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PROCESS

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SNOW ITSELF ARTILLERY

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My Elitist Exile

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PREEN IN THE ROOFTOP RAINS

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ANGLE OF THE CURVE

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LOOK FORWARD TO SPACE SUCCESS

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BOMBING CHINESE SATELLITES: ANOTHER AMERICAN PAST TIME, SOMETIMES EVEN CANADA INTERVENES. EVENTUALLY SOME BODY HAS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERIC SPACE DEBRIS LEADING TO WHAT UNKNOWNS? 17 RECEPTION

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CAROUSSEL

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FELT FREE BEING THE BEAR

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ENTRANCE OF RINGMASTER

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SUMMERTIME & THE LIVING AIN’T EASY

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BROCHURE OF APPEARANCES

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EVENING PICNIC IN A VALLEY

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NO OUTLET

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HENRY PARKS A BICYCLE IN THE SPACE GARAGE

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Naughty, Naughty

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Hunter/Hunted

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Hexagram Jinx

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SANDOVER

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ACCOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE POEM

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DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS CHAPTER NINE

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To Divide or Not

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FOOD MONEY FOR BIRDS

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HIATUS

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WHERE HIS BIKE LAY FLAT

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COLLAPSED MATH

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WHAT SIXO TOLD ARJUNA

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The long road drawn long like an arrow.

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THE OTHERS

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“I CAN’T ESCAPE UNHAPPINESS,” SAID AUTHOR

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“IN MARRYING YOU I WOULD TRY.”

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TAROT PACK

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Epitaph or Epigraph

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THE GENERAL OF THE CEILING FAN FACTORY

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THERE

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ANOTHER BARRACUDA

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To the Killer

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A Delirium of Aesthetic Wit

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Alphabet

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Preoccupation with Ascent

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The Uncanny of Stretch

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Archipelagos

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Address to the Pinion

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Entitlement

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Piece of Sugar

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Oh My Ellipses

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The Wood Veneer

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This Carrousel

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The Plane Taking Off

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Instructions on Origami

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Sir Walter Raleigh

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Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle.

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Literary Debacles

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BPM 37093: Diamond Palace

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I was always terrified of bears, limited in their genius

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The Voice from the Pier Speaks

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Collapsed Math

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Paola’s River

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The Furthest Star

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At Age Three My Adopted Niece Arrives from India

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A Taxi to New York

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Living Book

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Miscarriage

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As a Child

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ANTELOPE CARROUSEL

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I AM NOT SKY, NOT TREE

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THE VOICE FROM THE PIER SPEAKS

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Gilt the ribbon white the Christmas snow. In the neighborhood you can hear the whistling of the carrousel. I can hear you listening. Shhh. Lie back. It well tell you everything. My jewels grow like islands. Like islands, they drift along the ocean, floating through space-time until the Earth becomes a series of tiny canals and wooden bridges, a world of archipelegos. 112 Where His Bike Lay Flat

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HENRY PRACTICES SPACE SUCCESS

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Hunger Was Coming

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Skipping Rocks, Dream of Fishing

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Passengers Entitled to the Stars

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911

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Thank You

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Love in the Ruins

122

Girls on the Edge of Water

123

Bloodletting

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A Wife on the King’s Death and Her Succession (or Horse Teeth) 125 Mildness

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Being Accused of Genius

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The Spotlight

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Her Winter Rite

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Double Helix

131

Scholar of Feelings

133

Instructions on Origami

134

Binding Arbitration

135

If tin disguised glass

136

Sir Walter Raleigh 1

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Sir Walter Raleigh 2

138

Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle.

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Literary Debacles

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Stabilizing Effect of Collaboration

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Re:

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UGLY METAPHOR  

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PROCESS   I.     When  my  eyes  blink  cleanly,  as  if  by  this  gaze   I’m  occupied  with  serene  sense,   the  word  “process”  from  the  spine  of  a  book   obtrudes,  and  is  taken  in,  I  leave  that  space   move  hence,  to  my  bed,   reap  into  parts   the  head  of  the  story,   the  arms.     In  dormant  space,  where  light   piano  keys  call  my  ears  away   into  the  other  room,  closer  to  the  other  door,   where  the  birds  are,  where  rain   patters  still,  pattered  earlier.     I  recall  the  ribbon  of  violin  strings,   intermittent,  by  the  hedgerows,  the  creekbed,   one  spring,  remember   Henry.     II.     If  I  overtake   time  now   tread  back  into   time     I  see   clearly   a  ruminant   cloved-­‐animal.   A  word  in  the  dictionary   meaning:   to  chew  cud,  turn  over   in  the  mind.     III.     How  stomach  and  mind  be  linked.  Methinks   upon  this  happenstance.  If  ever  love   cleaved  the  gut  and  mind   and  led  to  violence    


in  that  union,   if  ever  the  lover  did  reject     the  contents  of  her  lunch   into  civilized  porcelain,   while  thinking  of  betrayal,   visions  of  his  leave-­‐taking,   the  departure  of  spirit,  even  before   his  body  did  leave.  Gallows  draw   a  boundary  around  his  steel  trajectory   to  unknown  space.     IV.     Who  are  the  enemies  of  process?   I  ask,  laying  down  my  pink  Huffy,   walk  to  the  shallow  bed   where  a  crawfish  lay.     V.     Claw.  Unbroken  then  broken.   Claw.  Unbroken  then  broken.     VI.     In  Tennessee  I  saw  a  jar.   The  jar  was  me.   I  held  it  where  my  heart  was,   as  a  metaphor  for  heart.   It  was  still  as  any  still  thing,  as  still  as  a  painting.     Of  a  painting,  we  do  not  ask  it  to  speak.     Of  my  longing  for  Henry.   Ellipses.     VII.     And  that  is  where  the  vatic  went.   I  called  to  the  crab.   To  the  lonely  turtle.   I  wanted  oneness  with  seahorse.   Surcease.  Wanted  to  cantilever  upwards   on  that  carrousel  horse.   Of  its  enigma,  I  ride  regret   having  to  dissect,  


tear  into  pieces   the  crawfish  head.   arms  lay  in  bits   where  Henry  may-­‐as-­‐well   lay  dead.     VIII.     I  want  to  tell  you  about  the  look   I  get  sometimes   wandering  past   a  shelf  of  books,  how  a  single  word   decodes  the  illusory   of  my  moods,   how  a  single  nightmare   can  emit   a  thousand  lyrics   of  repair,   and  skip  along  the  water’s  surface   as  the  pools  clear  out  again.    


Most  pleasure piers  looked  distinctive  however.  They  pointed   determined  fingers  into  the  sea.  They  were  designed  by  engineers  not  architects.  


SNOW ITSELF ARTILLERY   To  intrigue  your  ear,  I  would  throw  my  words   around  those  antelopes,  reign  in  their  horns,   who  in  our  private  lore  always  thwart   your  carrousel,  but  end  the  mention,  well  before     the  bicycle  crash,    which  closed  that  chapter   of  space  success.  You  were  so  distant,  still  out   there.    I  tried  to  detour  this  anecdote   to  our  most  outside  layers,  least  monster     layers,  to  my  umbilical,     blue  shivers  run  down,   my  birth  rite  emerging,  a  memory   of  what  I  also  heard.  


My Elitist Exile   What  if  existence  really  is  repeated?   As  I  do  this  again,   Am  I  on  repeat?   I  keep  four  fingers  down   and  touch  my  thumb.   In  the  future  will  I  keep   my  fingers  down?  Opening  already,  turned  around   at  a  checkout  counter,   another  detour.  No  big  nuisance—   Anapestic  salutes:  bring  me  bananas,  or,     milk,  closer  to  chance  occurrences.     I  had  employment,   then  quit,  editorial  delays   connecting  day  to  day,   had  no  money-­‐outcome.  Whereas     the  stars  were  already  out   for  my  newborn  eyes  to  see.     Elitist  exile,     in  this  nether  ice,  where  Henry  locks  me  up.   I  will  go  home,  again.  I  will  return.     What  happens  if  existence   really  is   illusory?  Changes,  sweep  softly   over  cloudy  complaints,  laughter,  already  opening,   rippled  shadows  through  wide  trees   caress  their  dappled  fingers  on  the  paved  roads   we  sometimes  drive,  on  our  way  back  to  the  prairie  houses   where  we  were  schooled.  Doing  this,   for  now,  I  keep  my  thumbs  opposable.  


PREEN IN THE ROOFTOP RAINS If  you  live  on  Henry  James’   INKBLOT.    If  the  curry  fit  to  work  on  Saturday.   Hamlet,  rest  ye.    An’  no  hurry  e’en  fit’in   For  that  lass.  By  the  time  he  turned  in  her  RX,  she     Was  buried  beneath  Earth’s  glass.   Without  PLOT,  without  riot.   If  you  live  on  Henry  James’    Street,  how’s     A  carrousel  rescind   Its  golden  promise?  Directly  to  you,  or  me,  and  once  lured   Us  before—How  does  this  explain  the  bicycle  lore?     Lay  your  bicycle  softly  on  unsubstantial  asphalt,   And  if  you  have  to,  let  him  go,   As  you  see  your  angels’  stalemate  rising.  Henry’s  half     of  the  sky’s  already  defined,  and  darker.  


Practice of the Art Conditions Metaphor     As  empire  hustles,     the  romancer  evokes     the  crisis.  Still  I  believe     in  nothing  answering  back,   in  your  harlot's  uses,   any  prosthesis,  believe  in  whatever   pries  open  the  face     into  its  vestige   of  smile.  Or  do  I?   Assume  Sex  as  product's  end,     via  process.     Its  aims  repudiate,   never  worth  the  gossip.       Sex's  obvious     as  the  rhythms  of  oarlocks.


EXPERIENCE   I  poked  my  stick,  responding  to  orbs   of  a  sister  pool,   Echoing  southwards.  Just  to  show  me  my  reflection   Gone.    


ANGLE OF THE CURVE   It’s  the  stagnant,  longest  spell  of  silence     on  my  sender/receiver  device.   Office  closed/now  open.  Operations   of  little  flowers     ruminate  in  the  greenhouse   of  Henry’s  science  school.   All  of  a  sudden  it’s  May.   My  eyes  float,  and  like  me   little  mice  horde  copper  pennies   and  like  me,  they  cuddle   for  pink  cameras  in  the  tiles.   My  winter  euphony   rose  sweetly.  The  streets,  skyline   empire’s  signature,  moved  into   the  natural  world.  My  buttress   fable       clavicle:  fire,  now     gobbles  white  animals,  and  my     dry-­‐pressed  rose.  Even  my     rose.         But  then  the  terra     was  planted,  a  budding  green,     and  the  terra  cotta  pot,   and  the  lips  of  its  limbs  into  art  deco  curves.  As  I  angle     another  form,   another  form   of  fauna,  again  as  I  hoist,     add  counterpoint     and  weight.  A  shelf  of  afterlives   already  contrives     to  improve  the  air.    


LOOK FORWARD TO SPACE SUCCESS   The  ceiling  fan’s  all  that’s  left   of  Henry  James’s  bicycle.     Every  night  I  walk  upstairs   and  close  the  bedroom  door,  to  read  for  an  hour.       The  fan’s  revolutions:  incessant,     unscrewed,  a  metronomic  rattle   similar  in  syncopation     but  not  in  tone  to  Henry’s  bicycle  wheels,  as  the  wind       fled  through  the  spokes,  which  it  often  did.       This  time,  Henry’s  a  dead  man.   Or  I  mean,  this  time,  he’s  not.     (Another  alarm  clock  wakes  me   my  antelope  ring  tone,  another  morning—     the  ceiling  fan  machinery  wobbles)     mystery  had  been—where—     you  were  going—now,  it’s—when     have  you  gone.     I  count  Chinese  Sparrows—or—     rise  above  myself     into  the  fan  blades.         The  way  I  lost  my  manhood   was  more  like  wrong  sperm  right  place,     so  I  put  a  little  more  fear  in  the  cheer.   Decapitation  more  lively,  someday,     with  the  loosening  of  grommets.       Antelopes   for  breakfast,  and  all  morning  the  carrousel     whirrs  again  with  threat  of  its  annihilation,     too  soon  after  coffee,   General  Mercury’s  horse  whinnying,   hoof-­‐tracks  made  from  coffee  grains,       over  the  surfaces     of  my  living  space.  My  living  space,  qua     assassination.  Or,  another  way  


I  lost  my  manhood:  unloading     the  groceries,  suds  up  my  skirt.   What  I  don’t  get  back     mowing  the  lawn.     Not  this  coldest  me—though  I  once  resisted           all  the  fish  in  China.     I  am  no  communist,  until  I’ve  had  a  good  shave.   May  it  be  here,  as  well  as  anywhere,  this  hunt         for  the  golden  ring.  On  a  carrousel,  my  female       thighs  (newborn  legs)slapping  against  the  horse  I  ride       all  the  way       to  where?     To  what  tune?  YOU  KNOW  when  the  hand  cranks     and  the  tiny  pastel  (China)  ponies,     ribbons  and  ceramic  bones,  start  to  turn.         What  music  did  the  maker  place         in    the  gearworks  of  the  carrousel?   What  music  did  the  maker  place       inside  its  microchip?     (Da  da?  Tra  la?)     If  Henry  were  here     he’d  answer  me,  or     be       able  to  tell     you  Something  apocalyptic  happened,     in  space  time  (remember).   He  had  managed  (to  chase  or  follow  the  sound)       by  pedaling  his  bicycle  around  (the  speed  of  light)         so  practical.     O,  no  way,  beyond     no  other  way     of  reaching  that  voice                 taunting     singing  to  him  


from  across  the  pier.     Look  forward  to  space  success,     I  remember  him  saying.    


BOMBING CHINESE SATELLITES: ANOTHER AMERICAN PAST TIME, SOMETIMES EVEN CANADA INTERVENES. EVENTUALLY SOME BODY HAS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERIC SPACE DEBRIS LEADING TO WHAT UNKNOWNS?   .There  was  no  there,  there.   But  there  was  a  pier.  The  pier     would  cast  the  echo   so  well  for     whomever,        the  voice  was    saying,     saying   there,  there,  you  are  going  to  die,  there,  there.     Henry  heard  the  voice;  I  was  busy  on  my  equipage.     What  music  did  the  maker     place  inside  the  microchip,         in  the  gearworks  of  the  carrousel?     Rachmininoff?  Meh.  Too  much  depends  on  the  pacing—what  a  nightmarish  (cartoonish)   horse  ride  that  would  be!  and  Bach?  Ornate  enough,  but  too  lofty.    These  horses  were   becoming  seahorses.  Or  I  walk  off  this  machine.  Deboard.  For  my  fear  of  descending   below  the  nadir  ice.  Where  I  don’t  want  to  be.  With  those  antelopes  again.  I  was  chilling.   General  Mercury.  He’s  at  home  now.  We  could  make  beautiful  music  together.  Every   day,  he’s  suggesting  Motown,  Ziggy  Stardust.  Stuck  here.  He  reformed  like    brings   suggestions  by  every  day;  so  old  and  only  now  discovering  rock  and  roll;  it’s  always  Ziggy   Stardust  and  Motown.  Stuck  here  now,  in  the  American  Dream,  Taxi  Driver  reformed.   But  what  he  did  to  those  families  in  France.  The  murder  of  innocents  during  the  war.  


RECEPTION   Time  was.  We  ferried  back   and  forth.  Cell  phone  signal  faded     whenever  someone  was  about  to  say   I  love  you.  But  Henry  didn’t  know   anything  about  time,   so  preoccupied  with  ascent.   I  thought  he  might  have  been   jealous,  once,  but  how  do  half-­‐   formed  thoughts  surrender  win?   I  had  no  one.  Henry  was     chasing  that  sound.  Love  was     on  the  ground,  and  I  kept  on  walking   towards  a  better  signal,  listening     for  your  voice,  shutting   the  others  off.      


CAROUSSEL   You  were  a  star  too,   bicycle  bursting  out  of  the  poster   to  see  beams  of  light  fall  curving  to  earth   from  a  huge  eye   that  only  sees  under  the  canvas.   Muscular  strength  is  slow  and  serious  in  the  bluish  light   giving  us  certainty  in  specific  examples:   the  precision  of  the  antelopes,  while  the  horses   tarry,  glee  locked  into   a  perspective  twisting  the  body's  shape.   How  it  floats  like  in  a  dream.   Empire’s  exciting  in  this  light.   Far  from  here,  anonymous   hands  torture  arms  and  legs   of  yellow  prophets     coming,steel-­‐tipped—                          Inches  nearer  the  surface.   If  the  ice  breaks  out  into  semaphores,  we     wait.   And  ropes  crack     Along  to  piano  music  cranking.   Ringmaster  operates  a  great  machine.   He  doesn’t  want  to  show  the  world  his  gears.  


FELT FREE BEING THE BEAR     Music  guides  my  attention,  de-­‐     natured,  on  the  drive  to  the  mountains.     nightmares  of  bears     plaguing  my  brother  last  night.  A  trailer  of  horses  being  pulled     in  the  periphery  of  my  right  eye.     he  tells  of  ferocious  bears  hanging  out  in  the  moonlight.   You  can’t  play  dead  when  your  dreaming.  I  say,       so  we’re  driving     to  the  mountains,  towards  that,  listening  to  rock  and  roll     on  the  radio.  He  had  agreed  with  me  straight  off,     which  he  never  does,  then  asked  me     To  repeat  myself.  You  can’t  play  dead.     The  secret  password  that  introduced  me  to  canned  you?     When  the  igloo  sun’s  away  .  .  .     I-­‐Ching  revealed  a  signpost,  divining  this   But  his  lips  suggest  a  tragedy  no  heart  can  make  clear.  Does  he  think     of  his  red  flesh,  falling  in  chunks?   We  were  drawing  near  a  marina     where  pine  trees  and  chalets       seemed  indifferent,     transparent   and  so  the  trip  took  us  beyond  hope       and  death,  past  community  gates  that  rose  up,  when  we  told  them  the  code.       and  the  chill,  the  hurt?     It’s  where  we  are  now,       up  in  the  mountains,  theatrical,  surveying  nature.     “Awash  in  a  bath  of  moonlight.”     Try  looking  the  other  way.      


Semaphores can  only  be  accessed  using  the  following  operations:  Those   marked  atomic  should  not  be  interrupted.     Notice  that  incrementing  the  variable  s  must  not  be  interrupted,  and  the  P  operation   must  not  be  interrupted.     The  value  of  a  semaphore  is  the  number  of  units  of  the  resource  which  are  free.     Differences  between  mutexes  and  semaphores  are  operating  system  dependent.       Semaphores  notify  events.  Mutexes  are  meant  for  mutual  exclusion  only.          


ENTRANCE OF RINGMASTER of  chocolate  truth  strawberries      in  newspapers   we  assumed  too  many      corridors  and  trunks   from  signs  on  doors     nervous     confident     soldiers  from  their  novel  expressions,  so  many   I  had  not  thought                    narrow  layers  of  such  strong  air?   felt  so  good  for  the  night  falling      


SUMMERTIME & THE LIVING AIN’T EASY     I  covet  in  the  form  of  desire  (watermelon  gin     cooling  on  nightstand)   my  own  entry  into  the  cotillion,     a  decal  of  ignorance   sets  its  own  trap.  If  only  the  wall     broke  down  as  such,     wherever  it  really  is   (the  gin  diminishes     as  it  refreshes)  and  would  deadly  remain     cool  in  conscience   lament  the  fascist  leaders,   become  depressed  over  this   and  its  accoutrements  such  as  war,   or  oil,  or  empire,  until  contained     by  the  same  Sweet  Machine  as  Stardust,     Errancy,  disobedience,  a  new   quarantine  will  take  my  place,  et.  al.     Ce  m’est  egal.  If  it  were  only  my  place.     Meet  me  at  the  carrousel,   da  da,  I’m  always  headed  there.    


BROCHURE OF APPEARANCES   I  filtered  water  through  potatoes   in  the  wire  net   of  relationships.     We  weren’t  communists  or  comrades.   Lay  the  bicycle  on  its  side.   Dark  satellites  in  the  sky.     Is  this  really     friendly?        


EVENING PICNIC IN A VALLEY     Water  drains  down  the  sink   from  a  colander  of  potatoes.   Morning  as  usual,  offered   a  porous  substitute  for  those   criss-­‐crossings  of  sleep.  Only  minutes   before  I  nearly  found  you  around   a  metaphysical  corner.  Only  hours  ago   before  daylight  offered  a  different  promise,   a  different  discord.  This  is  the  ending   I  must  have  chosen,  my  pelvis  pressed     at  Formica’s  edge.  So  now   I  am  here  where  a  forest’s  light     sweeps  through  leaves,  offers     patchy  allusions  of  a  blue  sky     and  its  yellow  bending.  All  this,  combines   with  darkness,  does  not   insist  on  separation.  Hot  steam  rises     from  the  colander,  and  I  slice  skins     with  a  sharp  red  knife.   Questions  eluding  me.     What  if  I  were  the  forest     and  you  were  the  light,     and  you  were  leaving  your  place,     to  find  me  in  mine?     What  is  black,  then?     What  is  blacker?    


As  if  you  really  were  the  arbiter     of  Henry’s  destiny  I  needed  you  to  be.   As  if  I  could  ever  live  without conditions.  


Author  had  seen  more  than  she  wanted  to  see.    She  closed  her  book.    Anybody  could   see  that.    She  closed  her  book  with  force.    She  wanted  people  to  see  that.         She  found  him  by  the  creek,  skipping  rocks.    When  she  sang  his  name,  he  didn’t  look  up.     Author  stripped  down  to  her  pink  bikini  and  jumped  in.     “Author!    What  are  you  doing?    You  can’t  swim  in  there!”     “Why  not?”  She  asked,  sticking  out  of  the  water  from  her  waist  up.    “The  water’s  nice.”     “Well,  stupid,  there’s  a  monster  in  the  water.”     Author  strode  towards  the  bank  where  Henry  was,  her  thighs  cutting  into  the  thick,   brown  water.      “What  kind of monster?”       “The  kind  that  wants  to  eat  you,”  he  said.     “Oh  yeah,”  she  said  and  removed  her  sneaker,  dunked  it  into  the  water,  flicked     the  water  at  him:  “Now  you  have  monster  cooties.”            


Muddy  bicycle  tracks  on  the  walkway  to  the  front  door,  evidence  that  He’s   been  here.  How  nonchalantly  without  even  rustling  the  stray  leaves  on  the  concrete.  His   wanderings,  always  with  the  grace  of  an  Apache,  outside  the  General’s  bedroom   window,  his  knife  shining  in  the  moonlight.  Though  the  sound  of  him  sharpening  it   afterwards  would  have  been  audible  to  the  General’s  ears.     Here  he  lies  outside  the  General’s  house  in  a  pool  of  blood,  his  buckskin  shot  through   with  the  General’s  gun  by  the  General’s  wife.  She  stands  there  in  the  darkness  of  her   legacy.      


NO OUTLET     In  the  light  of  time’s  street  sweeper,     a  row  of  ants  dribbled  along  a  curb,  so  tiny,     I  gave  thanks  for  being  human.  The  not-­‐sound  of  squirming     and  the  not-­‐sound  of  ants  dying  under  foot.  Each  one,     lived  to  be  seen,  not  heard.Up  and  down  Terrace  Road,     bugs  multiplied  in  miniature  colonies.     That  ice  cream  cone  turned  over  on  the  road  many,  many  years     Ago.  That  is  the  food  of  ants.     ‘Oh  keep  the  worm  away”  That’s  my  nostalgia.     My  dog  who  stays  still  when  I  call.  I  will  burn  the  sugar     off  the  ant,  begin  a  fire  with  glass  and  sun.  You  are  at  the  end     of  this  path,  my  friend.  Terrace  Road  lets  out  no  one.    


HENRY PARKS A BICYCLE IN THE SPACE GARAGE   I.     The  clouds  begin  where  I  keep  perfumed   under  the  carrousel’s  ceiling.  Imagine  an  archer’s   arrow  connecting  with  Henry’s  bicycle,  as  Henry   pedals  through  woods  and  into  stars,   the  pacifist  descends  to  combat.     The  plot  begins  where  I  was  ending  up   in  Henry’s  story,  or  any  other  I  might  write.   For  now,  there  was  this  nonchalant     ceiling  fan,  which  I  saw  chopping  my  head  off   from  boredom.  I  was  ready  to  cut  and  run,     right  off  the  page,  into  another  kind  of  paradox,     more  surreal,  like  concealment,  or  space.  Only,     this  was  where  Henry  was  riding  his  bicycle.       II.     He  had  a  blue  screen.  I  had  an  implicit  feeder  in  my  inner  ear.     And  historical  relevance  on  my  ceiling.  Do  his  prompts,  his     projections,  ever  go  on  the  fritz?       Does  he  have  nightmares  like  this?     Even  the  antelopes   react  to  God’s  caprice.   Where    antelopes  roam,  they  pranced,   frenzied  under  nadir  ice,  below  my  feet   compact  from  centuries  of  vice     —all  for  one  cause—   the  golden  ring’s  effusive   call,  its  spectacle  of  horses.     III.     Henry’s  like  this     remotest  paradox.       On  an  elevator  like  this?     Henry  asked,  as  I  debased  him.  


Divorce  Henry   was  the  saddest  see  you  later  alligator   appearing  on  his  screen.   She  had  1,  2.  She  had  1,  2.     These  saddest  words  appearing  on  his  escape,   debased  him.  As  if  such  remorse  could  spark   a  sudden  interest  in  space  apparel.     Whether  made  of  mylar  or  plastic   vellum,  elastic  or  neoprene.  The  tear  in  the  fabric  scratches     like  my  hiss,  ages  from  now.  He  was     deer-­‐parked  in  his  elegance,   He  was  a  rapier,   I  was  unmade,  managing  the  saddest  face.     An  alligator,  replacable.   A  poor  transmitter,   lullaby,   an  orbital  constant,   retracing  my  steps  back  to  the  basement   where  I  once  saw  a  bat     fright  out  from  a  holler.       IV.     My  metronomic  hastier  resistor  embedded  in  hysteria   sounds  like  routine  equivalents  carried  forth.   Below  nadir  ice  (where  the  antelopes  roam)   into  outer  space,  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  or  my  papiol,   even  they,  direct  their  SENTENCES,   at  the  pier’s  end,  towards  the  carrousel,     even  to  such  suburban  prisons  where  I  dwell.     I  keep  it  all  in  the  family,  per  se,  since  the  general   killed  them  today,  it’s  hard  to  surfeit   the  names  for  whom  my  secrets  are  purchased,  for  whose   sake  I  carve  hieroglyphs  of  markings   on  antelopes  with  my  ice  skates,  round  and  round,  until       I  fall.  


V.     There  is  one  clear  voice  that  easily  registers  every  other  silence,  every  other,  as  long  as   you’ve  been  called.  This  voice  promises   a  pair  of  ears  for  hands.     I  can  hardly  stand  to  hear.  Or   consider  her  voice  from  any  other.     I  leave  it  to  Henry,   and  howsoever  he  hears  it,  no  matter     how  I  try  to  refoot,  back  again  towards  icy  breakers,   when  on  a  neon  night,  breaths  suspended,   and  longing  faltered  from  the  moon  to  land   on  rain  swept  pier,  plunge  into  the  ocean,     dive  closer  to  the  antelopes,   when  I  first  heard  the  sound,   first  saw  the  blood  appear.     VI.     Henry  and  I,   together  then   on  our  bicycles,  the  gathering  of  our  impulses   where  we  rode  round  and  round,  grounded   by  a  nether  voice,  which  we  met  there,  when  we  got  there.     Look  forward  to  space  success  the  voice  said,   jangling  in  our  ears,  dogtag  clatter’s  crystal.     Let  go  of  Indian  summers     and  balloon  strings,       hula  hoops  and  pinstripes,       jars  of  lemonade,     serenades  of  june  bugs,     piñatas  strung  over  car  lots,     cherry  bombs;  burnt  ends     of  candlewicks.  Let  go  of     midnight     swims     wings  worn  in  the  school  play,     hold  the  lettuce,  


a  pink  bicycle,     a  red  mitten  unraveling.     Let  go  of  the  breath  you  held     for  the  dead  canary,   Pluck  a  yellow  feather,       Press  it  in  a  book.         VII.     Henry  represented   the  worry  of  walls.     Interupption:  italics     Where  is  Henry,  where  is  he,   to  get  explained  my  whereabouts?     Exactly  who  heard  that  voice     pitched  exactly  at  the  curve  of  the  pier’s  end.  Who  exactly?     Where  is  Henry,  where  is  he,   to  get  explained  my  whereabouts?     The  voice  also  frightened  me  there  and  there.   Doubly  at  the  end  of  the  pier.     Where  is  Henry,  where  is  he,   to  get  explained  my  whereabouts?     VIII.     What  he  heard,  I  myself  had  heard   pitched  exactly  as  others  also  did,  that  voice   at  the  end  of  the  pier.     But  nothing  frightened  me  more     than  the  ominous  light  beneath  the  door.     IX.     The  verdict:  The  ceiling  fan  became  a  spokes  and  tire.  Tick  tock,  its  spinning   thrusts  a  jangling  clop,  just  like  an  analogue  clock.     Time  for  the  archer,  some  kind  of  joke,  to  say,    


you  will  fight,  to  release  wisdom,  earn  peace.  Another  de/lay,     Coming  closer  and  then  closer,  then  the  1  is  called,  another  remains.   The  old  story  of  number  2s  connecting  night  and  day.     Seahorses  don’t  appear  from  thin  air  or    magic.   Antelopes  and  horses,  figments  of  imagination.     Where  do  they  come  from?  China,  I  guess,   as  the  owl  of  Minerva  flies  out  of  the  great  wall.     How  does  a  3  or  4  become  smaller?   Send  the  Papiol  off  to  war  and  he’ll  grow  stronger.     X.      Does  he  have  nightmares  like  this?     Embedded  in  the  earth’s  glassy  body,     antelope  glaciers,  celestial  and  primitive.     Prehistoric  class:  ruminant.  Plunked  like  glass   into  the  chiasmus  of  the  creek  ceiling.       Crescendoes:  pressing  one’s  back,  one’s  shoulders   against  the  saturation  of  stars,   the  hush  and  splendor  of  silent  space.     But  the  horses,  barely  breathe  anymore.   The  whinnies  of  the  carrousel   die  down,  whatever  music       the  maker  made  to  carry  out  the  crusade,   Well,  what  do  I  know?  Haha  bangbang     only  dreaming  of  travelling  to  the  Great  Wall,     only  dreaming  of  other  lives.     XI.       I  don’t  like  having  this  boulder  put  to  me.      


I  don’t  like  the  ambiance  of  this  jazz,   music.  Click.  The  flutes  jettison.   A  rumble  as  the  brigade  turns  on   my  remotest  anxiety,  the  v   of  birds  enter  the  cleft.   Wingspan  dithering   in  a  pentameter  of  a  Sunday  morning,   listening  to  David  Bowie   in  Milledgeville,  GA,  CD  Wright,   my  red  gloves.  I  throw  down   this  poem  about  the  turbines.     How  did  Henry  James  stop  the  insubstantial  stuttering  of  our  sex  and  learn  to  pass   through  AWE  into  AWE?    Alter  these  corpuscles.  Mix  in  the  platelets.   And  every  now  and  then   pops  up  a  dirigible,  slicing  its  hawsers   one  by  one.  I  can  hear  the  artillery  clicking.     Radio-­‐static  blurs  the  receiver  I  need   to  speak  these  public  lines.     My  ear  chip  on  the  fritz,  hot  and  sweaty     behind  the  podium,  I,  the  medium,     hiding  behind  her  seasoned  artifice,     rose  to  tell  you  this.   (I  hog  the  phone  repeating  every  story  twice)   But  in  that  moment  felt  the  wobble,  lost  use   of  the  equipment,   begged  god,  the  machine   to  work  again,  channel  sentences     I  understand.           XII.       The  owl  of  Minerva  flies  out  of  the  great  wall  into  garages  of  the  universe.     Cars  parked  in  them.   People  in  the  cars.   Machines  in  the  people.   The  chip  inside  the  machine   works  in  the  holler   to  recover  the  body.     (This  pen  sounds  fricative  against  this  paper,  in  my  ear’s  thrum  many  futures  hence.)  


I  rehearse  my  part.     In  my  ear’s  thrum  ages  from  now,  I  remember  I  heard  what  Henry  heard.   When  I  rehearse  my  part,  I  remember  I  heard  what  Henry  heard.     Eons  from  now,   vibrations  against  my  Mylar  suit,   a  substitute  for  bicycles.  From  the  hand  of  the  dice  thrower,   I  am  launched.       I  am  following  him.   Hearing  the  voice  taunt  now  when  before  it  was  like  a  siren’s  song.     Ha.  I  caught  you  again.   Death  sentence  plunged     in  the  nadir  ice.  Ha.  Ha.   I  was  sent  on  by  telegraph.     Antelopes  again.  Ha.  Ha.   I  caught  you  riding  on  the  carrousel.     Oh  was  it  a  hoax?   Or  was  it  a  hoax?     I  caught  you  again   on  the  carrousel     daydreaming  about  horses     and  galloping  ha  ha   I  caught  you         XIII.     In  hearing’s  portal,  the  car   is  indexed,  inside  the  garage.   The  car  pulls  out.  Backing  out  into     the  street,  at  any  speed,     is  now  an  option.  God-­‐granted.  Backing  out   at  any  speed  is  now  an  option.   1.2.3  I  clear  my  voice.     I  look  through  the  death  mask  I  wear.  


Tap  at  the  microphone  pedal.   Hear  the  bad  signal  scratch  back     pad  through  static  into  a  cleaner  air.     Every  now  and  then,  I  get  worried   about  the  chip  in  my  ear.       Dirigibles.  Sounds  enter  me  like  strings  in  rosary  beads.     They  come  back  as  English,   American.   I  dilate,  my  corpuscles  steady,  descend,  work  again   in  congress  with  platelets  and  natural  chemicals.     Joy’s  avalanche  falls  on  me  with  AWE.       XIV.       By  the  skin  of  our  bear  teeth,  we  emigrate.  Shelf  life   barely  receding,  barely  distilled.  The  calico  schoolhouse   in  the  distance  where  there  once  was  a  prairie.   I,  Davy  Crockett.  turned  the  television  on     at  home  in  America.  I,  Dostoevsky,  was  three  years  old.   I,  Kumari,  kept  balance,  after  Dee   Vorce,  by  watching  the  families   on  the  television  screen.  The  TV   said.  DIVORCE.  It  was  a  good   rehearsal.  Mere  message.  Pantomiming   the  real,  until  the  real  is  pantomimed.     Garages  of  the  universe.   Cars  parked  in  the  garages.   People  in  the  cars.  Inside  the  people   images  of  these  garages  of  the  universe.     Laundry  machines,  TV  sets,  paint  cans  and  tin   foil  heaps,  spark-­‐plug  kits,  chipped   ceramic  pots,  houseplants.     A  pair  of  creek  sneakers  and  a  bicycle.     The  door  slams  the  TV  shut.     XV.  


Open  the  book  to  open  the  voice.     She  comes  from  across  the  pier.     Look  forward  to  space  success,  the  voice  tells  the  bicycle.   The  bicycle  meets  the  voice  at  the  end  of  the  universe.     A  bicycle  appears  from  nowhere.     With  barely  a  peep,  Sixo  rode  it  into  Henry’s  chamber,   Where  the  bats  lived.     That  door  also  slams  the  book  shut.     XVI.     For  practice  I  took  the  bicycle,   for  awhile  I  practiced  nature.   Rode  the  bicycle  to  the  creek,   no  Nantucket,  but  a  spindly  creek   in  central  Pennsylvania,   crochet  blanket  thrown  aside   from  my  place  on  the  basement  couch.   Legs  still  hot  from  too  much  of  that  comfort.   Flicked  off  the  power  buttons  on  everything   electric.  Stopped.  Took  the  bicycle  for  space  practice   over  the  rocky  driveway.  Moving  forward,  the  rickety  sound   of  air  through  spokes,  engendering   the  historic  sweep.       Space  practice  over  to  the  creek.  And  I  stared:   The  dam  and  fishermen  and  egrets.   An  old  house  on  the  other  alter   set  up  high  with  windows  to  look  at,   not  through.  A  heap  of  mowed  grass.   Egrets  again.  Crawfish  and  worms.   Flat  rocks  like  platelets.  Cantilevered   upward,   as  my  hand  felt  its  way  through   the  proper  arc  and  method  of  throw—   rings  winnowing  out  of  each  one,   2,  3.   Dip  and  glug,  infinite  recurrence  


of  the  same.  The  heart  will  work   for  me,  too,  said  Henry  James,     How  like  an  island   the  bicycle  becomes.    


Naughty, Naughty When I look into that book and next find it just the right size, fits well today inside my paradox. Remotest nub of chance, haunting my every days. Keep it far hence, whatever it was, I know the name but keep my lips pursed. Don’t want to break the spell. When I lift this page up to my beak as you knew I would with my chirping all of yesterday how it was never, ever going to happen again. All of my egrets all white, flying northward, not even frightened, but alas not to return, now, forever out of sight. So nimbly I stay tuned to my next remotest paradox, hurtle upright under duress of stardust. I turn to you, blooming all gloomily purple out there, beautiful in the moors.


Hunter/Hunted A rifle aimed at chance, hunches lead the scent. Another book discarded, skipped rock on the bottom of a creek bed. I look into the next book. Once, I kept it, flint of shale, far hence, tensing through crosshairs, that it must be bad. Twice, it’s nibbling at the feathers. I already let fall. Where? Wherever it was, I knew the name, I’ve changed my language. Hush, as a welt of mystery appears inside my wing. I’m folding into birdsleep, to follow libraries of downed-trees, to ruffle old feathers, shed new ones, soar angled, into stanzas, obedient, axioms, caught under moonlight, rendered where they bramble, sepia of lavender, gloomier than a wolf. When I lift this book up, elegies of the moors, to my beak as you knew, the view, I chose to, even as your dog ears rise, then flap down, generous not to shut closed, with my shrieking all of yesterday how it was ever, never, I am again with song, going to happen. With all of my egrets, all of them modern, flying northward, not returning, not now, part of the hunt.


Hexagram Jinx Try drawing that heart pinker than dread and once drawn away it becomes time to puff out another me, another horse, never stabilized, annoyance with carrousels, the wet blinds, the weepers, the bed being turned-down for another not final rest. I wake mornings 6AM to Antelope alarm bells oozing out of my blackberry pearl, hit snooze being both afraid of my crisis and unmoved.


SANDOVER If I want to travel to Turtle Ocean that’s alright . . . I’ll have to find a way to manage it. And, for God’s sake, No Poaching! Henry James Back again to the cold breakers. Never the sand in toes again. Feels like snow’s coming. Gone already? Let me turn the newspaper page, and see for myself. And yesterday was Turtles. Today it is glass in my soup. Catch, catch, the bauble falling. Begin to stir the soup. Back then there was an old sage. We called him by his name: Sand-over

Sand-over

Back into deeper ocean, the linear crest churned into her remotest self where horizon seemed to greet the plane he stood on. Yesterday was Turtles and tomorrow is a Seahorse and even my own name has gone back home to fetch a mask. Back then there was an old sage. We called him by his name: Sand-over

Sand-over


ACCOUSTIC COFFEEHOUSE POEM   Subscriptions  to  the  New  Yorker.     Being  ruined  by  such  and  such.  Even  that   I  can  google.       The  library  is  closed  by  now,  another  good  idea.       But  this  gnawing  and  gnawing   until  all  spirit  turns  into  muscle.  The  child's  figure,     as  rich.  And  it's  too  hot  outside.   If  I  start  to  notice  other   characters,  they  come  in.   Once     he  disappeared.   I  could  not-­‐-­‐     even  with  the  crooning  music  of  cafe   ambiance,  resurrect  him.      


DISABLED AMERICAN VETERANS CHAPTER NINE   Old  man,  old  man,   out  of  my  left  eye   seeing  you  seeing  me   I  read  your  tshirt  more   than  twice  and  heard   your  substantial  cough   that  will  disappear     as  nothing    


To Divide or Not What about the irrevocable the doorway that split the self apart standing uncertain of the way in or the way out until I was turning a doorknob back in my memory, about to walk inside the basement, decisions being made then, cauterize what can’t be unmade—there being no way out—just my hand on the door knob— choosing to turn. The nucleus reenacts this--to divide or not. There was a creek bed and inside the waters—the ugly crawfish crawling in loose silt. Men fished on the dam, and I loosened my power—drained by the energy the doors needed to stay locked. There is no argument now having chosen—only awe.


You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. We called the dog off Sixo. A voice to look after you, the voice said, “For space success.” Jutting slowly like whale fins from an ocean-pier. You could never chase or follow the sound. without a compass. Quick medium hounds tore off behind the bicycle. Sixo said freeze. Sixo said Simon says. Red light. Green light. Even statue. We tried. We tried to call the dog off the bicycle. It was a voice looking after you, “For space success,” the voice said slowly jutting out of the ocean looking like a whale fin from the pier.


FOOD MONEY FOR BIRDS For three days he spent the food money on birds of every kind. The terrace was now alive with birds.--Anais Nin There was the spotlight and the summit. I would wait there for the plump birds, purple in their paint color. Piebald sky, where the dark emptied and where light came through, everywhere else a scatter of birds. Just to remind me what I’d forgotten (where had I put the money?) They hardly asked me to spell my name; in the coat closet I was tongue-tied. It was the words that made me— my vocabulary. Each bit of stardust mint garden. Each animal, squirrel. I was called to. I was made to come here by this call. They kept erecting some other promises, I never saw myself inside, along the way, affirmed I would be, yes, the president, yes, a paw print in your garden, patriot of two nations, more now as they’ve scattered. Not one bird but two, and then uncountable. Inside each new form was a bird (another alibi) White birds, black birds, each a little v-line constrained by sky, each bleeting distinct. And by these songs I kept entertained. That the money didn’t make me. I was born of something else. And then made soft by


HIATUS     Who  could  say  why  Henry  slept,   lay  supine   and  dormant  ?   When,  even  backing  out   mornings,  and  moving  formward   to  the  intersection   where  I  turned  right   to  go  to  school.   I  could  see.   Weaving  in  and  out,   a  car  door  slamming,   black  cows  on  greenery,   or  the  swatch  of  yellow  lightning,   saying  with  me,  hello  or  amen,  his  voice   tight  around  my  eternal  throat.    


Even in outer space, in a time capsule, words to move us with\ move with us, become the math we understand. It was\ approximately, a way to let you know where I’d be riding the horse: around the carrousel, here and then there, centered on its pinions.

WHERE HIS BIKE LAY FLAT   What  color  was  the  boy's  jacket   in  that  city  where  you  first  saw  snow   where  the  flag  turned  into  itself   by  the  force  of  wind.  Students  say   it  howled  and  the  jacket  was  downy  red.   What  color  was  that  little  girl's  jacket   in  that  country  where  you  first  saw  bees   and  honeycombs,  read  poetry  about  flees   bothering  corpses-­‐-­‐home-­‐grown     and  down  with  the  frogs  jumping  at  the  bog.   That's  where  the  summer  started.   Down  by  the  cray  fish  crawling  onto  a  dam.   That's  where  the  summer  began,  when  I     turned  into  a  man,  a  bicycle  rider  into  blue  sky.     Egrets  fly  long  arcs  into  the  sun-­‐lit  blue,  icicles   dangle  from  that  other  house  all  the  way  yonder   across  the  sea,  a  sea  I  don't  ever  wander   into,  fret  yet,  fingers  spring  in  to  dip  the  water.   Not  a  minute,  not  a  year,  not  a  morning  glory's     worth  of  life,  not  the  blink  of  time  that  was   paradise.  I  pined  at  the  edge  of  flat  ice  cricks,  Henry   wander(ing)  (wandered)   over  where  his  bike  lay  flat,  another  barnacle.  The  ice,   compact,  I  sipped  the  runneth  over  the  rim.   I  see  him.  Icy  him.  Over  and  under   and  tumbling,  lottery  balls  in  the  sifter.   Stiff  corpse  frozen,  just  under   the  surface.  The  hodge-­‐podge  wreck  of  a  man   carted  off  to  the  looney  bin,  my  Henry,  divorced  from   the  probability  of  all  things  falling.   All  falling  things,  echo  visions  flying  as  designed  into  night  sky   gathering  starry  eyelets  that  rouge  pink,  bionically.  


Laser  into  the  chambers  of  the  bicycle's  titanium,  sixo's  work,  stars   and  more  stars,  there  being  no  fear   of  gravity  here,  jostling  in  the  sifter,  volts  rush  and  reach  outwards,   a  thousand  hands  and  at  their  tips  10  thousand  fingers.  Hallucinate   the  color  I  wore   two  thousand  eons   long  ago  under  neon  billboard  signs   blown  glass  orange,  glowing  roundly  and  out  all  along   the  lawn  of  asphalt,  call   Uncle,  calling  Uncle,   Uncle  until  another  boy  became  the  angel  I  made  of  snow.  


COLLAPSED MATH   It  was  time  to  take  over;  the  food  was  in  the  gulch.   Little  primroses  and  the  cantilevered  clouds   perplexed  no  one   anymore.  The  antelopes  had  disappeared     into  the  tall  yellow-­‐green  stalks  of  beech-­‐grass.     My  head  lost  in  prairies      somewhere  in  crisis.     God  knows      it  was  always  supposed  to  have  been  this  way.     It  was  time  to  grapple  with  the  algorithm.     Restore  the  climate  to  what  it  had  been  before  the  hurricane.   Before  the  drought.   Before  the  torrents.   Before  the  desert  crept  into  the  shallow  river  beds.   Before  I  had  gone   back  into  the  formation  of  the  v,   the  disappearing  of  the  form  until  formlessness  reigned,   wobbling  outwards,  slowly  diaphanous,  then  completely  gone.       Out  here  the  stardust     tends  to  scream  into  the  remotest   puddle  of  an  asphalt  alleyway.   Out  here  in  the  third  eye  after  a  game  of  chess.   I  shake  the  archer’s  hand.   He  draws  a  bicycle  in  the  sand.      


WHAT SIXO TOLD ARJUNA dedicated  to  Michael  S.  Harper   I  took  God  down  all  walls.   I  put  God  up.   I  took  God  down  all  walls.   I  put  God  up.   I  took  God  down  all  walls.   I  put  God  up.      


The long road drawn long like an arrow.


THE  OTHERS   In  every  room  a  ceiling  fan,  the  spooks  come  to  offer  metaphors   for  every  poetry.  In  every  bed  I  have  gone  to  rest   terror  in  the  shadow  of  the  blade   that  spins  suspended  from  a  wall   a  guardian  from  rain  and  other  outside  elements   Let  the  sky  come  in   cloud  my  sleep   let  the  clouds  winnow,  tear,     whirl  or  glide  along  moonlight     their  outlines  claiming  a  distance  I  fuck   to  measure,  get  there   where  your  trail  heads  back     behind  the  nursery  track   into  my  mansion  on  a  hill   or  at  the  lighthouse   gabled,  even  a  pale  blue  promise,  let  it  be,  glow     yellow,  blinds  open     on  bedsheets,  a  Decatur  neighborhood,  circa  2002,  my  smile  from  side  to  side  flies  so   fast  I  might  catch  you  still.  Shrilly  buckle  under   the  grasping  and  breathe  once,  collapse.     The  fan  again.  That  dasein  scene  


from  Memento,  I  remember,  without  tattoos   because  I  go  nowhere  there’s  not  a  fan  spinning.  Smile  so  wide,  the  horses   tried  to  run  me  down.   Mistaken  for  their  kind,  wilder,  pre   historic.   Dear  girl,  merely  grew   sick  as  sickness  can  make  me  who  was  born  innocent.     As  a  hunter  I  do  believe  I’ve  become  clever  with  these  tools.   Hold  a  fork.   Spoon  feed  you  clues,  until  you  are  under  the  sheet,  and  then  glazed  over  by  ice.   Fish,  eye,  coaster.   Root-­‐salvage  the  past  this  way.  With  their  nikes     and  blue  jeans  and  goatees.   All  those  earthly  rings  their  glasses  leave  on  a  cherry  table  top.   Makes  me  cry,  to  think   of  my  friends   staying  far  behind.  Down  there  or  up?     Only  peering  up  through  the  whiskey  glass   where  the  rest  of  them  sit  back,  relaxing  despondently,     Questions  as  indifferent   as  these  answers  I  do  not  give  the  hypocrite.  I  stare  up  at  you,  Henry.  


As  if  concentration,  that  mesmerizing     dot    

 

 

 

 

 

 

out  there,  

in  the  process  of  becoming,  would  reduce  or     surrender.   A  flagship  voice  says  don’t  stop  me   you’ve  been  bothering  me  my  whole  life.   And  these  were  “The  Others”   The  ghosts  that  figured  in  a  fabric   in  through  a  hole,  a  certain  light    his  mother  wore.   His  mother  wrought  by  its  other  side.  She  wrote.   She  might  flip  a  coin,  try  death   or  into  her  son’s  consciousness,  extend   and  live  again.  Shhh  lulls  him,  pulling   his  real  mask.  Glimpse  in  droplets   a  sheet  of  death.  The  other  side   of  consciousness—where  science  lives.     The  Other  side.   Where  your  brother  rides  in  circles  reaching  an  arm,   an  extended  finger     poking  a  black  hole,  around  which     a  gold  ring   spins  so  continuously    


it  seems  not  to  spin.  A  hero  entertains  me   but  I  never  listen.  Hear  me  hissing  Henry,  motionless,   Miss    

 

 

 

ing.  

you.  And  these  were  “The  Others”:   Sirens,  singing  women   Henry  entertained.  In  his  ghost  parlor,   I  sat  as  if  drugged—   a  red  liquid  splashed  against  a  divan  or  bed.   In  the  future,  I  am  listening  to  that  purring.   I  take  on  the  pallor  of  harlots,  rendering  your  death!     Unto  you,  now  once   you  found  me  better.   Antler  horns  like  spread  legs.   Against  me  they  moved  their  skins,   like  pelts  they  felt,  primitive  or  furied,   by  being  of  the  room  they  were  the  room   sibilant  bitches   by  being  in  my  heart  they  became  my  heart    

became  animal  

and  became  my  arms  as  their  arms   my  hair  as  their’s  and  as  with  their  lips  I  began  to  respond   Shhh  your  mother  said,  bending  low  to  pet  me   The  blood  appeared  


as  if  I  had  from  her  breast  been  fed     the  same  as  you.     Shhh,  she  said,  I  feel  you  listening.  As  if  inside  a  chrysalis  .  .  .     She  seemed  to  wear  a  yellow  dress.   The  yellow  fabric  changed  to  green.   I  saw  her  glowing  bluer   Then  redder  she  became.   A  pool  appeared  in  which  my  shame  did  ride  upon  the  backs  of  antelopes,  another   carrousel     reconceived   in  hell.      

Yellow  bell.  

And  the  animals  sped  so  wildly  across  the  void,  they  burned,  and  broke,  and   burned.  And  all  that  she  became,  she  became.     And  all  that  she  had  been,  became  rehearsed,  

 

 the  frozen  plain  of  ice  above,     melting,  swallowing  every  space  around  my  skin,   until  I  was  held  there   in  the  womb    

flipping  a  coin        


“I CAN’T ESCAPE UNHAPPINESS,” SAID AUTHOR “IN MARRYING YOU I WOULD TRY.”   I.     The  word  “process”  from  the  spine  of  a  book   obtrudes.  I  leave  that  space,  move  to  my  bed,   reap  into  parts,  the  head  of  the  story,  the  limbs.     In  dormant  space,  where  light   piano  keys  call  my  ears  away,  closer  to  the  other  door   where  rain,  earlier,  patters  still.     Like  violins,  in  and  out,  I  remember  creek  beds,  one  spring.   I  remember  Henry.       II.     If  I  overtake   time  by  treading  back   into  time,   a  ruminant   cloved-­‐animal  appears.     Ruminant:  a  word,   Meaning  to  chew    cud,  to  turn     Over  in  the  mind.     III.     How  stomach  and  mind  be  linked.  Methinks   upon  this  happenstance.  If  ever  love   cleaved  the  gut  and  mind   and  led  to  violence     in  that  union,   if  ever  the  lover  did  reject     the  contents  of  her  lunch   into  civilized  porcelain,   while  thinking  of  betrayal,   visions  of  his  leave-­‐taking,   the  departure  of  spirit,  even  before   his  body  departed.  Gallows  draw   boundaries  for  his  steel  trajectory  


to  unknown  space.     IV.     Who  are  the  enemies  of  process?   I  ask,  laying  down  my  pink  Huffy,   walk  to  the  shallow  bed   where  a  crawfish  lay.     V.     Claw.  Unbroken  then  broken.   Claw.  Unbroken  then  broken.     VI.     In  Tennessee  I  saw  a  jar.   The  jar  was  my  heart.     I    was  still  as  any  still  thing,  as  still  as  a  painting.     Of  a  painting,  we  do  not  ask  it  to  speak.     Of  my  longing  for  Henry.     Ellipses.    


TAROT PACK   Success  prevented  by  Delay   with  a  green  strawlike  7   coming  out  from  in  between  the  word:   De  7  lay.     Guided  by  the  moon.  Wolves   in  the  foreground.     Earns  Rest.  The  one   With  Skill.  The  man  inside  the   infinite   Wheel   will  turn  and  turn.  Until   the  checkered  beehive  background   Opens  to  a  desert  scene.     A  wagon  wheel.   Or,  something  my  type.   In  the  background   I  see  the  city.   Part  of  the  reason  Henry   Stared.   Into  the  spinning  fan   of  desolation.   Part  of  the  reason  the  moon   glows   Over  pillowy  poppy  clouds.   A  lotus  forward  floating.     A  red  sheet  coats  the  background   of  Loss.  A  sword  points   True  north.  While  other  swords   move   southward.                


“At the Grave of Henry James”   Epitaph or Epigraph     All  will  be  judged.  Master  of  nuance  and  scruple,   Pray  for  me  and  for  all  writers,  living  and  dead:     Because  there  are  many  whose  works   Are  in  better  taste  than  their  lives,  because  there  is  no  end   to  the  vanity  of  our  calling,  make  intercession     For  the  treason  of  all  clerks.     W.H.  Auden,  “At  the  Grave  of  Henry  James”         I  kept  returning  to  the  kitchen’s  paradox.  There  was  no  report  of  disease.  There  was   no  general  to  deliver  any  one  of  many  hierarchies.  I  wanted  to  take  the  box  cutter  to   the  police,  insist  I  had  no  involvement  with  crime.  Insist  on  other  forms  of  carnage:   what  my  mind  entertained  but  did  not  realize.  I  can’t  keep  walking  all  these  extra   miles     to  get  nothing  in  return.  Thresholds.     And  with  no  Henry  to  carry  me.     The  trance  just  comes  and  goes.  It’s  the  element  of  surprise  that  keeps  my  antelopes   wishing  for  their  carthorses.  They  enjoy  freakish  codependence  and  befriending   each  other.  But  there  was  no  need.  I  was  told  to  take  the  grommets  to  level  six.  


THE GENERAL OF THE CEILING FAN FACTORY     I  kept  returning  to  the  kitchen’s  paradox.  There  was  no  report  of  disease.  There  was  no   general  to  deliver  any  one  of  many  hierarchies.  But  I  was  sure  there  would  be.   I  dreamed  of  his  white  mustache.  His  old  word  ways.     I  wanted  to  take  the  box  cutter  to  the  police,  insist     I  never  crimed.  Insist  on  other  forms  of  carnage.     What  do  minds  entertain  and  never  do?   And  all  these  miles  walked  for  nothing.     No  threshold.  No  Henry.  The  trance     just  comes  and  goes.     Comes  and  goes  like  a  ticking  bomb.  Tick  tock.     For  that  surprise  element,  my  antelopes  long   for  their  carthorses,  enjoy   freakish  friendships,  codependence.  No  need  I  was  told:     Grommets  process  at  level  six.  


THERE     It  wasn’t  waxwings   he  was  planning  to  fly  with.   That’s  the  difference.   Maybe  he  made  it  into  space.   Maybe  he’s  there  now.   In  the  first  story   we  are  told  of  the  treachery   of  his  ambition,  to  fly,   to  become  something  beyond   beast  or  man.  We  are  told   this  treachery  ends   in  madness.  But  it’s  in  madness   it  begins.  He  is  gone.  He  is  gone.   He  is  never  coming  back.  


ANOTHER BARRACUDA For  the  coldest  days  I  keep   the  British  Museum  in  my  pocket,  an  antidote,   a  little  wormwood.  Standing  in  the  aisles,  no  foghorn,  but  a  sense   of  having  lost  my  purse  or  keys,  drew  a  chalk-­‐line   around  my  daydream.  I  retraced  my  steps:     arrived  very  early  to  campus,  that  day,  a  full     fours  hours,  but  by  the  third   hour  in  the  library  aisles  and  the  doubling  of  Henry’s   sorrows,  I  forgot  to  be   where  I  should  be.  So  I  walked  out   into  albedo’s  atomic  cloud.     Some  later  morning  a  plane   landed.  In  whatever  home  God  says     nothing  when  I  shout.  I  got  tired   and  made  some  coffee.  The  udders     of  my  bathrobe   dragging  on  linoleum.  Yiddish.  Rubbish.     I  spent  one  year  with  the  school     psychiatrist.  Another  barracuda.  


To the Killer   You  wandered  here   after  the  first  night   of  not  knowing  why.   After  the  seventh  time,  you     paused  at  daybreak   to  think  under  a  welling-­‐sun,   the  solitary  walk,   the  tearing  away  from  the  hinge.   (home)   A  deluded  surge     entered  with  distraction   a  thrush,  or  a  heavy-­‐lidded   man  leaning  against   this  damn.  This  creek,  no   Nantucket,  Hattaras—   nor  a  barge  for  sea  scallops     or  shrimp.  This  ship,  boat-­‐palm   cupping  into  mucky  water  where     crawfish  were,  caught   and  let  go,  ugliness  captured     as  long  as  you  could  bear     screeches  of  innocent   witnesses—for  whom  this  was     (no)     new  event.          


A Delirium of Aesthetic Wit   I  will  grow  only  more  and  more  beautiful   if  I  descend.  Only   that  I’ve  been  fixed  so  long     in  the  precise   knowing  of  suffering:  the  days  it  took   to  learn  the  art  of  indenting       one  line  over  another,   or  breaking       nothing  into  stanzas.  What  barbs   will  be  left  when  the  fence  around  me  melts     into  a  delirium  of  mettle.  Ha!  Ha!   I  will  only  grow  more  and  more  redundant,   become  that  which   I’ve  created:  a  mirror  I  can  never  see     myself  without.  When  fate  traps  the  body   inside  one  of  the  swords,     there  is  nothing  like     two  swords  opposing,  if  only     heaven  could  see  itself,  understand     the  futility  of  the  pen.  How  sincere   I  might  have  been  and  surrendered.      


Alphabet   These  are  the  words  even  yet  without  image.   Then  rivulet  happens,  a  burr   of  spikes  expands  from  nothing,   rolls  along  the  skin,  a  painful  message,     wears  away  until  smooth.  Then,  I  begin   to  put  it  down,  say  what  I  meant.   The  smooth  stone,  rounded  utterance,   pitched  exact,  becomes     what  was  meant,  and  yet  unknown   to  my  intention.  How  do  I  set  out   or  make  the  Other  ideal?   Or  understood?  I  don’t  want  to  play     another  way:  this  caprice     of  never  meaning  anything  at  all;     formless,  hovering  above  an  idea,     never  to  unlearn  the  alphabet.      


Preoccupation with Ascent   It  could’ve  been  Sixo   because  he  heard  the  voice  too,  who   leapt  on  some  other  mode   of  transport,  say,   a  crow.  A  barn  swallow.   Anything  with  wings   could’ve  picked  him  up   lead  him  to  wherever  yonder   the  voice  was  urging.     He  heard  it  too.  The  rise   and  fall  of  its  feminine   come-­‐hither  calling.  Almost   angel-­‐like,  almost  safe.   Especially  on  a  warm  summer  night   when  Sixo  would  lay  down   on  the  pier  to  rest.  Graced  with  the  feeling   he  could  make  plans.     Henry  paid  Sixo   to  fix  that  bicycle  up  right.   Sixo  knew  the  price   but  he  had  to  find  a  way   to  live  in  this  world.   What  Sixo  could  do  with  a  bicycle   any  winged  thing,     would  have  done  for  him.     And  me?  What  about  me.   I  knew  Sixo,  say,   out  the  corner  of  my  eye.   I  could  spot  him,   in  his  elegance,  shining  the  chrome   caps  of  the  tires,  even  felt,  by  instinct,   what  his  gifts  could  do.   But  he  didn’t  learn  how   to  tell  a  story   until  long  after  Henry  had  gone.     Off  with  my  heart.     I  was  skipping  rocks  along  the  bank   with  no  one  but  Henry  for  company  


for  so  long  that  I  missed   the  longing  grown  inside  him.   I  kept  up  the  pace,   for  how  long,  riding  our  bicycles  away   from  whatever  thing  we  needed  to  run.   But  I  was  always  going  back   home  to  my  mother,  turning  right,   laying  my  bike  flat  on  the  driveway.  So  long,   I’d  say  to  Henry,  learning  to  deliver  himself   to  that  voice  on  the  chariot   Sixo  was  mastering  for  him,   until  there  was  no  one  left   to  hear  me  say,  See  you  later  Alligator.     And  me?  What  about  me.   Did  I  hear  that  voice   during  those  long  afternoons   of  catching  crawfish,  skittering  along  the  silt?   I  held  something  ugly  in  my  hands   one  moment,  let  it  go.        


The Uncanny of Stretch     We  were  persuaded  of  a  ghost  station  grounded  in  the  body.   Come-­‐ons  scratching  at  the  wheel,  fricative,   spinning  against  this  mylar  suit.   Thought  I  twere  a  man.  Many  futures  hence,  in  a  galaxy  far   far  away  .  .  .     Don’t  let  the  thicket  stop  you,  Henry.     .  .  .  after  face-­‐planting  on  the  bedrock  of  myth  .  .  .   Thwack.  Wing-­‐spread  dither.  The  planting   of  bones  against  macadam.  Bedrock  this,   the  voice  resounds   at  the  other  end  of  surfaces.     The  Ocean,  laughing  her  way     (over  surfaces)   The  Bicycle,   Henry  James  rides  upon,  as  if   he’s  at  the  carnival,  spinning  around     a  carrousel,  however  many  moons  ago.   Let  the  horses  break   your  heart,  Henry,  bingo,  being  so     practical,  you  put  your  heart   right  in-­‐   to  the  spokes  instead.  Headed  off  to  the  dam   for  skipping  rocks.   (shimmying  over  surfaces)   Take  the  picture,   there.  Centuries  hence,  here  they’ll  see  this  bicycle   pumping  blue  like  a  harp.   Go  into  the  thickets,  Henry’s  voice  across  the  pier   repeats.    Pumping  down,   he  pumped  down  harder,  pumping  uphill   towards  that  galaxy  far  far    away.  Everything  clear   until    the  evening  light  along  the  pier,   receded,  clambering  through  the  wall   btw  flesh  and  sky,  stars  flickering  into  the  pool   of  what  became;   the  ingress  of  blood   like  the  late  summer  leaves,  falling  as  if     Henry,  too,   would  join  the  human  babies   straddling  their  legs   Riding  the  carrousel  on  horses  that  aren’t  real  


under  newborn  legs  in  love     with  the  madrigal  of  horse  hooves.         bustling  with  love  for  horses.   with  the  seahorses,  riding  around   with  the  madrigal  of  horse  hooves.   Henry  pumped  his  bicycle  to  join  into  the  sound,   his  heart  caught  in  the  spokes  of  his  bald  front  tire.        


Archipelagos   As  I  win  my  waxwing     childhood  ride  eternal     on  plastic  pomp   and  circumstance,  I  love  my  pony   and  her  inanimation,  juice   at  her  confused  whinnying,     ridden  wild  across  the  waves,   break  and  burn  against  them   and  then  lose  my  faculty  to  adjust  the   fabulosity   from  the  panic  that     it  should  have  been.   A  nightmare  of  horses     coined,  in  expert  gallop,     to  and  from  the  sea   emerge  as  antelopes,     below  the  ice,  that  nadir     end  of  surfaces.      


Address to the Pinion   What  about  being  a  revolver     instead  of  being  what’s  revolved  around?     This  time  the  gearworks  break.   Easier  this  way,  to  scapegoat,     coax  an  endgame,  in  a  whinnying  I  hear   slaughter  continue.     shutter/click       What  would  it  be  like  to  become  prehensile?       Long  before  the  machinery  of  horse-­‐gears   and  baroque  animals  offered  their  backs.       I  might  not  have  learned  how  to  ride  this  carrousel.   Think  back,     I  might  have  never  learned  to  bend   my  fingers,  pry  open  the  shaft,  lift  a  pen.       What  jeopardy  might  have  become  me  then?         What  would  it  be  like,   just  an  atom,  no  word  for  heaven.  World     pinioned  for  revolt,  crystallizing  into  computer?        

 


Entitlement   While  my  eyes  graze  over,  pluck  forward   the  lintels  there,  blue   in  the  caned  twilight,  like  a  burial   ground,  if  seen  as     the  sweet  end,  night-­‐musk   fills  my  beak   threatening  this  glide,   toward  the  terrible   focus.   Edges  of  these  surfaces   forming  nests   for  landing  into.  Gay  paroles   in  the  air,  gables  full  of  hawthorn  blooms,   magnolias  under  southern  shade,   a  cedar   growing  upward,  as  I  cut     wingspan,  slit  air’s  skin,  over   green  landscapes  on  which   the  flight  depends.   For  what  am  I  if  not   in  opposition   to  what  I  see?   The  paradox   of  the  bicycle,   like  and  unlike   what  I  was  born  as,  to  be     this  winged   thing,  unflappable.              


Piece of Sugar The  impatient  waiter  simply  waits.  She  is  the  one  who  has  time  without  wanting  it.   I  must,  willy-­‐nilly,  wait  until  the  sugar   melts,  to  drink  my  cup   of  sweetened  water.  Aperitif—   surmount  this  obstacle  with  maddening   patience.  I  wait,  scant  attention  paid     to  the  turmoil  of  my  walking  days     when  I  watched  the  seagulls  graze   over  my  head.  A  time,       when  I  did  not  endure   and  spite  time   but  enjoyed  the  duration  of  that  quivering  shadow     undulating  like  the  sea  waves   under  the  late  summer  sunlight.   I  willy-­‐nilly  now  remember   a  viscous  substance  dangling   from  my  eyes  that  they  called  tears.          


Letter to Blank       Your  repose,  like  the  languid  way   in  which  I  eschew  the  compromise  of  ____  ,   is  familiar   in  quality,  but  related   to  an  utter-­‐   ly  different   circumstance.  As  origins  of  all  things  prevail    only  when  the  intended-­‐historian   writes  the  script,     I  may  circle   Yes  or  No.       To  what  avail?  You  know     you’re  AWEsomeness  better,   and  have  the  tenacity  vs.  composure   to  trill  its  every  warbling  vertigo.   As  origins  of  all  things  prevail    by  the  rhythm  of  historical     syntax.   Just  at  it  should  .  .  .  I  ran     a  circle  around   ______  or  ______.     Either/Or?     Let  it  not  be     by  chance,  I  throw   I  Ching  to  find  the  answer.      


Oh My Ellipses   Keep  the  dilation  steady,  elastic   as  the  syringe  held  up   Celebrate  before  the  cantilevered  clouds,  curvature  the  nanosecond   this  sound  inserts  insouciance,   Inveterate  sound,  I  slice   my  hand  into  it.   Let  me  illustrate.   A  pair  of  dice,  thrown   way  back  .  .  .     Insertion  of  an  elision,  in  certain  languages   strikes  me  dumbfound.     These  occasional  crises  (theatrical   searching  for  pronouns)   awakens  in  me,  derisions   awakens  my  impulse  for  creativity,     or  spirituality,  whichever  one   prevails.  (whichever  one  listens).     Keep  the  dilation  steady,  as  this  is   the  starting  point,  right   before  the  nanosecond   of  the  dumb  show.  What  did  the  I-­‐   Ching  say?  I  asked  in  crisis   what  I  should  do     Through  turnstiles.  Through  occasional  crises     in  certain  cities;  the  feet  that  are  supposed  to  stay  grounded,   upright,  above  the  nadir-­‐ice,  through  which  I  peer     (redundant)  at  the  antelopes.  They  loosen  their  roots.     Have  you  ever  seen  a  downed  tree?  What     am  I  doing  here     on  a  frozen  crick,  another  country,   without  my  ice-­‐   skates,,nowhere  to  be,     not  yet,       wanting  only    to  carve  and  slices  circles    


in  the  ice,  around  the  antlers     and  eyes,     lying  in  the  cold-­‐dark   Dead  for  how   many  centuries?  I’m  dim-­‐witted,  votive,   against  all  troubles,   alibis  of  coherent  syntax.  I-­‐Ching:     stumble  up  the  road,   back  down  again   through  the  windy  stairway       the  underneath     of  all     high-­‐ball     glasses:      


The Wood Veneer   Reflected  trough  the  whiskey  glass:   Routine  equivalents.  Bar-­‐hopping  in  the  mix.   Barn-­‐swallows.  Minx.     I  am  not  root-­‐salvaging.  Not  compromising  here.   Wish  he  had  been  someone  else.   Correspond  with  a  letter.  I  went     someplace  else.  He(a)rd  the  antelopes.  Pulled  them   with  a  sleigh.  Or  let  the  sleigh   be  pulled  by  them.  Sled  down  the  icy     slope,  swallowing  molasses.  As  all-­‐white  canvas   slit  diagonally  with  a  box-­‐cutter.     Remember  who  they  were       when  all  literate?  Could  I  learn  to  smell   again.  Re-­‐remember  what  once  made  me   (happier  than  this).       Rowing  and  row-­‐   ing.  Large  gray  elephant.  Frozen  over,   the  antelopes  drowned  in  the  lake.       Gone  extinct   by  winter,  good  night,   we  wish  ourselves  past  loves       pantomime.   Cardboard  love  paintings,  ominous   characters  under  the  lake  glass.  Peer  through     to  the  animals  under  your  feet,  find   Cardboard  love  pantomiming  on  the  telephone  line:   O  cord,  cord,     did  you  need  a  soul  for  that?   In  the  eighties  I  was  free.  My  chakras     like  a  Rubik’s  Cube,  and  his     rung  by  hula  hoops.  Did  mine     not  find  a  counterpart?  I  don’t  know     pellets  of  snow,  Can  see,    


split  the  road’s     fast  jetties,  Someone  dies.     Each  eye  puts  on  a  new   shoe.  Open.  Closed.     Theatrical.  A  combination     we  can’t  see  anymore,   we  wax  on,   corpuscles  splitting  through  roads     then  arch-­‐-­‐sideways  mélange.   The  roads  deepen     in  their  retreat,  fast  jetties     of  winsome.  Ah  bicycle.     did  you  need  a  soul  for  that?       I  keep,  elementally,   by  my  side,  a  telescope.  This  may  hurt  you  some.   These  forecasts     of  certain  maelstroms,  more  amenable   than  others.       Nine  inches     of  snow  already        


This Carrousel   I  forgot  the  here-­‐to-­‐fore,  the  unsettling     of  tinnitus,  where  the  earplugs  removed   the  braying  of  the  seahorses   in  concert  with  the  land  horses  and  air   balloons.  Let  me  back  into   those  estuaries,  phantom  canals  of  the  black   honey  my  leaden  legs  worked  so  hard   to  get  through,  to  make  it  again,   somewhere  to  sit.     Let  me  imagine  the  darkest  parts  of  our  bodies.   The  words  come  out  like  moon-­‐doves:   Honey.  Honeybees,   work  rings  around  the  constellations,   move  in  revolutions     like  this  carrousel.   Coordinates  break   my  heart.  Everything  they  weren’t  everything  once,   telling  you  the  longitude  and  latitude.   I  could  scream     through  a  sound-­‐proof  room,   the  kitchen’s  black  dishwater,     Manitoba’s  moonlight  or     a  paper  boat.  And  you’d  hear  me,   in  concert  with  the  land  horses   and  the  hot  air  balloons.    


The Plane Taking Off   I  put  my  heart  right  in  it,  flat  and  ordered   as  it  was  bound  to  become,  corpuscles,   even  as  the  horse  moved  up  and  down,     even  as  it  turned  around  a  pinpoint.   as  soon  as  I  decided  to  work  for  you,  you   would  always  find  me,     approximately,     buried  beneath  the  giant,  cartoon  parasol   that  keeps  my  seahorse  hidden   from  the  sun.     I  pressed  the  button  and  the  engine     whirred   the  lights  blinked  on,  so  you  would  think   everyday     was  carnival.         Even  in  outer  space,  in  a  time   capsule,  words  to  move  us  with\   move  with  us,  become   the  math  we  understand.  It  was\   approximately,   a  way  to  let  you  know   where  I’d  be  riding  the  horse:   around  the  carrousel,  here  and  then   there,  centered  on  its  pinions.      


Instructions on Origami   Letting  go  of  paper  where  is  the  story  I  wrote  about  paper  boats  floated  out  to  sea     He  went  somewhere  out  to  sea,  to  see  the  paper  boats  floating  in  the  water  he  heard   the  Heart  heard  the  water  swirl    swishing  inside  the  hollow  cove  its  small  sloshing   as  if  in  a  cupped  palm    in  the  Philippines  off  the  coasts  a  thousand  paper  boats  and   how  just  one  in  the  Seine?  Where  is  the  way  back  from  the  never  was,  that  bridge?   How  is  that  boat  folded?     Skipping  rocks  throne.  Boats  that  Float  made  of  paper  There  was  a  pink  orchid  in  it   Made  with  India  Ink.  I’d  have  known  what  boat  to  make  if    .  .  .  he  stole  the  paper  by   being  paper     with  his  toes  wading    knowing  the  boat  with  his  toes,  wading  on  the   sand  on  the  beach,  wading  into  the  water  when  young.  Silver  rocks,  silver  rocks   were  thrown  on  silver  seas.       Those  were  the  best  words;  those  were  the  source  words.  I  had  a  boat  that  without  .   .  .  what  without  an  ocean  for  it.    There  was  a  fog  I’d  wrote  about  somewhere  on  the   water.  The  way  he  walked  on  the  sand.  No  matter  how  much  he  loved  the  ocean.       I  was  not  born  in  Jayapura,  but  that’s  where  my  father  was  from.  Nations  call  to   people.  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  came  to  America.        


Binding  Arbitration  (regard  unfortunate  poetic  weight  on  nightingale,  mama,  papa,   etc)     In  the  iceswishing,  I  was  his  poor  mosquito.     Bite  marks  on  his  skin,  that  little  itching  that  came  from  being   treasonous;  it  all  works  out     or  all  comes  back.  Even  when  he  hushed  me   to  hear  the  nightingale,  rainwater,     mama’s  golden  bangles.  I  listened  to  tree  frogs   chirrup  in  the  bogwater.  How  dark  was  the  inside   of  their  hiding  place?  How  much  moonlight  came  in?     The  treasons  come  back,  nameless  faces   recur,  a  little  red  harbor  and  the  flames  form  shadows  around  their  faces,   and  shadowed  around  their  forms,  I  veer     Into  the  shadow,  a  red  harbor,  a  harbor,  crook  of  arm,  he  put  the  other  on  the   hipbone   keeping  me  secure  from  it.     Three  sips  of  whiskey.  Take  after  take  of  photographs.   If  tin  disguised  glass.  If  the  wilted  petal  fallen  from  a  glass  column.   If  going  back,  if  there  was  an  able  to  by  time  travel.   If  tin  disguised  glass.  But  I  cut  open  sky  and  find  something  else  to  glance  through.     You  (hypocrite)  will  love  your  easy,  effortless  look.  Even  the  gods  told  you  not  to.       Even  when  papa  hushed  me  to  hear  the  nightingale  and  the  rainwater,  mama’s   golden  bangles  clanging  on  her  cocktail  glass.       The  encoded  milky  whirls  I  stare  through,  crystal  vase  seafoam  green  backlit  where   he  was  and  I  was       Sending  a  look  to  relatives  leaving  on  a  city  bus,  going  on  pilgrimage  (again)  a  tulip   of  dust  out  of  the  tailpipe.     These  days  you  hear  a  feather  landing.  I  didn’t  want  to  hear  it;  didn’t  try     Then  got  to  thinking  about  something  else.  Shrugging  when  asked  a  question.   Hang  out  with  family  now  watching  TV,  DNA-­‐  absorbed.  The  brain  being  unlucky  to   exist.     The  lovely  arc  roses  create  between  eye  and  vase,  when  they  come  fresh-­‐  picked  and   dew  drops  on  the  granite  top;  cut-­‐glass  tenoring    a  peach  glow  with  green  flecks  and   the  winter  rouge     .  .  .    of  certain  faces.  That  time  of  year  .  .  .      


He  was  washing  a  dinner  pot  under  very  hot  water,  looking  at  it.  Demure.  The  spout   as  metallic  and  vain  as  pure  water.  I  was  looking  at  him.  When  the  snow  was   melting,  his  hand  found  my  button  and  undid  it,  looking  like  a  sparrow  caught  in  a   barb.     Ruing  when  face  and  unface  mattered,  I  covet  the  mask-­‐embers  crackling  out  of  the   firepit.  Flake  and  detritus  outlast  farewells,  final  vestige  in  the  crackling  around  my   red  harbor;  they  say  these  tulip-­‐puffs  die  too,  cough  out  embers  of  leave-­‐taking  all   animate/inanimate       Books  I  read  to  go  outside  and  unfrighten,  sleep.  Those  days  as  night  were  not   leaving  me    I  breathed  without  choosing.  Bent  closer  inside  the  harbor,  a  kind  of   lean-­‐to.      


Sir Walter Raleigh   My  soul  will  be  a-­‐dry  before;     But,  after,  it  will  thirst  no  more.       Wherever  the  ship  would  carry  him.   The  unmolded  slab  of  clay  and  what  became  of  him.     Stars  upon  stars  were  flecked  on  the  pavement.   The  same  stars  in  the  seawater  that  had  carried  him.  (lulled  him)   (Stars  she  alludes  to  .  .  .  he  alludes  to  .  .  .  ??)     (the  stars  were  all  anymore  that  united  him  to  her—but  they  united  everyone—and   made  a  common  man  of  him)  (comet  clouds  on  the  macadam)     The  cold  snow  that  came  was  later  beaten  out  of  him.   The  season  she  had  wept  through  now  smelled  like  dead  animals.   (series  of  hieroglyphs  flickering  on  the  cave  wall,  a  new  world,  even  then)   No  space  to  keep  it  in,  just  memory   an  orphaned  locket   somewhere  in  the  jewelry  box  (stored),  and  somewhere   an  arrangement  of  paintbrushes   and  a  portrait  painter  scraping  a  palette  knife  against  the  canvas   (in  the  manner  of  undoing  a  mistake)   he  had  worn  a  hat  then  and  listened  to  the  papers   carrying  everything  between  his  hands   the  nation  and  whatever  it  allowed  him   all  in  the  name  of  convenience  (a  cubicle,  corner  pharmacy)   and  he  was  going  now.  Other  worlds   were  what  the  old  Gods  bequeathed  him.   So  that  would  explain  the  mess  he  made   of  the  Queen’s  Holy  Empire   Her  ruined  name,  her  infamy   and  all  those  songs  the  choir  sang   of  chipped  plaster  and  broken  arms.  


Wherever  the  ship  would  carry  him,  awkward  into  the  pavement.   Comet  clouds  shining  from  wet  macadam.   The  interstellar  lights  then   brighter  than  now  in  the  new  cities  he  made.   Into  whatever  see,  as  the  skiffs   took  on  the  golden  glow  of  chariots.   He  would  remember  the  poems  he’d  made  from  poems.   Remembering  was  god-­‐granted.  Into  each  turning  of  the  wheel   He  asserts  the  law  of  Empire.     The  unmolded  slab  of  clay.  How  he’d  mottled  and  whittled   words,  rattling  out  of  his  open  mouth   in  the  captain’s  room.  When  the  night     reigned  on  the  ocean  and  the  ship  was  only  the  notion   of  an  Empire.  The  slab  of  clay  incarnates,   re-­‐enacts  the  stars.  The  stars  that  were  flecked  on  the  pavement.   The  same  stars  on  the  ship’s  prow.     He  had  worn  a  hat  then   and  listened  to  the  papers.   What  grieved  him,  into  waste.  In  the  manner     of  undoing  a  mistake,  the  portrait  painter  stood   scraping  the  canvas.  The  stars  he  alludes  to,  as  if  the  words   had  been  a  lovesong  carved  on  the  body  of  the  ship.  (Divorced     from  cascades,  caresses,  things  that  fall.)     When  he’d  reached  the  new  world,     new  laws  began  composing  new   requiems.  His  song  stayed  there  on  her  breath     where  he  laid  it.    


Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle.   You  could  chase  or  follow  the  sound.   Never  without  a  compass.     We  called  the  dog  off  the  gringo.   A  voice  to  look  after  you.     Look  forward  to  space  success,  the  voice  says.   You  meet  the  voice,  frightened,  at  the  end  of  the  pier.          


Literary Debacles   With  the  closing-­‐in  of  horse  sense   the  rains  came.  We  catch  other  noises   whinnying  from  the  corporation’s     pasture.  Can  not  calibrate   the  right  groans  for  our  appendix.   We  are  trying  to  record  bug  sounds     for  our  next  feature.   We’re  held  to  impossible     standards  and  nature     seldom  cooperates  with  dead-­‐   lines.  Imagine  what  it  feels  like   to  get  to  the  mountain,  with  gusto,   and  the  dewdrops  from  the  mist   work  into  the  equipment.  Reducing  us  to   static  in  the  speakers.  All  day  to  my  partner,     I’m  screaming   through  the  radio  if  he  can  hear  me.     I  get  two  hello’s,  and  one  parenthetical.   I  caught  it  in  the  microphone,  him  cursing   at  the  Meanads  converging  on  my  eardrums.   We’re  listening  for  crickets.  I  demand  crickets.   And  he  must  do  something  about  it,     in  this  rut  of  civilization,     I’m  demanding   our  control  of  nature.     We’re  going  to  press   in  a  matter  of  days.  I  chant     my  MBA  mantras   until  our  machines  recover.    


BPM 37093: Diamond Palace   Or,  Lucy  in  the  sky,  with  diamonds.   cool  white  dwarfs   have  commanded  a  diamond  core.  Even  an  extinguished     star  can  do  that.     The  outside  rind’s  a  smokescreen.   But  it  sends  pulses  to  the  scientists   to  let  them  know  what’s  going  on   inside.  Winking  to  the  billionaires   who  couldn’t  afford  its  price.  Couldn’t  begin.  7  billion  light  years  away   where  its  quieter  still     and  near  the  southern  cross,  a  metaphor  older  than  Pluto  can  ever  hope  to  be.     Now  its  fricative  against  my  neoprene  suit,  it  hisses  like  a  wind  tunnel.   The  intense  pressures  at  the  heart  of  such  dead  stars  compress  the  carbon  into   diamond.     Fricative  against  my  neoprene  suit,  howls  of  the  wind’s  hiss  in  a  tunnel.     Father  time  came  out  of  the  Bermuda  triangle  to  mock  us.     Farther  out  than  Pluto.  What  once  existed,  may  never  exist     again.  I  take  in  the  soft  strokes     of  this  felt  pen,  it  sounds  like  cotton  scratching  a  rock.   Quiet  enough  to  propel  me  out  there     where  its  quieter  still.  I  can  hear  the  dull  rumble   of  outer  space,  punctured  in  measures     by  the  pounding  of  the  highest  piano  key.   Even  the  richest  man  on  earth  couldn’t  begin  to  afford     the  core  of  this  white  dwarf,  it’s  outside  a  smokescreen     This  white  dwarf’s  outside  like  a  smokescreen,  pull  open  the  gaseous   envelope  and  see  the  compressed  carbon  heart.     Seven  light  years  away  and  near  the  southern  cross,  a  metaphor   farther  out  than  Pluto.  This  dull  fricative  against  my  neoprene  suit.     The  cosmos  allows/ing  but  a  dull  hum  and  this     diamond.  Something  our  sun  will  become,  priceless,   by  then  our  pens  will  cease  to  function       as  anything,  stops  against  our  hearts.  They  way  I  remember  it.  


I was always terrified of bears, limited in their genius   I  saw  a  pretty  girl  come  out  of  the  vestibule  and  it  was  mesmerizing,  absolutely   animal,  to  see  that  pretty  girl  come  out  of  the  vestibule,  it  was  mesmerizing,   absolutely  animal,  to  see  that  pretty  girl  come  out  of  the  vestibule,  it  was   mesmerizing,  absolutely  magnetizing  THE  TIME  HAD  COME  for  her  arrival,  this   magnetic  female  who  was  somewhat  animal  in  her  innocence.  Even  I  feel  ferocious   like  an  animal  sometimes  like  I  could  come  out  of  the  vestibule  myself  to  see  OH   THE  INNOCENCE  OF  ANIMALS  likewise  the  innocence  of  mammals  THIS  LONG   RIDICULOUS  LABOR  it  is  this  long  ridiculous  labor  and  then  the  boulder  coming  and   then  the  lifting  backwards  of  the  boulders  and  then  the  lifting  backwards  then  the   hurricane  upon  the  antelopes  and  the  hurricane  upon  the  antelopes  AND  THEN  THE   ANIMALS  come  with  their  eyes  on  the  terror,  their  prowl  encompassing  territories,   they  are  mesmerizing  absolutely  mesmerizing  those  little  ferocious  animals,  those   ferocious  mammals  that  will  erupt  as  though  it  were  not  a  pimple  any  minute  but  a   volcano  of  innocence  of  animals  a  VOLCANO  OF  INNOCENCE  OF  ANIMALS  and  then  I   saw  a  pretty  girl  arriving  on  the  vestibule,  it  was  mesmerizing,  absolutely  animal,  to   see  a  pretty  girl  awaking  out  of  the  animal.      


The Voice from the Pier Speaks   Gilt  the  ribbon   white  the  Christmas   snow.   In  the  neighborhood   you  can  hear   the  whistling  of  the  carrousel.  I  can  hear  you   listening.  Shhh.  Lie  back.  It  well  tell  you   everything.  My  jewels   grow  like  islands.   Like  islands,  they  drift   along  the  ocean,  floating  through  space-­‐time   until  the  Earth   becomes   a  series  of  tiny  canals   and  wooden  bridges,  a  world   of  archipelegos.        


Collapsed Math   It  was  time  to  take  over,  the  food  was  in  the  gulch.   Little  primroses  and  the  cantilevered  clouds   perplex  no  one   anymore,  the  antelopes,  gone     again  through  the  beech  grass.  My  head  in  there   somewhere  in  crisis.  God  knows     it  was  this  way.  It  was  time     to  get  hold  of  the  logarithm     Out  here  the  stardust     tends  to  scream  into  the  remotest   puddle  of  an  asphalt  alleyway.   Out  here  in  the  third   eye  after  playing  chess.      


Lay in bed.  call  the  coil  to  me.  from  my  solar  plexis.  manage  it  to  stand.   grow  rounder.   expand.  and  greet  my  love.  my  mirror.  Lay  in  bed.  late  evening  early.  night.  watch   the  double  doors  across.  straight  line  of  sight.  the  crack  of  lamplight.  from  the  first   floor.  creep  in,  up  the  stairs.  Lay  in  bed.  and  think  I  hear  a  cat  meowing  outside  the   right  window.  figure  out  that’s  the  backyard.  of  this  new  house.  and  above  the   bathtub  window  on  the  left  a  mellow.  golden  sheen  from  the  lamplights  of  the  front   street.  lays  its  fingers  on  the  carpet  in  deep  shadows.  Lay  in  bed   letting  my  love  uncoil.  from  my  solar  plexis.  wonder  if  love  comes  in  the  form  of  a   cat.  and  wonder  if  my  need  is  a  cat.  and  if  the  sound  I  heard  really  is  a  cat.  Lay  in  bed.   like  Kant  wrapped  tight.  on  both  sides  with  a  blanket.  my  arms  in  a  coffin  pose.  but   my  mind.  alert,  alert  repose.  Lay  in  bed  and  watch  the  light  from  the  double  doors.   expand.  and  then  erupt.  like  a  quick  slash  of  a  knife  across  a  throat.  and  wonder   what  figure.  lay  behind  that  light  bursting  through  the  open  door.  what  figure  did  I   call.  crept  up  the  stairs  from  the  floor  below.  from  street  level.  it  was  the  bent  light.   that  bounced  from  the  left  window  against  a  middle  wall.  and  cut  a  momentary  flash   across  the  door  into  what.  I  thought  would  end  me  finally.  Lay  fixed  in  bed  that   moment  my  body.  a  door  itself  to  impose  another  obstacle.  but  my  solar  plexus  and   the  coil  caught  on  fire.       They  tell  me  in  these  new.  books  I  read  to  give  my  body  to  myself.  to  give  love  to  my   fears.   and  to  call  to  what  I  want.  and  to  name  that  thing.  Lay  in  bed  and  time  is  over.  there.     What  is  an  illusion?  It  isn’t  death  I  fear.  Death  I  imagine.  is  a  state  of  meditation,   except  I  don’t  exist  anymore.  It’s  the  red  I  fear  and  the  mess.  To  lie  guiltless  and   dead.  from  being  murdered.     Was  it  a  cat  I  called?  A  figure  behind  a  light  behind  a  set  of  double  doors.  creeping  up   the  steps   with  a  switch  blade.  Did  the  cat  hear  me  calling,  did  the  figure  hear  me  calling?   When  the  coil  grew  rounder.  and  stood  up.  When  it  expanded.  and  tore  open  into   the  real.  My  solar  plexus  burned.  with  the  fear.  I  was  giving  my  love.  and  the  fear.  of   red  was  all  I  could  think  of   red  and  a  silver  knife.  I  would  take  the  quiet  without  the  guilt.  but  not  the  final   moment   of  lost  control.  Lay  in  bed.  with  the  fire  inside  me.  frightened  then  relieved  the  next   second,   Could  hear  a  dog  barking  on  the  street  side.  and  again  the  meowing  on  the  right.   Pretty  soon  the  crickets.  and  the  tree  frogs.  The  chirping  birds  in  the  morning,  the   cicada  howl,  the  bee.  buzzing.  That  animal  instinct  to  live  creeping  up  again.  from   the  street.  bursting  through  the  double  doors.    


in  my  straight  line  of  sight  where  I.  lay  like  myself  back  behind  this  desk.  in  another   room.  with  a  cat  purring.  somewhere  in  the  stillness.  after  drinking  all  the  milk.  from   the  white  bowl.  I’d  set  out  there  an  hour  ago.    


Paola’s River   When  you  play  poker,     all  the  money       in  the  middle  of  the  table   is  the  river.  My  opponent     asked  me  if  I  knew     the  names  of  any  rivers?     Paola  Bella  Muchos  Gracias   is  the  name  of  one       river     I  said.     She  asked  me  if  knew     the  names  of  two  rivers?     “Paola  Bella  Muchos  Gracias   is  the  name  of  one  of  the  river.     “Like  in  a  River  Like  This?   is  the  name  of  the  other  river.”     She  said,  “No.   The  other  river.”     I  said,  “Give   me  all  your  money,  Bitch.”  


The Furthest Star     It  didn’t  even  keep  him  warm  from  it.  Little  doves  each  disappearing  around  the   round  crag  of  a  mountain  top,  all  this  garbled  gibberish,  read  all  those  books  of   philosophy,  put  beer  in  my  belly,  toiled  constantly  with  my  neck  craning  on  the   lookout  for  the  furthest  star     still  to  be  robbed,  still  to  be  found  funny,  trembling  every  Sunday  because  I  had  no   God  to  visit,  turned  on  the  television,  kept  pressing  the  buttons,  until  the  weekend   ended     hard  to  keep  the  tatters  and  the  gutters  separate,  all  that  good  running  down  the   same  fray,  quay     was  it  wisest  to  keep  running,  keep  brick  and  mortar  handy  for  unforeseen  repairs  I   had  a  look  once  that  could  keep  you  in  your  place  a  sad  way  to  be  and  her  still  so   young     we  didn’t  bother  with  lovewords  or  starwords  or  birdwords   we  were  young  but  the  crisis  of  wonder  was  over  (averted)     if  we  wanted  to  lash  out  (crepuscular)  if  we  wanted  to  jump  out  of  the  corner   and  frighten  our  mothers,  we  would  be   sedated  and  the  law  was  written  on  the  other  side  of  the  alphabet   and  those  blank  tombs  and  those  blank  encasements   the  bargefuls  of  hostages  we  would  devour  them   just  like  our  afterdinner  chocolates     The  poems  I  laid  out  to  decipher  are  not  molten,  more  messy  than  when  they  first   sprang  out.   I  tried  to  get  the  email  back  but  it  was  too  late     And  my  luggage  was  kind  of  like  a  series  of  pictures  but  I  don’t  know  about  that   either.  I’m  not  even  hallucinating.       I  have  a  brother.  Certain  facts  are  no  measure  against  other  certain  facts.  (Fricative   against  my  neoprene)  But  some  facts  have  a  quantifiable  aspect.  While  others  are   abstract.  I  keep  on  doing  this.  Then  the  wind  blows.  I  decide  then  to  become   extravagant  in  my  misery.  Are  there  still  readers  in  this  world?  Or,     Does  the  Great  Wall  of  China  form  a  vanishing  point?     I  am  surprised  constantly  to  find  there  must  be.  Readers:  self-­‐congratulating   machines.  Some  people  have  managed  to  fill  life  with  some  sort  of  gay  purpose.  Full  


of  hilarity  and  aplomb.  And  when  I  say  these  things,  I  find  everyone  under  a  rock   who  can  relate  to  what  I’m  feeling.      

At Age Three My Adopted Niece Arrives from India   How  could  I  call  Earth  otherwise,  strange   and  knotty,  gutted  from  the  first   instant?  This  instant  of  a  girl,   adopted  at  age  three   her  memory  gradually  formed  for  her   by  her  good  parents  by  a  good  god   and  we  then  called  this  civilization  good   Backing  out  in  reverse  at  any  speed   is  not  an  option,  even  goodness   cannot  grant  this,  even  if  the  secret   is  the  name  we  know,  the  name     recited  in  our  sleep   If  a  hundred  dollars  were  enough   if  a  million  dollars  were  enough   Can  I  call  god  by  another  name   it’s  the  era  of  late  language   what  will  this  mean  for  the  girl  who’s  three?   Has  any  one  made  it  clear  for  her—   What  is  a  century  to  a  spider?   What  is  a  century  to  a  spider   when  it  makes  its  web,  when  it  catches   its  food,  when  it  halts  along  the  silk  to  eat,  feeds   her  children,  teaches  them   to  catch  prey:  In  an  era  of  late  language   how  are  we  going  to  eat?   Even  if  I  call  god  by  another  name     in  this  era  backing  out   at  any  speed  is  not  an  option.   The  planet  is  turning  in  a  direction   always  as  its  moons  do  as  its  rings  do  and  galaxies.   The  fly  in  here  is  buzzing,  is     my  companion.  Is  the  fly     my  companion,  or  is  it  like  a  dog,     or  is  it  like  this  option  I  have   to  kill  or  not  kill.  Is  this  the  peace  (this  option)   I  find  when  I  smear  the  fly  with  my  things,   I  call  hands,  with  my  things,  I  call  lungs   to  breathe,  with  my  things,  spoons  I  eat  with,   my  things,  the  records,  the  player  revolving  


in  the  one  direction.  Not  even  now   turning  back  to  look  at  where  it  came  from.   The  dead  fly  is  mine  to  think  about.   No  more  thinking  for  the  fly  to  do,  itself   an  idea  more  than  a  living  creature.   It  never  was  so  much  alive   as  now  in  this  “talk”  about  its  death.   Who  would  take  a  child  and  give  her  a  new  family   buy  her  new  clothes  to  wear   provide  an  army  of  things  she  can  someday  call   all  the  names  they  teach  her.     This  is  my  country.  My  name  is  .  .  .   When  I  was  three  they  brought  me  .  .  .     My  ancestors  were  .  .  .  in  another  country.   I  forget  the  name.  She  reads  it  in  a  book   learns  in  school  the  characters   for  wisdom,  love,  peace,  hate.   Her  cursive  turns  in  contours     on  lined  paper,  her  little  hand  and  face   concentrating  on  the  movement.   Then  it  is  done  and  it  is  learned,   nothing  about  forming  words  to  forget   anymore.  Nothing  about  the  first  sound   of  the  first  plane  engine  gunning  awake.   The  ding-­‐ding  of  the  seatbelt  light.   Her  first  look  at  clouds,  eye-­‐level.      


A Taxi to New York     The  plane  from  Atlanta  has  stopped,   the  passengers  are  still  buckled  in  their  seats.   The  lines  of  a  room,  bar  stools,   the  chrome  of  tires,  spin-­‐style   into  the  world  of  impression   via  Hollywood.  The  plane  goes   nowhere  else.  A  scratchy  voice     blared  from  loudspeakers     directs  passengers.  We  exit     single-­‐file  towards  the  subway,   and  on  through  the  turnstile.     Fluorescence   covers  faces  and  bodies  with  a  new  blue   skin.  From  a  central  tower   in  Times  Square  an  omniscient  voice   delivers  new  instructions:   Planet,  Earth;  Canyon,  Grand;   Dance,  Hula;  God,  God;   Wax,  Honey.  Beeps  pulsate,   lights  of  every  shade,  dot     a  panorama  of  blue  and  pink,  blink     red  and  green  like  Christmases.     Into  this  street-­‐scene,  your  hand  flags  down   another  yellow  cab.  Nosing  through   night  traffic,  you  mistake   the  plunge  of  lower  level  roads   for  water,  mistake  your  thirst  for  desire.      


Living Book     Galleys  once  housed  prisoners  and  other  beasts.       I  had  been  trying  to  write  it  down,  but  couldn’t  stop  reading.   When  the  river  opened,  their  limbs  and  guts  fell  out   of  heaven  and  into  hell.    I  had  to  stop  to  write  it  down.   Except  for  the  smell  up  here,  there’s  not  much  different  on  the  rooftop,     where  the  pharaoh’s  daughter  takes  a  lavender  bath.   The  last  page  (I  couldn’t  wait)  says  she’ll  wait   against  time  and  myth.  She  is  patient  and  knows   that  a  ship  is  drifting  upon  the  river  Styx.     I  pause  in  the  book  to  read  the  sentence  twice,  once  inside   the  illusion:  The  ship  is  drifting  on  the  river  Styx.   and  then  outside:  He  is  strapped  to  a  cross     on  a  wooden  ship,  sailing  away  from  the  pharaoh’s  land.   When  I  wrote  these  things,  they  happened,  vowels  and  consonants     came  out  of  the  mouth,  too  unripe  to  echo     yet  when  I  wrote  them,  the  ship  that  was  carrying  the  lovers   the  one  fueled  by  the  oars  and  oarlocks  of  slaves   began  to  drift  to  the  horizon  becoming  an  inkblot  and  then  invisible.   The  copper  sky  brushed  its  hair  along  the  sea,   and  the  luck  grew  into  something  amorous,   when  I  was  reading  I  wrote  this  as  it  happened.   There  was  a  long  spell  of  silence  finished  off  with  poison.  


Miscarriage   Fifteen  bodies  seen  floating  on  the  river;   an  unheard-­‐of  epidemic  absorbs  scientists.     I  board  the  metal  hull  and  enter     the  research  lab  as  if  hurrying     into  a  myth,  my  footsteps     patterning  themselves  after     no  reportable  heroes.    I  listen     to  how  stillness  presides   when  rains  turn  dumb  from  rioting.  I  look  above     through  the  laboratory’s  glass  dome,   and  am  dappled  by  rough-­‐hewn     shadows  of  April  sunlight.  Breaking  coverage  interrupts     regular  programs  to  announce     the  symptoms:  possible  reverbs  in  the  memory;  the  crisis     recurs  as  a  celluloid-­‐loop  inside  the  mind;   tumescent  bodies  surface  on  water;   bulletins  of  a  syndrome  erupt  from  radios;   storms  lapse  into  silence  at  science  stations;     and  the  sun  resurges,  restores  the  climate  to  how  it  was     the  morning    before  the  strange  fifteen  were  noticed.   The  researchers  panic,  fiddle  with  test  tubes  and  chemicals     for  an  antidote  to  memory  loss,  dementia,  blindness.   I  take  a  gulp  of  air,  attempt  not  to  falter  and  am  dappled,     surrounded  by  patches  of  sunlight.  I  guard   the  mind-­‐ship,  ride  it  to  a  landscape     of  clover-­‐fields,  yellow-­‐green,     about  to  be  scattered   with  a  hundred  fallen  leaves.     I  have  my  armor  on  and  my  ears  are  covered.   Feeling  safe  in  the  steel  corridor  that  will  lead  me   to  the  scientists,  I  begin  to  quicken  my  pace  towards  historical   relevance,  but  can’t  ignore   how  these  hundred  odd   footsteps  towards  the  river  have  harmed  my  feet,  and  mud   all  over  my  church  clothes  is  splattered   like  a  fever,  and  I  stop,     feeling  something  unborn     in  me  shrink  away.  When  I  reach     the  riverbank  and  see  smoke  clouds  rising   from  the  fires  they  ignited     to  burn  the  dead,  I’m  cradling     my  test  tube,  searching  the  crowds   for  someone  of  my  kind.  


Even the Ocean Remembers Him       "I  want  to  sleep  the  sleep  of  that  child   who  longed  to  cut  his  heart  open  far  out  at  sea."  lorca     Then  I  could  forget   what  the  sandpiper  said.   I  sipped  the  misshapen  horn,   leveed  and  bled,  by  midday,   he  was  dead.     I  want  to  slap  awake  the  engine   thrumming  hidden   almost  at  heaven   and  now  this:     deserted  beaches,  a  caw,  gentle   but  maddening.     Breaking  and  breaking.   How  does  my  hand     cupped,  lift  just  that  tiny   portion  to  my  lips?   With  him,  I  could  have  had   all  the  more,   lyre,  rag,  mist.   Hissing  in  my  ears,  sense   of  distance.     Then  nothingness.      


As a Child   They  could  not  keep  me  from  doors   and  turning  knobs  to  slam  the  world  closed.     I  knew  the  violence  of  a  hinge,   its  rusted  metal  creaking  in  the  revolve—     how  the  hinge’s  spine  could  catch  a  hair,   and  as  it  caught,  yank  the  skull   when  I  tried  to  tear  away  a  strand.  


ANTELOPE CARROUSEL The carrousel is underneath the glass of every high ball you ever drank. Every class encounter made the glass colder. I can see up through this final frontier, now my head’s below the ice. I like to grip the antlers as I ride fast around these revolutions. The nadir’s above. How did I grow so bold, so cold in my cheer— being here, it’s effortless to smile. God made me come all the way down, from my highest hopes into my remotest impulse, to board a rotating spectacle of ancient antelopes, never native to the west. As I turn and turn I sometimes peer further below, but it’s not clear if there’s another holler to fall deeper into. Uncertainty was a theme holding me captive above. That golden ring, to think of all the laboring, the rising up to grasp what was always, in its design, untouchable. I am never going to regret this journeying. We have been frozen stasis beneath the hallowed human stepping, quaint cotillions above this nadir ice. We can see you sometimes squinting down, through the glass you place on the wood veneer, and the glass is empty now with only your sneer filling it. Every form


on earth being filled by it. Even our antithetical merry-go-round on the underside of your condition: prehistoric, we are like the ghosts beholden to your remaining, for memory keeps us locked here, but for memory we still exist, living on the rim of what you sometimes suspect, an eternal drifting out of the soul into a remoter paradox that cleaves to the music your steps create above our locking horns and native instincts, By your steps we’re kept in tune to our own purposes of keeping the General’s ghost eternal, and the ghost of his beloved wife. She rides here beside me, tells me stories about the horses that caused her husband’s madness. What is the difference btw them and antelopes, you may wonder just as I did how many moons ago, when I first arrived on this ride. I have settled on answers to this puzzle that resolve s nothing, but removes the burden of the answer to the burden of the questioner. We spin around in the asking hear the echoing of our own exhausted whinnying, as if it had been us who were ridden upon. The difference? It is our consciousness yet, keeping us still firmly riding on the backs of every beast of burden, either on this side of the surface


or the next. When we return to our promised heaven (as it is above and so below) We will get there and resolve to end this turning around and around. If they could only make of me an earthen bed, turn me into any form of ash, kill the memory of all that was ever horse.


I AM NOT SKY, NOT TREE

I am not sky, not tree. When I sit here on the back porch and watch her, my other self step backwards and don’t follow Her back recedes into the blue canopy. We hated together, loved, when we were young. Now I am on my parent’s bed. The faucet drips to my left and the grandfather clock sings eleven o’clock. Held inside this skin, we both promised to keep the words a secret. I am rushing past her a husk left on the staircase. There is no witness but this message I record. Will want to picture a head stone with her name engraved. Kill her after she’s already gone. Make me a cradle to place her in. Make me a song, barn swallow or mockingbird, to help me erase the memory. I am not sky, not tree.


THE VOICE FROM THE PIER SPEAKS Gilt the ribbon white the Christmas snow. In the neighborhood you can hear the whistling of the carrousel. I can hear you listening. Shhh. Lie back. It well tell you everything. My jewels grow like islands. Like islands, they drift along the ocean, floating through space-time until the Earth becomes a series of tiny canals and wooden bridges, a world of archipelegos.


Where His Bike Lay Flat   What  color  was  the  boy's  jacket   in  that  city  where  you  first  saw  snow   where  the  flag  turned  into  itself   by  the  force  of  wind.  Students  say   it  howled  and  the  jacket  was  downy  red.   What  color  was  that  little  girl's  jacket   in  that  country  where  you  first  saw  bees   and  honeycombs,  read  poetry  about  flees   bothering  corpses-­‐-­‐home-­‐grown     and  down  with  the  frogs  jumping  at  the  bog.   That's  where  the  summer  started.   Down  by  the  cray  fish  crawling  onto  a  dam.   That's  where  the  summer  began,  when  I     turned  into  a  man,  a  bicycle  rider  into  blue  sky.     Egrets  fly  long  arcs  into  the  sun-­‐lit  blue,  icicles   dangle  from  that  other  house  all  the  way  yonder   across  the  sea,  a  sea  I  don't  ever  wander   into,  fret  yet,  fingers  spring  in  to  dip  the  water.   Not  a  minute,  not  a  year,  not  a  morning  glory's     worth  of  life,  not  the  blink  of  time  that  was   paradise.  I  pined  at  the  edge  of  flat  ice  cricks,  Henry   wander(ing)  (wandered)   over  where  his  bike  lay  flat,  another  barnacle.  The  ice,   compact,  I  sipped  the  runneth  over  the  rim.   I  see  him.  Icy  him.  Over  and  under   and  tumbling,  lottery  balls  in  the  sifter.   Stiff  corpse  frozen,  just  under   the  surface.  The  hodge-­‐podge  wreck  of  a  man   carted  off  to  the  looney  bin,  my  Henry,  divorced  from   the  probability  of  all  things  falling.   All  falling  things,  echo  visions  flying  as  designed  into  night  sky   gathering  starry  eyelets  that  rouge  pink,  bionically     laser  into  the  chambers  of  the  bicycle's  titanium,  sixo's  work,  stars   and  more  stars,  there  being  no  fear   of  gravity  here,  jostling  in  the  sifter,  volts  rush  and  reach  outwards,   a  thousand  hands  and  at  their  tips  10  thousand  fingers.  Hallucinate   the  color  I  wore   two  thousand  eons   long  ago  under  neon  billboard  signs   blown  glass  orange,  glowing  roundly  and  out  all  along   the  lawn  of  asphalt,  call   Uncle,  calling  Uncle,   Uncle  until  another  boy  became  the  angel  I  made  of  snow.  


HENRY PRACTICES SPACE SUCCESS I remember the wind breaking it, wingspread dither, then thwack of jawbone and cheek against macadam. Grated streaks of red and flesh where my face came to rest sideways and flat. After the shock of falling, I hallucinate the bird I think I am and remember only how it felt for me. (think of Henry James) This dumb distance between me and the lawn grows steadily unnavigable, and so my arms falter as they sway and fall in a heavy wind; my attempt to fly across the park is returned with fatigue. The wind breaks, wingspread dithers. The fall on the macadam, severe, the hard thwack of jawbone and cheek grated streaks of red and flesh. A picture of white gulls flying the white cliffs of Dover and the expanse of blue sky enlarged, throbbed wide, magnified, one glimpse of a god-vein, the rest of god beyond the eye’s kiss. His bones and muscles lodged somewhere here on the asphalt where my face rests sideways and flat. I’m hypnotized and can see only the descending body of a bird stabbing a wing, to break the down-drop, in vein-skin. blue skies blood rains flow. A settling quiet in the nighttime brisk


now a hushed cool, moist heat swelled out from the playground lot. A child’s squealing on a swingset, parents crushing bags in trunks, a dog’s bark bursts, twenty, thirty feet away—then the sound of tags’ rattle and the dog feeling more distant, car door’s shutting, swings steady with the rusty creaking of a metronome. the ingress of blood like the late summer leaves.


Hunger Was Coming   I  was  here  before  mathematics   when  the  challenge  was  the  match-­‐stick   flicked  against  the  slate-­‐stone   sparkling  into  fire.    It  was  a  choir’s  voice  I  heard   rising  from  the  belly  of  Corpus  Christi   on  the  valley-­‐mist.         Syntax  strains  over  a  bridge,  over  a  chasm     before  the  other  end   comes  near—nearly,  nearly  there.   I  was  watching   and  lay  down  on  the  cliff   an  hour  ago,  before  Christ,  before    years  before   the  cacti  were  small   and  birds  were  dots,  before  the  birds   were  dots  and  in  their  flight  changed  to  birds   with  wing-­‐length  and  body-­‐length.      


Skipping Rocks, Dream of Fishing   Little  belly-­‐up.  My  macabre.  My  cadre.   Caught  wit  at  the  Excelsior,  did  you?  Cured  you,     but  couldn’t  cut   old  losses.  Wrong  this  likeness,     (between  fish  and  foe),  like  an  engine,   quick  medium,  for  the  hounds     that  bore  me.   You  voted  with  the  police,  right.  Yes,   and  always  walked  down  the  pier     to  see  the  late  June     Magnolias,     pulled  form     from  the  moonlight.  Manitoba  might  keep  us  pale     as  possum’s  eyes.  Maybe  Midas   will  touch  us  somehow,  doubt,  and  we’ll   catch  them  someday,  those   certain  maelstroms,  lying  on  the  perimeter.   My  fish  were  frightened,  swam  away,     as  that  evening  light     along  the  pier  receded.     No  more  upheavals  in  this  atmosphere,     arboreal,  the  sun  undappling.     Egrets  again,   walking  with  stilt  legs,     plodding  over   the  beach-­‐silt,  snort  sucking  sounds.     Cries  come  from  over  yonder,  but,  then,  you  are   my  little  belly-­‐up,  I  cannot  bear   the  crisis,  dancing  in  southern  shade,   another  misty  lullaby  goes  on.   Each  one  hand-­‐holding.   I  cannot  gut  this  fish.            

 


Passengers Entitled to the Stars   went  to  the  lake  and  swam  with  crocodiles,  delivered  avalanches  to  the  sinful   villages  for  centuries.  the  crocodiles  evolved.  a  black  bird’s  shadow-­‐   overtook  the  sunlight  on  a  patch  of  lawn  and  there  a  maple  leaf   was  fertilized,  and  iron  claw  and  dagger.  the  pulse  of  a  hand  grenade   in  the  palm.  the  black-­‐fire  explosion.  the  shrapnel  scattering.   a  ship  across  the  Atlantic,  passengers  entitled  to  the  stars.   a  woman  leans  over  the  railing  in  an  evening  gown,  her  husband   fidgets  with  a  war,  some  suicidal  trouble  in  his  nightmares,  a  fear   of  crocodiles.  the  moon  a  shovel  used  for  digging  graves.  she   does  us  in.  Not  having  prayers  for  diamonds  or  houses  or  gardens.   Maybe  some  leftover  lust  or  evil  don’t  know.  some  kind   of  domestic  existence  to  maintain  the  project.        


911   Two  continents  and  more,  an  ocean   dividing  us   I  lay  down  sheet  rock,  hammer  nails   into  drywall,  helping  the  landlady   to  pay  my  rent.  With  the  door  closed  behind  me,   the  rocky  driveway  covered  over  by  asphalt.   new  owners  in  my  childhood  home.   Where  I  had  locked  myself  inside   and  the  family  had  gone  to  the  store.   It  took  my  courage  then     to  call  for  help—dial  the  3  numbers   on  the  phone,  when  strange  men  came  knocking   on  the  door.  Had  I  split  then?  Or  did  it  take   all  the  years  afterwards?   I  chose  to  open     the  book,  and  split  the  world   in  two.,  My  letters  half-­‐bound   and  with  a  strange  spine.      


Thank You   I  count  two  fences     before  the  man  on  his  lawnmower   comes  into  view.   The  top  of  his  head   and  the  flesh  of  the  red  machine.   The  sound  comes  and  goes   as  he  travels  the  distance  of  his  lawn.   Then  I  hear  him  again   with  his  leaf  blower.   Who  knows,  he  could  be   hired  help.  I  see  a  small  bunch   of  red  berries  on  a  tree     to  my  left.  The  best  calm   to  be  caught  in  a  frame  of   green.  Today  even  my  shirt   is  green.  Other  than  the  recording   I  make  with  this  black  ink,   there  are  no  witnesses.   The  breeze  makes  such  a  lovely   rippling  sound   among  the  leaves.     Maybe  something  parallel   carries  over  to  you  or  is   replicated  there.  Common  sounds   of  the  suburbs.  The  plane  overhead.   Wind  chimes.  No  pretense   of  meaning.  I  just  happen   to  be  alive  in  this  moment  of  history,   without  a  thank  you.  


You  could  chase  or  follow  the  sound.   Never  without  a  compass.   Quick  medium  hounds  behind  the  bicycle.     We  called  the  dog  off  the  negro  boy.   A  voice  to  look  after  you,  the  voice  said,   “For  space  success.”  Jutting  slowly   like  whale  fins  from  an  ocean-­‐pier.       You  could  never  chase  or  follow  the  sound.   without  a  compass.   Quick  medium  hounds  tore  off  behind  the  bicycle.     Sixo  said  freeze.   Sixo  said  Simon  says.   Red  light.  Green  light.     Even  statue.  We  tried.     We  tried  to  call  the  dog  off  the  bicycle.   It  was  a  voice  looking  after  you,   “For  space  success,”  the  voice  said     slowly  jutting  out  of  the  ocean   looking  like  a  whale  fin  from  the  pier.  


Love in the Ruins

 

    I.     Wheals  bloom   scalp  feels  hairy  &  quilted   &  now  &  then   sprouts  a  hair  root   like  a  dirigible   popping  its  hawsers   one  by  one.     II.     These  are  hard  times     principles  &  powers     are  here  &  there  victorious     everywhere  wickedness  flourishes—     how  lithe  hands  splash  across  a  harp     strike  yellow  strings  with  music     pulse  with  a  dangerous  din—     beware  of  consciousness,  it  is       beautiful-­‐catastrophe,     beautiful,  beautiful,  beautiful.      


Girls on the Edge of Water   Renoir  never  paints  their  eyes.   He  covers  them  with  the  brims  of  wide  straw  hats.   We  see  only  their  backs,  turned  from  us;   only  the  flushed  pink,     the  cream  of  cotton-­‐clad  shoulders.   Only  the  casual  droop  of  them  suggests   their  mood  because  he  never  shapes     their  faces.  We  can’t  intrude  upon   her  frown  or  see  if  her  look  is  peaceful,  pleasant.   His  brush  exposes  only  a  glimpse   of  each  girl’s  skin:  for  one,  just  a  rounded     jaw  line,  where  a  shadow  extracts     a  neck,  before  it  vanishes   under  the  high-­‐collar  gauze  of  dress;     the  other  props  an  elbow,  presses  a  hand     to  her  cheek,  but  offers  us  only     a  naked  wrist.  Renoir  never  paints  the  sea   swelling  beyond  the  bank,  or  the  rumpled     woolen  coats  the  girls  have  thrown     on  a  clump  of  gnarled  roots;   or  the  dark  matted  fabric  of  their  clothing,     where  the  cross-­‐hatched  light     and  shade  of  leaves  from  overhead     droop  and  swish,  back  and  forth.   On  the  pairs  of  eyes,  he’s  never  revealed,     a  fleet  of  blue  and  hazel  sailboats,  reflected,   are  gliding  to  the  edge  of  the  earth,     about  to  fall  beyond  horizon.      


Bloodletting   There  are  big  ideas  in  every  motel  drawer.   Gossip  meanders  from  the  corner  store   into  old-­‐fashioned  barber  shops,  the  ones   with  the  peppermint-­‐stripe  spinning  tubes   out  front  that  were  used  as  signs  for  bloodletting.   The  barber/surgeon  would  scissor  the  hair     around  the  porcelain  bowl,  then  snip  the  skin     at  the  vein  on  the  inner  elbow,  to  release   the  liquid  spirit  from  the  river  of  the  heart.     George  Washington  died,  this  was  how   his  healers  brokered  with  his  illness,     after  the  hounds  and  carriages  raced     him  to  his  bed,  he  lay  without  cosmetics,  dying     from  this  art.  Because  they  didn’t  know  when     to  stop  the  letting,  or  that  the  moon-­‐sign  in  the  skies,     during  those  nights,  bade  them  wrong     for  bleeding  and  were  destined  to  unmake  the  cure.     There  are  little  ideas  that  can  never  be  shed.   How  white,  the  china,  holds  the  drops  of  red.           You  can  track  the  trail  of  gossip  from  corner  store     to  words  of  every  mouth  at  the  barber  shop,     where  the  peppermint-­‐stripe  spinning  tubes  out  front     used  to  be  signs  for  bloodlettings.                


A Wife on the King’s Death and Her Succession (or Horse Teeth)   After  a  while  the  discussion  centered  round  teeth  —  horses  teeth  in  fact  —  and  more   specifically:  “What  do  you  consider  to  be  the  correct  number  of  teeth  for  an  adult,  male   horse  to  possess?”Plato’s  theory  of  horses     Golden  ropes  bind  your  chest,  coil     around  a  fencepost  where  you’re  tied.   Once  king  and  husband,  you  are  now  the  sacrifice,  dying   to  crown  me  Queen.   We’ve  painted  you  red   with  goat’s  blood,  closed  your  eyes  and  ears  with  coins.   Crows  come,  rise  heavy  with  flesh.   When  they  ascend,  the  bells  ring:  he’s  gone  and  won’t  be  coming  back.     Under  a  crown  of  peacock  feathers,  my  skin  glows  bronze.   I  step  closer  to  my  new  throne,  and  find   a  coronation  gift:     a  braided  necklace  of  my  hair     with  baubles  of  your  teeth.  By  now  your  body  must  be     a  field  of  ripened  berries.  Death  has  come     for  both  of  us,  mine,  seems  so  abstract.        


Mildness   When  Mildness  rubbed  her  muzzle  against  my  shoulder,   I  took  her  in,  laughing,  my  hair  drawn  out  as  raven  feathers   for  Mildness  to  work  the  oil  in  that  smelled  like  the  cologne     Father  slapped  his  face  with  early  in  the  morning   when  sunlight  spread  like  patchwork  on  the  window-­‐sill   and  tumbled  on  the  bed-­‐linens  where  Mildness  and  I  lay     combing  our  hair  together,  kneading  fists  into  cushions.     When  Mother  came  in,  came  to  languish,  Mildness  left   the  room,  my  life,  an  ugly  invertebrate.     As  I  watched  her  go  I  braided  my  own  hair,   three  thick  strands  coiled  in  a  tight  herringbone   like  the  patterns  of  Father’s  coat.  I’ve  forgotten     the  neck’s  nuzzling   soft  as  dandelion  seeds,  everything   except  her  many  hands  and  feet.  


Being Accused of Genius   Sometimes  it  doesn’t  matter;  I  shrug   and  say  that  when  it  doesn’t  matter,   then  the  next  time   I’ll  know  it.  Then  I  say  I’ll  know  it   when  I  see  it,  but  that  it  doesn’t  really  matter   as  much  as  when  I  was  younger,     or  less  sorrowful,  less  serious  or  full     with  the  thought  of  genius,  but  it  doesn’t   matter,  I  say,  trying  to  claim   a  more  ordinary  role.  Give  me  an  ordinary  day,   any  day,  and  I’ll  take  a  drive  to  the  grocery  store,   happy  for  sunlight,  thank  the  clerk   kindly,  swing  my  purse   over  my  shoulder.  But  no  matter  what,     it  always  happens  that  I  can’t     be  set  off  into  an  ordinary  corner   on  an  ordinary  day.    Because     what  one  says  does  matter,  the  bareness     of  having  said  it,  and  that  in  one’s  saying  it,  it  is     so—  thus  and  so  forth.  So  what  really  matters  is  more,     has  something  to  do  with  the  ordinary  and  the  still   more  exceptional  sensory  rituals   of  genius.  And  thinking  this,  whatever  this  is   losing  (its)  sense  in  its  perishing,  articulate,     incensed  placing  of  it  in  this     pocket:  an  ordinary  day     at  the  checkout  line,  a  box  of  pasta,     two  cans  of  tuna,  a  turnip  and  avocado,     candied  yams,  a  jar  of  capers.  When  I  was  younger,     I  say  to  the  grocery  clerk,  I  ate     twinkies,  peanut  butter  sandwiches,   crawled  on  my  knees  on  the  linoleum,  singed  ants   with  a  magnifying  glass  under  the  sun.  There  was     so  much  I  didn’t  know  and  he  says     the  same  thing.  Each  time  I  do  this,  come  to  the  end   of  his  line  at  the  checkout,  we  do  this,  say     the  same  things  back  and  forth,     and  I  don’t  know  how     this  can  be  anything  but   extraordinary,  these  simple  rituals  of  saying,     or  of  shrugging  the  matter  off,  muttering     against  the  accusation  I  don’t     know,  I  just  don’t  know.        


The Spotlight     the  air  dawns  thin  like  cream  and  yes  less  is  more     unless  the  night  comes  and  yet  nothing       is  done  I  must  by  degrees  end  this  fussing     over  the  inchworm  or  the  lilac  or  the  fisticuffs     in  the  gutter’s  path  I  splashed  in  once  at  the  cost     of  covering  the  earth-­‐bed  with  snowflakes  from  a  basket     or  peonies  or  even  watercress  wishing  we’d  rather   had  sandwiches  at  the  Spotlight  and  passed  on       the  casket  of  notes  sent  from  the  classroom’s  back-­‐row     its  windows  the  same  as  cream  at  dawn-­‐break       crusted  in  dew-­‐sugar  and  after  lunch  the  view     would  have  been  ceremonious  with  gold  and  blue       ribbons  scrolling  the  names  of  our  heroes  but  we  watched     the  seasons  pass  instead  watched  the  ticking  clocks     our  hands  gripping  onto  a  script  that  would  unleash   us  to  the  world  and  its  uses       such  as  razors  cut  with  became  my  skill     to  rip  and  shred  and  rifle  through     the  evidence  for  hours  pursuing  grace   when  I  found  it  I  turned  the  key  to  an  unlit       corridor  filled  with  scraps  and  muslin  sheets  musty  boxes     ancient  bats  flew  out  from  when  I  fled  that  day     my  hands  were  clenched  in  fists     to  stand  a  better  chance  I  said       the  heart’s  muscle  pumping  in  a  chest  bulged-­‐blue     when  I  surmised  the  game  an  aperture       closing  what  was  in  me  most  I  ran  with   what  was  in  me  most  


Her Winter Rite   Her  fingers  pinch  curtains  taut,     as  the  creek’s  edge  outside   tapers  into  flutes,  thawed  tributaries,     like  spider  webs     revealed  in  sun,   as  she  peers  through  rime,     as  kettle  boils,     as  spout’s  whistle     shrieks  on  mornings  like  this.     Her  eyes  enflame  glass,     hoarfrost,     expose  rail  lines,  sear  their  trails,     turning  their  white  banks     ash-­‐gray.  In  this  way   tends  her  fire,   as  if  raising  a  yellow  story     to  her  face,  reading,   anticipates     a  dream,     an  echoed  rumbling     of  a  train     racing  over  tracks  for  her,   braces  herself  for  Close   Closer.  Withering     like  this,  so  depleted,   plaits  unraveled,   breath  sighed   then  held,  her  sheath     falling  to  the  floor.  Draws   a  bath,  to  sink  her  ache   in  water’s  bone-­‐deep  heat.  


Double Helix The close of day Into the shower faucet, my shout’s returned With a web of steam, a murder Of spider, sticky hairs Catching me, but I go through them To rush for the towel rack, reach For my terry rope, wrap the cotton cloth Around my bluest, bluest. Reflections of libraries Oh the sorrows of young Germans who waver in the sun, at another hemisphere where waking-fogs surround me like libraries. For the coldest days I keep the British Museum in my pocket, as antidote, wormwood for my stance in the aisles, hearing no foghorn only a sense displaced, of having lost my purse, keys like chalk around my daydreams. Psychotic break I was early to campus by a full fours hours, but by the third early hour I was submerged In the doubling, of Werther’s sorrows which forsake me From being Where I should be. Walking out into albedo’s atomic cloud I remembered this anecdote. It was cold out with snow on the ground, A January afternoon in Bronxville Where I had a chance encounter With Vijay in a Patagonia fleece To speak of his John Donne reveries. I was deeper into the page of another’s reality Than I in hindsight could pretend to be now.


That is not my anecdote. I could not share then The displacement Hardy imprinted like a timeless shock. I was eight hours early for my flight from Delhi back to the U.S. This was my ticket out of India back into the atomic cloud, but the mayor was a gambler who gave his wife away. No clock on the terminal wall at one a.m. in the second world. No time to serve up resolutions. Fecundity of snowflakes fell elsewhere. Some later morning after the plane landed, I got tired and made some coffee. The udders of my bathrobe dragging on the quaint brick floor. Another barracuda. I spent one year with the school psychiatrist. Took showers only to take more showers Only to walk inside of my bathrobe As if it were my armchair.


Scholar of Feelings I love it when you hasten to extinguish the bedside lamp, a flash of thumbprints on a water glass before the dark of our rest and restlessness. What in my turning do you sip in that deep and quick sleep, is it like a swirling top of my darker days or a star inside a backpack you take down a hill.


Instructions on Origami Letting go of paper, I wonder Where the story about paper boats floated, Out to sea, somewhere where the heart Heard water swirling, a swish Inside a hollow cove, sloshings made When water’s cupped in a palm. Off the coast of the Phillipines A thousand children Released a thousand Paper boats, so how Is there just one In the Seine Of my memory, What’s the difference in how either boat is folded? Skip forward to my throne of protest By a creek where I pass time Skipping rocks. Think of a pink orchid I placed inside the one. If he stole paper By being paper Then he And the boat are one. When silver rocks Were thrown by silver seas I’d have known what to make And what flower to put inside it. Skip back to the fog I’d watched along the water Obscuring the best words To feel more the source words. How we walk on sand No matter how much we love The water.


Binding Arbitration Amidst the iceswishing, I was a poor mosquito. Bite marks on another’s skin, Imagine the little itch Coming from treason. I surmise That existence works out Or all comes back. Even when I was hushed, The nightingale, rainwater Or golden bangles knocked together On a mother’s arm Could not obscure The tree frogs I listened to chirruping In the bogwater to wonder Of the dark of their hiding places. When treasons return By accident, how much moonlight Illuminates the faces of frogs?. I love the fire burning, though. The flames alert me, keep wrapping Shadows around bodies I want to love. Veering into one shadow, I ordain a crook of arm, a harbor, While he rests another arm On my hipbone Keeping me secure from it, three sips Of whiskey and another photograph flash.


If tin disguised glass If a wilted petal fallen from a glass column. If going back, if there was an able to by time travel. If tin disguised glass. But I cut open sky and find something else to glance through. You (hypocrite) will love your easy, effortless look. Even the gods told you not to. Even when papa hushed me to hear the nightingale and the rainwater, mama’s golden bangles clanging on her cocktail glass. The encoded milky whirls I stare through, crystal vase seafoam green backlit where he was and I was Sending a look to relatives leaving on a city bus, going on pilgrimage (again) a tulip of dust out of the tailpipe. These days you hear a feather landing. I didn’t want to hear it; didn’t try Then got to thinking about something else. Shrugging when asked a question. Hang out with family now watching TV, DNA- absorbed. The brain being unlucky to exist. The lovely arc roses create between eye and vase, when they come fresh- picked and dew drops on the granite top; cut-glass tenoring a peach glow with green flecks and the winter rouge . . . of certain faces. That time of year . . . He was washing a dinner pot under very hot water, looking at it. Demure. The spout as metallic and vain as pure water. I was looking at him. When the snow was melting, his hand found my button and undid it, looking like a sparrow caught in a barb. Ruing when face and unface mattered, I covet the mask-embers crackling out of the firepit. Flake and detritus outlast farewells, final vestige in the crackling around my red harbor; they say these tulip-puffs die too, cough out embers of leave-taking all animate/inanimate Books I read to go outside and unfrighten, sleep. Those days as night were not leaving me I breathed without choosing. Bent closer inside the harbor, a kind of lean-to.


Sir Walter Raleigh 1 My soul will be a-dry before; But, after, it will thirst no more. Wherever the ship would carry him. The unmolded slab of clay and what became of him. Stars upon stars were flecked on the pavement. The same stars in the seawater that had carried him. (lulled him) (Stars she alludes to . . . he alludes to . . . ??) (the stars were all anymore that united him to her—but they united everyone—and made a common man of him) (comet clouds on the macadam) The cold snow that came was later beaten out of him. The season she had wept through now smelled like dead animals. (series of hieroglyphs flickering on the cave wall, a new world, even then) No space to keep it in, just memory an orphaned locket somewhere in the jewelry box (stored), and somewhere an arrangement of paintbrushes and a portrait painter scraping a palette knife against the canvas (in the manner of undoing a mistake) he had worn a hat then and listened to the papers carrying everything between his hands the nation and whatever it allowed him all in the name of convenience (a cubicle, corner pharmacy) and he was going now. Other worlds were what the old Gods bequeathed him. So that would explain the mess he made of the Queen’s Holy Empire Her ruined name, her infamy and all those songs the choir sang of chipped plaster and broken arms.


Sir Walter Raleigh 2 Wherever the ship would carry him, awkward Into the pavement. Comet clouds shining from wet macadam. The interstellar lights then brighter than now in the new cities he made. Into whatever see, as the skiffs took on the golden glow of chariots. He would remember the poems he’d made from poems. Remembering was god-granted. Into each turning of the wheel He asserts the law of Empire. The unmolded slab of clay. How he’d mottled and whittled words, rattling out of his open mouth in the captain’s room. When the night reigned on the ocean and the ship was only the notion of an Empire. The slab of clay incarnates, re-enacts the stars. The stars that were flecked on the pavement. The same stars on the ship’s prow. He had worn a hat then and listened to the papers. What grieved him, into waste. In the manner of undoing a mistake, the portrait painter stood scraping the canvas. The stars he alludes to, as if the words had been a lovesong carved on the body of the ship. (Divorced from cascades, caresses, things that fall.) When he’d reached the new world, new laws began composing new requiems. His song stayed there on her breath where he laid it. New words of a new world, what the ship bestowed. We let out a howl for the wolves to chase.


Quick medium hounds behind the bicycle. You could chase or follow the sound. Never without a compass. We called the dog off the gringo. A voice to look after you. Look forward to space success, the voice says. You meet the voice, frightened, at the end of the pier. Say the beads, let the beads drop from tongue, let the words alter, let ships sail over yonder where buildings are beeping keeping our mind’s refreshed, our minds hard-wired to the underground. I keep on digging, late in the June day. I keep on digging, eight hours gone by. (This could bring talking heads bridge)


Literary Debacles With the closing-in of horse sense the rains came. We catch other noises whinnying from the corporation’s pasture. Can not calibrate the right groans for our appendix. We are trying to record bug sounds for our next feature. We’re held to impossible standards and nature seldom cooperates with deadlines. Imagine what it feels like to get to the mountain, with gusto, and the dewdrops from the mist work into the equipment. Reducing us to static in the speakers. All day to my partner, I’m screaming through the radio if he can hear me. I get two hello’s, and one parenthetical. I caught it in the microphone, him cursing at the Meanads converging on my eardrums. We’re listening for crickets. I demand crickets. And he must do something about it, in this rut of civilization, I’m demanding our control of nature. We’re going to press in a matter of days. I chant my MBA mantras until our machines recover. We are going to ride down this mountain top and straddle our horses, take these sound clips to the CEO’s house, mock-up any files we’re missing. My laptop’s flipped open a cicada screensaver waits for input.


Stabilizing Effect of Collaboration He took a hot poker. I sipped my tea. Hypothetical thoughts of Eliot ruminating after Zebras in African savannahs, chasing the Eskimo into his igloo. Parody: a miscarriage of true minds. Oh and Jupiter does labor with dancing fingers. Our puppet strings hurt. Anyway we pound through it, jabbing at electric keys. Fight anyone with a butane torch, look away when we press the stopwatch. Only when it’s right, until we’re giddy with the . . . blanketyblank. When we look away from the watch, what do we spy but a bee out of the window. Doing what spooky thing, exactly, in this hemisphere, this time of year?


Re: I can’t do anything except swivel in my chair go up and down stairs. You tell me to rest in oblivion—my expertise not measured by lickity-split. to break when the door shuts, and when the hallway light glows around the door still to give up my eyesight for a semblance of ORDER. I come closer to action when the firefox brigade clogs the ambition I practice on google. Gold in my trousseau and yet I wax on with variegated wings. Peacock feathers alive in the corners of my living room. I keep a water jug beside my bed. Sip the coolness off the rim, add attachment, hit send. Fw: I process this as disaster. Tell your friends: Drinking is now the Tao of the neighborhood. Gossip is going around that the door closed around midnight. We factchecked, but can’t— because we won’t— reveal our sources. Shh.


UGLY METAPHOR Getting  caught  in  the  tumult  of  abstract  ideas   is  the  lie.  Being  enchained  in  the  absence  of  symbols—   in  the  lie  of  available  symbols.  Denied   by  the  cross,  the  swastika  denied  to  me.  We  whip   the  wheel  around,  keep  turning  it  in  with  the  cross  bow   in  its  cleft,  ripped  out  with  a  poison  tip.   Deep  as  religion  is,  to  me,  not  the  tumult  of  abstract  ideas.   I  keep  no  symbol  around  my  neck.  Denied  my  talisman   the  burial,  no  bones  of  my  ancestors  bowed   under  the  earth’s  crust.  No  slavery  whips   against  my  ancestor’s  backs.  Just  the  tip   of  the  ice  burg,  these  abstract  symbols   without  a  figuring.  No  cross,  no  denial.     Simply  lay  it  down  on  paper  whatever  it  was  I  wanted  to  say  all  those  times   I  keep  this  slide  down   and  down  I  keep  going  as  if   it  would  never  stop,  stripped  of  life   by  an  assassin,    as  she  was   hurdling  through  that  maze  of  politics   and  life  was  really  going  to  be  this     for  her  the  marred  breakage   was  nothing  to  take  home  to  her  parents   oh  limits,  in  this,  the  tension  strips,  aligns   remotely  with  him,  as  I  started  to  love,  seekers,  were  once,  the  many  flowers   that  broke  open  when  he  smiled,  the  teeth   were  like  dynamite.  I  say  my  names  and  sometimes   simply  lay  it  down  on  paper  what  it  was  I  wanted  to  say  all  those  times.     Could  these  cold  wires  keep  me  buoyed?   And  yet  his  world  keeps  me  buried  beneath  it.   Any  avalanche,  any  tornado,  trying  to  rummage  through  debris   for  my  once-­‐lost-­‐perishing,  memories  of  even-­‐thrummed   and  equal  love,  returned,  returning.       Mouths  open  and  close,  and  in  the  present,  I  don’t  think   of  your  body  beneath  another.  While  owls  and  hawks     in  southern  pinetrees  do  it.  Congress   with  God,  as  nimble  as  the  hawk  or  owl.     Yet  this  insistence,  yet,  donned  at  night,  the  effort   secreting  out  of  lintels  or  doors  ajar,  whatever  airy   speakers  can  broker  into  this  form  from  the  other  side     of  darkness.  I  can  only  guess  at  the  resemblance.  


Each  light  went  west,  while  your  dormant  lust   sent  pleasure  downward,  southerly,  I  clasped   the  wormwood  in  my  hand,  chewed  off  a  morsel,   and  continued  walking,  out  of  the  botanical  garden’s   arches.  Wire  transfer  some  drinking  water,  someday   after  the  artifice,  the  energy,  depletes.      In  keeping  with  an  electric  clock.  Not  analogue.    I  laid  out  the  digits,  the  prehensile,  clasped  the  spoon   with  my  fingers  once,  on  impulse.     Every  year  of  civilization  and  a  lock  opens.   Into  banquets.  Like  the  Beowulf  blanket  I  kept  warm  under  in  London.     I  laid  the  promises  out,  shielded  nothing  from  nothing.   War-­‐weary,  saying  this  song     as  opposed  to  another’s   better  for  now,  when  breaking  off  the  pinecone  from  the  tree.     The  reflections  of  the  pinecones  under  the  billybats   in  the  asphalt  puddle  under  the  moon.     Underneath  the  sediment  gets  impacted,  as  they  say,  how  the  wind   can  impact  the  destinies  of  cities,  churning  out  of   control.  Dress-­‐me-­‐down,  my  density,  the  testing   of  my  body  inside  your  body  inside  my  body.     How  arms  held  in,  incense  me,  confuse  me,  cause  me  wonder.   I  slip  a  note  into  your  pocket.  Store   art-­‐cars  full  of  chairs  in  the  basement.  Prepare  shelters,   all  the  while  causality  keeps  spinning  out  wildly,     like  the  whinnying  of  horses  that  aren’t  real   under  your  newborn  legs,  bustling  with  love  for  horses.   How  like  and  how  like  when  I  lost  the  antelopes.     Slipping,  perishing,  the  ice  I  step  on  beneath  me,  the  nadir,  slipping,  perishing   beneath  me.  Road  detours  East.       I  get  up  again  and  wash  my  hands  and  face.   Red-­‐robin  in  the  distance,  outside  the  window,  springtimes  when  I  looked   to  see  the  ferry  gliding  across  the  sea,  the  canvas  ceiling,  striped  canopy,   yellow  and  blue,  in  the  shapes  of  pennants,  the  sounds  of  the  trains   squelching  stop  in  my  brother’s  neighborhood.  All  imaginary.   Riding  the  carrousel  on  horses  that  aren’t  real   under  your  newborn,  legs  bustling  with  love  for  horses.   Lives  to  fill  out  these  pages.  Make  an  image  out  of  myself.     How  it  came  to  nothing  when  the  climate  was  restored.    


I  turned  outward,  not  wanting,  expediency  like  this.   Couldn’t  calibrate  the  correct  response,  the  unjust,  unjustness   of  right  and  wrong.  Who  does  this  to  me,  each  time  I  just  want  to  betray   hatred  for  an  enemy,  my  dispossession,  lucid?  Yellow     guns  going  boom,  boom,  kaboom   in  the  basement  (downstairs).  Nadir.     Hourly,  nightly.  Antelopes  fleeing  at  the  sound  of  horse  hooves,  a  sleigh  ride   back  to  the  cottage  or  country  house,  where  the  fire  burned  so  brightly   I  threw  off  my  scarf.  Suddenly    upon  entering.  A  stuffed  chair.   Where  one  sits.  Was  how  my  mind  reacted   to    the  appearance  of  furniture.  Waking  up,  my  eyes  through  eyes   could  see  the  cherry  wood  of  the  dresser  and  footboard.   Would  this  religion  be  of  any  consequence?     Getting  caught  in  the  tumult  of  abstract  ideas   is  the  lie.  Being  enchained  in  the  absence  of  symbols—   in  the  lie  of  available  symbols.  Denied   by  the  cross,  the  swastika  denied  to  me.  We  whip   the  wheel  around,  keep  turning  it  in  with  the  cross  bow   in  its  cleft,  ripped  out  with  a  poison  tip.   Deep  as  religion  is,  it  is  not  the  tumult  of  abstract  ideas.   I  keep  no  symbol  around  me  neck.  Denied   the  burial,  no  bones  of  my  ancestors  bowed   under  the  earth’s  crust.  No  slavery  whips   against  my  ancestor’s  backs.  Just  the  tip   of  the  ice  burg,  these  abstract  symbols   without  a  figuring.  No  cross,  no  denial.     How  like  an  onion,  laughter  or  remedy,  or  banana  peel.   At  the  gas  station,  I  collected  the  information  about  the  assassination   from  a  dark  Turk  who  owned  the  establishment,  presumably.   Above  the  counter  where  I  wrapped  my  hand  around  the  brown  bag   covering  my  wine  bottle.  I  was  about  to  buy  it;  engaged   in  the  commerce  today  of  seeking  an  answer  to  my  question  why.     Ready  as  I’ll  ever  be.  Tyranny  and  me.  Feel  it  in  my  bed,   wounded  as  ever,  tuned  into  mystic  impulses.  Leave  behind   the  grandfather  as  he’s  pictured  and  remember  to  honor   his  wife.  Good  children  wounded  in  a  good  fight.   However  little  this  abstraction  holds  water.   Gradually  becoming  sounder,  they  crater     water  as  a  rock,  round  the  diverted  lip  and  slide   back  down.  As  a  pressure-­‐paradox  is  lying  always  in  the  uppermost   of  my  mind.  Feet  wet  from  pacing  the  rock-­‐bed,  quarry.  Ritual  of     Local  roads  twisting  into  mountain  passes,  snow  falling.  


Bound  by  laws  and  orgasms,  little  soundless  microphones   bear  repeating  into  them.  Say  hello  again,  my  name,  make  sentences   again  that  bear  repeating.  When  they  used  to  read.   Water  in  the  ocean.  Land  on  continents.  I  divide  the  planet  according  to  my  will.   And  from  it  I’ve  purchased  this  lack  (push  back)   of  corresponding  affections,  like  necklaces  meant  to  be  heirlooms,   inside  of  boxes,  parleyed  from  one  time  into  another,     not  to  be  possessed  but  studied  by    anthropologists,  and  morphed  by  them  into  what  exactly   what  truth  of  parleying  that  I  never  want  them  to  know?     that  I  had  no  use  for  all  the  gold  in  my  trousseau,  but  only  wanted  to  keep  it,  so  the   anthropologists   could  look  at  it,  not  so  that  they  could  see  my  reasons,  but  so  they  could  imagine   the  uses  for  these  bangles  and  heavy  golden  chokers.     Why  should  that  little  bird  have  frightened  me  enough   that  behind  the  door  that  when  I  saw  it  in  the  ajar  I  banged  again  and  again  until  it   was  dead.     Dead/healed?  The  question  continues  to  persist.   I  condescend  to  ask  a  man  his  political  opinion  only  because  I  couldn’t  get  the  other   him  on  the  phone   early  enough,  the  one  who  reminds  me  not  to  trouble  myself.  The  story  of  how  things   are  how   they  remain    .  .  .  I  could  have  gone  back   to  the  lintels  today  and  stayed  there,  instead  of  watching  the  news.     The  words  come  so  easy  now,  and  connect  as  though  these  scratchings,  marks  I   make,   marks  made,  little  markings,  the  planks  and  structures  of  scratching,  marks   structured.     How  quick  is  that  connection  between  the  marking  and  the  thought,  emotion,  word.   I  don’t  know  at  what  cost  I’ve  purchased  this  particular  ease.     I’ve  got  these  words  now  to  stand  in  for  that.   It  is  with  some  brokenness,  some  fragments,  shards,  these  ruins   I  keep  tied  together,  with  yarn  and  ribbon.  Christmas  presents.       Letters  rust  in  plaid-­‐covered  boxes.  Hoove  prints  mar  the  pastures.   Elephants  of  alabaster  and  my  mardi-­‐gras  of  disaster.     Each  month,  or  day,  or  night—leave  the  book  open,  write.   How  would  it  be  more  soothing,  restrain  my  memory,  oh  train,  domesticate   that  beating  bird  in  the  voice  box  straining  to  make   grave  matter  rise  forth,  froth  over  with  ugly  metaphor.  



For me