was building: houses and roots for other people.


6.

His sounds are dinner bells and symbols and books falling off shelves sometimes. I jump ten feet, but then he reaches out, and his hands are cradles at the ends of strong branches.

Tax Season


I’ve been saving my pain since I was very young. Before my peers, I’m not ashamed to say.  Measuring each discrete romantic insult against the others. Writing it down in the general ledger. A betrayal: twelve brass coins. Lost love: thirty in the bank. The interest paid to me fluctuates and correlates to the rate of my hopelessness. This past year the rate was high. And it’s time to add it all up again and see where I stand. Report. Fill out the forms; I claimed zero for insecure. But your affection costs me. In the morning, when you hold me, when you nestle me into your chest, under your heavy arms, and you say “I lost you in the night. Come back,” this fund loses value. Preciousness depletes. I think you aim to squander it all, this which I’ve spent a lifetime collecting, my darling hoard; you’d take it from me without regret, a second thought, just to live with me in lovely poverty.

Beleaguered

Happiness means giving up.
I tell you that, I!—professional supplicant!
Who has bowed before so many testaments.
How else could be live under a tyrant two hundred year old?
A ruddy gold scepter of media, black magic marauder
spraying pesticide and other perilous clouds.
A disease spread through osmosis while the TV is on?
Breaking our hearts in order to preserve our personalities.
Men drowned in their weakness, women in their imperfection,
and specters of shoulds haunting the obedient.
Or perhaps it’s an illusion—of progress and improvement
the curve of the circle too slight to perceive. (Don’t laugh! It’s a trap!)
and like the trap of drunkenness
where everyone sings and then regrets, then come round the bar again
we try and try again, every rule we follow unsung, achievement we claim, unimportant, but so necessary, cling to it, so inhumanly difficult, so disappointing!
How then can we cope with that?
Giving up is our rescue.
I tell you that – I, Beleaguered the Youthful, (and I, for one, your insolent servant, Walton, Gwen) Giving up is our only chance.






Ghost Battalion

 


She sees a formation.
A Spartan square,
men with rheumy noses
and walking feet,
unison steps beating up the
dirt and the dust
with muscles and direction
and erections fueling
their charge toward her
down the hill
They came yesterday
and the day before
when she was washing the dishes
and driving her car


The one in back
has been here the longest
And he’s the tallest and the
youngest
He pioneered these grounds
when there was still grass
and white flowers
Now there’s only weedy mallows
He’s giving cues to the one in the front
Who joined last May.


And all the marches, foot metronomes,
reenactments of love-war moves
harmonious combinations executed
again and again.
They take in-breaths together
And the out breath makes a cloud of
stinking gas -- biological warfare.

Have the men she loved really become
a ghost battalion? A flock, a pack,
a singular desire to eat her heart?
If so--
call her Captain.


But sometimes when it rains
and the dust is wetted down
She sees a field of weary men,
one drags a stick in the ground,
another stares at the sky,
and the tallest looks impatient
as he strums his thumbs
on his thigh.


United as a flock of hens
her memories poised to die.

Wounded Love’s Sonnet

 

I’m not accustomed to love, not this kind.
Time shrinks when you’re here, billows when you’re gone.
Our heart-songs withheld, and contracts unsigned.
But here you are. I kiss you every dawn.
There was a time when we took a shower
to wash the camp-fire soot from our skin?
Through din I heard, as dark shines on phosphor,
through echoes, a fan, (your voice held within)
“I love you,” you said through calloused fingers,
You touched slick skin, and scars that won’t be soaped.
The soot is gone, but the smell, it lingers.
We both pay doubt deposits of our hope.
I didn’t mean to, your heart overhear.
So, while waiting for disaster, I’ll keep you dear.

 
 

Petrichor

Petrichor


I didn’t expect this to be so
ruddy and arid. Everyday. So perfectly
dull most of the time.


I didn’t expect this to be
so sad. Most of the time


grocery stores oppress me.
The laundry and the growing grass
stress me. The weeds laugh.


But then, not often, it’s dewy.
And I forget the toil of desert life
as though I’ve never felt pain at all.
My eyes water with petrichor.


I didn’t expect to be so
perfectly seized, a flood that
captures my cynical roots
and sends me adrift by--


By what?


Different things.


A man playing harmonica
who is only half good
(but he means it),
for one. And then, seized--


thoughts awash in the sudden
change of pressure and density
and cold evaporation
on my skin--


I gasp.