Thursday, March 7, 2019

my lover has said that she needs magic


my lover has said that she needs magic
from the supernaturally quiet
calm that comes with a type of kiss,
something like a whispered song.

and from my imperfect consideration,
after diving deeply into its
meaning, i have met with some terms,

thinking:

her meaning is like the texture of the perfect
day in which all the 
benevolence of Mother is received -

this kiss, if enjoined in
simple sweetness, sees two
different things happen at once:

cleaving fear and spiritual elation.

love arises from this and wears a thin veneer;
nearly impossible to breach
without her necessary components,

which have different names 
to different people: kindness, empathy,
release, joy, faith, blindness.

i don't know, exactly.

the point is, my lover cannot 
extract love from something
that does not first explode.

and therefore, in this manner,
she cannot abide a kiss that is absent 
a sacred, mystical communion.

she told me once, after
meeting a suitor for the first
time, that their kiss left her subtracted

from the moment, and
therefore darkly abandoned in that
moment, roughly accumulated.

i just didn't feel it
she explained, and to my
inquisitive brow, she said,

it's hard to explain,
but there was nothing
here,

and she placed a palm on her belly 
with the same look as having been 
assaulted by a boring, generic thought;

almost verging on a type of tear,
the way she looks sometimes
when life has gone slate.

it was - and it is not -
a testimony to the
manner in which he kissed;

she had no degrading revulsion,
no unnecessary private scold
of the man himself,

who was, by her own
admission, wonderfully
polite, attractive, even funny.

when she first meets a lover,
she expects no mistrial of the
event beforehand, harbors no prejudice.

but rather - and i am being painfully,
boorishly, nonspecific here
because i had to puzzle through it

to find her Truth, that i might join
her in the center of the idea
and understand it -

but i believe
she hopes for
something fragmenting,

something that cracks open
her sternum and stirs
the remote calm into a frenzy.

magic, she called it,
and i had to excuse the
limp term in my mind

because it rang like
a muted bell or a
water-submerged idea.

i felt it with you that
first kiss, she confessed,
and i was then floated

instantly, pulled backward
to that moment, the
muscles of my memory coiling,

to a location
caved-in by a million other
encroaching, dusty stones.

i didn't recall magic -
but rather felt the
light-headedness

that comes on the wing
of fueled fear, the same feeling
of falling in a dream,

face down, toward earth
from a fantastic height,
my breath exhumed,

and startle-waking
just as my face
strikes cold consciousness.

from the separation of our
lips, from the second the
skin of them slipped silently apart,

i was upended, my heart
a thundering vessel,
my mind compelled toward

some vanishing light,
some ascending thought,
some untouchable moon.

thereafter i craved nothing
less than to be a new alien
to myself,

to depart from what was
and had been and confront
a better form of me.

my hands tingled,
i do remember that:
they nearly hurt

with a desire to
forever hold in their tips
the ornament of her soul.

oh! oh yes
i agreed with her
then, newly birthed.

magic, i said.

she blushed:

yes...

yes!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

mere touch


what else could you say
         about me? she asked.
how many words exist? said i.

i lament that we live
in a world in which lovers
believe they're not worthy

of the inexhaustible words
of their poets, who always
have something to confess.

it's as though she asked me,
how many different ways
          could you touch me?

the answer to which would
seem foolish to those who've
felt the power of either.

to the poet in love's
apprehension, words are the
fount from which touch flows.

i know a poetess and painter
who shares her works with me
and it's like the touch

of the fingers to the
breastbone, behind which
the heart awaits.

mere touch, mere words
the poet is over-generous
with both to those who

are willing to receive,
and neither need meaning
beyond the import to one's soul.

to verse and to touch
have the same end
to this poet:

to give and to take,
to intercourse with
a lover's delicate charity.

consider the lover
and the reader the same
in this example:

radiating, next to me,
back-bared and
placated, yielding.

i listen to her hair
on the pillow when
she turns every so often,

subtle as the sound of
voices in a distant room,
muted soft secrets.

every moment of her darkness
it is required of me that
i put hands on something

of her, some part,
that i may repeatedly
witness a life teeming.

for me, touch is a guide wire
to deep inlets, a current
of the transitory spark.

it does not last, nor
could it any more than
the wick of a candle.

which is quite all right
for this temporal man,
who needs his native fix.

poetry is in no way different.
it requires the touch of the
word upon the lover's

breastbone, received as deeply
as she allows, feeling whatever
comes and no less.

i cannot control the
affect of verse and touch,
which is important.

i want each received and
swallowed, then forgotten
by morning,

so that each new touch,
each new poem, is blushed
over and makes her dizzy.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

my mother has escaped love


my mother has escaped love.
which is to say,
she and my father turn
60 years old in june
as a married couple,
so she understands
that love is no mere enthusiasm;

no chased thing,
 no source of youth,
  no misting degrees of want,
   no harbor pursued,
  no turned-up sun,
 no significant fortune,
no public poetry.

we've all blasted it to
pieces, made it sentimental.
it's in the courts of our
poisoned blood; we are all
feverish with its currency
and have mistaken it for something
like fashion or violence.

love is the ancient find
in the ancient ground,
the sacred air in the tombs
of the kings, the particles
in the air above spring fields,
the twilight rays found
in the shortest good-byes.

she dwells in the beloved, my mother,
my inexhaustible water,
who can't spell to save
her own life, and whose
passions flank us all and
who grew up in the best  times
when life was on an oiled hinge.

i liken her to no flower,
 no obscure scent,
  no palpable constellation,
  no ageless dream,
 no prenatal obscurity,
no heavenly relic.

rather, she is let it go
she is may it be
she is what it ought be
she is never do say
she is always breathe
she is kiss ever fully
she is dance with time.

my mother liked to bite,
did i ever tell you that?
at random moments
she would bare her teeth
and sink them into the flesh
of my shoulder or arm
enough for me to know i was hers,

the way the lioness bites
the neck of her unruly cubs,
a playful marking, a
lucid reminder that she
is the empress, the hungry
master of the wild world.

most mothers i know are like
this; and my mother is no less
sweet than delirious angels,
yet a rogue killer of the
joyless secrets shared between
heaven and man; she is my
delicate escort.

she has irreplaceable loyalty, my mother.
she is a reader of spy novels and
taught me the great chambers found in
the written word that led me
to put to page the finery
of inexact thought and heroic fantasy;
she suffered through the private readings
of my hand-written, jerky dream-lands.

she is the beacon,
the lady chancellor,
the high priestess,
the guardian against and
the foil to my enemies;
she is the longest day
and shortest night.

my mother has escaped love,
which is to say she
and i stand on separate soil,
diverged by a thin
and constant bridge of surety.
my reachable pilot,
my dearest source.

Monday, February 18, 2019

savannah


                      i.
      how comes the muse

friday night and he is struck;
this poet, who ponders an image
that has arrived to rest in his
mind pulsing with mortality and blood.

thinking: how comes the
muse to the latched-upon artist?
that he is vigorously transfixed
by the aesthetic eye of a her?

in this breezy moment in time,
what comes touching-down
from the cosmos
is a spiritual palm,

and an otherwise depth-less thought
goes in one leaping direction
to become held deeply fast to
that desirable corner.

he must, in fact, let
loose upon his page,
does he not? or it becomes
just another obedient lie.

the poet has the luxury of being
so adorned from a fair enough distance,
and therefore urged to supplant idle
imagination with a new figure of Eros.

and that is how it goes: two
diametric skies are collided in escaping
randomness, through which the giver
and the receiver embrace rebellion.

                   ii.
          love, not Eve

is this not the question, then:
in what effective form can
the poet word-sculpt
the truest essence of the muse?

that he must reduce
it to a form at all, to capture
and release that which he feels,
is his first and ultimate failing.

surely the eyes are not that
color, nor the chin as fleeting
in the bones, nor the arms as
subdued and tone-full?

and what of the careful
consideration of another artist,
upon his examination and execution
to the page of the same she?

certainly, with the art held together
side by side, the tepid reader
will decide that she is
not at all the same subject.

so it is wanting that the
measure of a poet's success
be done by falling in love
with the poet himself;

that we are to know
the muse in her tender,
enthusiastic self only through
the complicated will of the writer.

but in what fashion can
we travel such distance,
and with necessary acuity
and informed reflection,

that we can get to a point
in which we do, firstly, know
the man and therefore,
secondly, know the truth of her?

it's all running up great
slopes of uncompromising, naked
dunes for a vista entombed, nevertheless,
by the clouds of longing.

i'm apt to believe, then,
that the artist looks not to
engage us in a game of
mirrored reflection,

but rather in a prayer
for the ascendance of
the muse to a level
of cosmic blessing,

so that what we come
away with is the
reigning answer to the
question of love, not Eve.

                iii.
     what can be done

what can be done of
you? might i approach
your selfness in a manner
beneficial to my whim?

some will certainly
behold you in accordance
with their own buried
schemes and predestinations;

they will take into consideration
what they know of you at the
outset, and lay over, upon
this tribute, a new transparency,

(if they know you at all)
and if not, my words will be
their first entry of you into
a book of old faiths.

so i separate whatever gray
there is and wash from my
scriptures those tendencies of fact
that mar so many relationships.

i know a bit about you,
so that is unhelpful and
no small impediment toward
art if i want to show the truth.

the fearful and the feeble
will prescribe whatever
required secrecy to their tongues
and thus split the joy of it.

the unknowing will travel
a different path and, upon
its end, be stirred by the
spirit of charity and restraint.

neither of which is anything
a polite poet need care
about, so i've put you all
to the back in a grave

so that now i can embrace,
free of the tethers and in a
colder stance and standing alone,
my prayer upon your image.

                    iv.
             savannah

the face is the draw,
moon-shadowed as it
is, one hemisphere obscured
by original secrets.

she is looking at the silent
and retreating dreams
of some such passion she
had in youth.

that she achieved her
station thus far by
the dint of a mystic
turn years before.

like the rest of us, her
songs and her parchments
of affection, written in the moon's
ink, have been folded

and have been put away
into a volume of hymns,
then remanded to an
impossibly high shelf.

she has her visible eye
affixed to some twilight
and keeps her hair behind
the ear, listening.

all women do this:
they hurt and they
dance in dark harbors
of want and desire.

they don't know who to be
when alone or in a party of refutable friends,
so they keep an eye and an ear
ever affixed to a life of sounds.

for a sign, perhaps?
for some portent sound
from the past that will
signal the new beginning?

her shoulder is faced toward
us - her patrons - but not
coldly. it is as bare
as the most memorable proverbs.

the neck, likewise unwed,
is where the strength is,
holding within which the voice
of a woman self-estranged.

her thoughts are not as morbid
as they might seem; she has
no palpable regrets but rather
lingering confusions,

thoughts full of beautiful invitations
to grand adventures,
both big and small, some
of which she's attended.

thoughts filled with full-breasted
rains of summer and
all the attendant whispers
of tall trees.

her thoughts are as
complicated as stones
on a beach in the manner in which
they make a reachable pattern.

if only she could connect
them at once to get -
in just a fleeting second -
a glimpse of her Call.

she knows it's there!
and puzzles over them
endlessly while on her
surfaces of days attends to life.

the lips remain unspoken
for, remaining purely at
rest and unparted, to suggest
nothing more than serenity.

they've been loosed before,
releasing all manner of
hosts - from songs in the
night to sighs in the storm.

they've pressed upon the brow of the
child and the hands of the lover alike, each
a blesséd gift from someone who feels
symmetry between the cells of life.

what leisure, then, resides in
her best moments? what wild
specters dance upon her
crown when she is alone?

what does she release to
a blue world, and what does
she retain for the right
receiver of love?

the entirety of her, from
what is seen, is the
beginning of swaying
answers to a watery faith.

there is a desperate certainty
in that visible eye, how
it reveals an absolute
skepticism toward something.

just beyond us, behind this poet,
she sees the accumulation
of a thousand reasons,
a hundred-thousand reasons.

and the darkened eye,
the engulfed eye,
is the one we want to
see, to know what

grand dream is left
in waiting and what grand
dream remains dormant, and
what grand dream is unborn.

she is, in this light,
capable of choosing,
it would seem, an old
place to visit -

in this dissecting light
she is present and
half-past and looks to
no one for answers.

but the eye tells us
she's close to it;
she's approaching that
point, and surely she knows.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

struck, then new

i was struck by the girl whose
visage and whose posture and
whose offered smells were
so violent and so severe
that i forgot everything
about how to behave.

(behave! that terrible
and vexing word that
rinsed from my pores
the real dirt of Truth
and left me so much
dead in youth!)

i was at once, in her
presence, sent back to the
nocturnal leaves of autumn,
to the merciless stations of
deep spring, to the sharp
silver patter of summer rains.

true love hides her engines,
submerged as they ought to
be in a fabric woven with
sincerity, enlightenment,
and the ticklish threads of
amber-dried moonlight.

you don't know love if you can 
put a book to it, you can hum it 
in your head,  if you can decipher 
its glyphs as if chiseled in your 
native tongue on stone-behind-glass.

how i tried to forget her!
how i touched my tongues
to the psalms of hidden angels
so that i might be cleansed of
the taste she left in my
newly vented heart.

i would swear, before i'd met
her, that love was the work of
learnéd hands and not some
primitive magic conjured in
the nighttime of man's minor
chambers.

but she had set loose her continent
of native warriors to my front,
over-running my blood; it was
too late for this dumb body,
who discovered one day that
he'd been soul-marked for good.

it was not her soft-focus
kiss, let's be clear; or
the shy weight of her
hand to my nape, or
the crowning breath upon my
cheek when she smiled.

or the exact breast,
or the enfolded vulva,
or the coy buttocks,
or the obedient thigh,
or the eyes the depth
of a thousand rumors.

it is something you are
struck by, as the
felled tree hammers the
floor and reduces all
things to an exclamation,
then a question, then
a parenthetical.

thus far i've only wondered
from my own arm's distance,
from my own deep chapters,
the meaning of the word,
inscribed as it is with the
hot hand of divine fortune.

never again will i attempt
a run at fate like i did
the day she first stood before
me, talking about the
hum of the winds during
the climax of star-showers.

the old obedience that comes
with age is most vulnerable
in these encounters, and
i'm fixed upon the notion 
that they are as rare as gems 
found in the pockets of fools.

i might search for it -
in fact i have - only to be
put out on my ear into
the cold harbor where
all the other derelict ships
founder on their sides.

i've learned that the splendor 
of a melding union is a gift 
offered when all the cosmos
say yes to you and to it and 
oblivion can be glimpsed in a gesture.

and her gesture was ripe with the
aura of something primitive,
profuse in its boundless calling
and governed by the smallest of
particles that collided with one
another into a frenetic climax of tranquility.

to be loved in such a way
is to be boiled down to the 
bones and resurrected anew,
simple cell by simple cell,
until the heart beats outside
the chest and the blood runs bare.

it's not supposed to be comfortable,
this percussive union; it's not supposed
to lay you down into beds of grace. it's
supposed to prickle and burn and delight
in making you feel in every fiber
the epic expulsion of life's beginning.

i see now, years later,
what she did there:
it was all in her grand
narrative to sketch me
into a pageant of life
secured by her gifts,

to be elevated at once and
for all above the clouds of
the mundane and the grieved,
above the debased attitudes
of simple men, to know that 
life should be life with a lush view.

she enrolled me in joy with
her clever hope-song lyric, securing 
in me a vision of the
stealing vistas of what could
possibly emerge if i chose
to cross her elegant transom.

in recent times i've fallen
out of favor with my own
wonder, stumbling on the
roots of negation, collective
fears and bottomless cups.

love is not a thing of the 
wright, who manufactures
from his hand the great
ongoing war between
life and art, who sweats
upon the chisel and brush.

rather, love is an irreplaceable
exuberance of kisses upon
the brow of a man's narrow
horizon - it exists in and is
consumed by the loyal plunge
into life's unanswerable questions.

it is an inimitable transcendence
upward to her self-ness, to her
embracing desires, within
which you gain an offering
of her spectral flesh, so long
as you keep your eyes closed.

i understand nothing about
your own love, your own
shadowy passions, your own
tumult of faded aggression
toward intercourse  
with a him or a her.

i only know that i was
once, years ago now, an ordinary
creature full of the dire
foils of man, and that
when she came upon me
it was with a new breath,

a new countenance,  a new
flavor to the tongue, a new
pressure to the skin, a new
convention of faith, a new
torrent of vitality, a new
fine excuse for being me.

Friday, February 8, 2019

swing


she wears galaxies of memorabilia
upon the dangerous hip; adorned
as if awakened at night in order
to hover through the day.

the psychic factions of her limbs
can and will call forth a sort of
sheer fabric of passion and i am
obliged toward such ornaments,

with which i find the causal
bruises of her strengthened agency:
she swings in a hair-knotting wind
of forced attention, for example.

or escapes upon the sway of
life-sized wings that are cambered
by the velocity of blasts that toss
her body back and away.

i have urges in sleep that become
perhaps the bone in a dangerous
mouth, how they are strange clots in 
the blood stream of my otherwise quiet.

i have no control of it. (meaning, the
motion of her.) or rather, the gravity
of the swing's prayer-like pendulum-pull,
its significant finality of cause.

the effect is stupendous and scary
at once: the blank forwardness of
her travel; the tonguing way it laps
at the ridge of my weakening field.

so my position becomes a thing
of uneven sky beneath a watery
earth and i am left primitive in
my new approach to her want.

i say i need, but really it is all
a pure swaggering thrum of
unspent investment in time
caught upon a canopy of fright.

this here is rare oxygenated
lightning. it is fresh departure.
it is irrigated conscience. it is
misspent sweat of the thighs.

it is a beautiful destination
toward which my arms betray
my eyes, my legs betray my
mouth, my heart betrays god.

a full-hearted rain on the roof
cannot compare to the malice
of a swing when occupied by
a soul searching for rebellion.

dear god have i tried. how i
have governed my impulses
in one fashion for years, to
see it all spin out to fortune.

the attempt must be swallowed
and regurgitated so that the 
soul can eat nourishment from
a bowl of oblivious nectar...

i come back always-ever to
a place of standing to aping
shame and the royalty that
comes with no crown.

heaven is searched in these
moments as i negotiate the
swing: to pray to find the
apex, to pray to find my grasp.

when in truth i have no
leverage against something
so violently shoved and so
dutifully kept as a soul

wanting to escape from me;
unache for me;
break from me;
in the name of love.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

knowing

i'm done with the
vibrant glow of the
bulb in the night
and how i relied
upon it to speak
to me when
clamoring to safety.
the dark did not
change my trajectory
inasmuch as the light
stole from me my compass.
and the fear i felt at
times was never vanquished
by anything more than
when i closed my eyes.
i don't reach out in the dark
anymore, but rather plunge
forth into it, eyes shuttered,
with knowing in my heart.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

she delves





she delves and i am bitten
by the frost clinging to the eaves
of all these men who told me 
her place was held fast.

she dives down and down
and i am watching the 
gravity of life suck
her into a purple void.

i am a weak stitch,
unbroidered at once
by the fallacies of
the politicians of faith;

so much so that blood
comes from the eyes and
tears from the throat;
i am a spent coin at last.

what she wants is what she
cannot see without the
abridgment of her prison sentence.

and lately i've played a fool,
conjuring the specters of 
worst-worn scriptures i'd
memorized in youth.

how they told me i am the
first and the last, and she
the second moon in an orbit
of dying stars;

how her vehicle was driven
softly along a gilded path 
and that i was to be her
captor with a small net.

the policy of the unquestioned
elders implied that her 
womb was a place of sacrosanct
harmony with their god,

and that from the dawn of eve,
she was to suffer the depravity
of the unsalted sea and weep
tears of joy for everything not hers.

i delivered her evidence, her
blue truth, in buckets filled
with the oils of distrust and
maleficent good-knowing.

i imparted from my ego the
episodes of reconciliation
one makes when the heavens
of the forgotten are closed up.

i never said no. i don't say no.
i never said can't. i don't say can't
but i idled in my stupor, drinking
in her benevolence like a dog.

and i pissed on her pride the
day i forgot to let her free;
shit on her love the day
i did nothing but sit there and smile;

the smile of the drunken
fool who winks at the prophets
and tells himself he's the 
master of all that he sees.

can you not hear that thunder 
in the ephemeral distance,
that sings with the voice of
the lost and the flutes of Eros?

she loves. she loves from her 
plundered bosom, giving up her
flesh and her latitudes and her
fine, silk, aromatic tempers,

so that i may crouch in an 
un-man's fear, huddle in a boy's
peppered hubris, cower in a
long shadow of selfsame service.

i am all out of hope when
i see her bring the fog home,
and she drifts and drifts and 
clamors for the side of her ship

like that, her fingertips
bleeding from the ridicule
of the ignorant and the 
intelligent, who don't get it.

she is on a journey without
a path, an affront to my 
foolish male sensibilities,
which require a map.

i am shouting!
i am shouting
at the mirror
at my cold, senseless self.

that i missed her
meteor is such blindness; 
that i allowed myself to
labor under the sugar of fools;

that i listened to the drool
of men who required of me
their undivided attentions, but 
divided me from my epic truth.

i'm writing this while drunk
on the music of my youth;
inside tearing to shreds the
patently stupid words of priests.

she delves and i am bitten
by the frost clinging to the eaves
of all those men who told me 
her place was held fast.

she dives down and down
and i am watching the 
gravity of life suck
her into a purple void.

she deserves what she wants,
that's really the thing of it.
and i must keep water in the well
from which i must wash her

new-soiled feet, the feet with
which she walks her thousand miles
away from what she was, and 
toward what she is,

so that she comes back to me,
a better fool for her,
a better fool for love,
a better me

Sunday, January 27, 2019

cigarette and faith

i gave a homeless woman
a cigarette on a street corner
while on a walk yesterday
to say hello to my lover;
it was an idle impulse.
she said i had the most
gorgeous lips, this woman,
whose jamaican nouns were
weighted under the lubrication
of a beer she held in one
hand, the fingers of which
looked liked the thin
horizon of a widowed desert.
she could not light the
cigarette so i offered,
and handed it back and
she said she was saving up
for a trip back home,
which i chose to believe
because i want to use
her in a story some day.
my friends will say i did
this for my ego - the giving
and lighting of a cigarette
to a woman without a home.
and to them i will blush
and smile down the long
tunnel of their knives and
look at my feet.
let us argue, though, for the
sake of it, and say i did do
it for my ego. when i am alone
i don't do well
and can feel the sap of
the tree in my veins and
i become a vagrant dog
at the heels of bitter secrets.
my mineral power goes dim,
you see? - the voltage drains;
the fuses of my inner column
become dry thistle in a gale.
there are naked rooms in my
soul, i suppose, that accept
only trespassers and those from
my past who've been maligned
by the exercise of my ego,
so i let them remain there
to scratch at the walls and
piss on the floor.
when i am alone i pester
the fruit on the branch;
i foil good commerce with
the old suffering of the pale;
i hide behind the smallest
stones, licking away the salt
and whispering to the void
some inane song about loss.
i am weakest when i don't
have in my glass jar the
presence of some other
extremity, as if i am an
unsingular being whose
engine is fueled by the
self-blood of others and the
wayward wind of their eyes.
earth's rumor has it that i am
sick with hope-trembled shades;
that i am at odds with the
contentment of the loved;
that i am in bitter contact with
my less primal and that all i
give is what i am assured will
be taken with both hands.
there is a malignant insistance
that i find who i am in the mouths
of my betters; that i'd rather stay
on the hip of the green-blue coast
than swim out; that i am a threat
to the fabric of my own truth
for the sake of keeping the
balance within my humid air.
so it is my ego, to be sure. the
imperially dressed; the secretary
to my wanton stomach; the vague
harbor master; the immersed scar.
but anyway...
the jamaican woman, who held
her beer can as if it were the crown
of the blessed angel, who could not
look me in the eye for more than a second,
said she loved me as i walked on,
motionless in my steps toward
what i believed were the grand
institutions of happiness and joy
- down a cold sidewalk,
thinking
what of it, my ego...
i am here, my friends are not

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

aperture

my brother said,
he said:
- about the cleavages of
religion and its crowns-of-thorn
swagger and its impoverishing hues -
'i believe in god
but not God; it's
nobody's business
what i believe in'
there was always a red
gem in his mouth when
he talked about the
protrusions of faith,
how they herniated and
metastasized into the
hardened stones of
shaded, casting-down silences.
how the spokespeople
of that particular brand
of BOGO magic were
the salt of the deadened
and cast men like
him from the gardens
of their own skin and
banished real Truth.
'i mean...i believe in a
lot of things,' he would
go on, spooning out to
me his new-old poverty.
'the Celts. the Pagans. the
Native Americans. the
Christians...' he would trail
off, thinking of others to
moisten his argument.
i would listen while he
waved his hands
and sipped his beer and dragged
his cigarette across our secrets.
we grew up in the same
yellow seafoam of
hymns and overspreading
glories-be and throbbing prayers.
and while i had found ounces
of wonder and joy in
the bedrock of our
family's church -
had found a ripe
wind among the souls
there with people who'd
burned their acres for a
view to answers -
he had grown calloused
early, his feet pricked
by coals and his hands
tied together by foreign tongues.
his version of those days
were calcified by an endless
voyage outward in search
of the master of his confusions
so that, later in life,
he came to feel god-not-God
in what he could smell
and taste; what he could
breathe in with his own eyes.
it was no surprise to me
then that the pale pebbles
of long-away ancestors, who'd
frolicked under the stars and
sang to the wind, found their
way into the pockets of
his soul and within the underthings
of his fragrant dreams.
he was fore-bent that way from
birth; always had a dark
grandeur in the manner in which
he stole the galleries of hurt faces.
his mantel was firm in
its place from conception;
his mark was that of a
man of inexhaustible refuge.
'fuck.
if i want to read the bible,
i will read the bible. if I
want to go outside naked and
dance and shout at the moon, i will.'
he had what i wanted:
a singular delirium of endless
flowers unkept in a striated glass
vase on a sill;
a bald wink at the fires of
hell and a thirst for a glacial
voice that boomed and
cleaved the contemptuous.
he had muscular glory in all
the things i was taught were white avenues to damnation: hammer-pride, sexual fury, profane histories.
i wanted for his open mouth,
his believing star, his volume,
his soft-cold-rain humor,
his aperture opened to the pages
of his own scriptures.
he said,
my brother said to me:
'have a beer'
and i blushed no thanks
'suit yourself'
he smirked and lit
another cigarette and told
me here as in other times later,
'you're just afraid.'

Friday, January 18, 2019

to friend

my elegant, pastoral find;
my storied discovery
among the leaves of the
naked:
how truth may thunder
in the temples
when one stumbles
upon your smoothed stone.
the bloodroot of eternity
resides within the
finding of you and
spreads to all corners.
with some, it just comes
as naturally as the
orbit of the moons
around their mothers
and you fall up to
a fine grace together
to make the joining of
two lonesome nobles,
in a quest toward
the inner organs of
faith and kinship that
surpasses mere association.
when it comes -
truly arrives -
there becomes a
vital new luster
to the old star
rebirthed by the
collision of two
dreamy atoms.
how? how can it
be that a voltage,
vast in its
sovereignty,
be so captured
in a fleeting moment,
be so sent and received
in such precision but
with such dizzy
randomness, that all
of the universe would
have to be complicit?
hearts live in a chilled
world most of the
time, occupying
a firmament of ice,
making such a union
a deep, heated,
cosmic rapture of
fidelity to aimlessness.
we harbor subterranean
hopes and wants,
wishing against the wind
that we get what we pray for,
but a conjoining of souls
who've before danced
alone is the beginning
of divine symmetry.
you eat the words they
give you. you lick
the flavors of their
passion from cups.
you thick-and-thin
hold in contempt
the acrobatics of all
the fools you've suffered.
you lie together in
sweet foliage, breathing
in the sky and her
lovers.
you echo in darkness
all their utterances,
all their gestures, all
their looks in the eye.
you kindle, you enmesh,
you enthread, you
finger the top of
their lamentable reef.
you give them out
and prise open their
heads with your
softest teeth.
you forgive the mark
on the skin that
bears the name
of certain enemies.
you have a new
latitude of snow
and wind that sketches
across the gloom.
you banquet together
at a feast of
teeming stars and
hapless demi-moons.
you know what
knowing means
and shed all
expectations of gravity.
the sacred mother-child
comes to mind when
considering such a
trembling, quiet freedom.
how it is to be
at once a passage to
relic love and the
modern face.
to have this in its
wholeness is to
carry the empire on
one's heart-brow
and see oneself afresh.

Monday, January 14, 2019

i could sleep

i could sleep
inside the homes
of abandoned
goodness
i could fly
outside the rays
of given
apologies
i could wish
without the need
for angry
demonstrations
i could swim
beneath the howl
of laughing
moons
i could plead
toward the face
of selfsame
awareness
i could pray
within the chasm
of all lightness
renewed
i could say
everything on
a straight line
without your care
or write what
comes to me
in the best sense
rebroken
just to ensure
that meaning comes
from the tongue not
the eyes

Saturday, December 15, 2018

the bed

the bed is not
made where
they laid last night,
the covers holding
the passions like
air in the lungs
and i stand there
in a state of staring.
the next morning
came, of course,
the next conversation
over coffee came,
the next movement
around each other came.
i remind myself
of my worst self,
how the fullness of
life evaporates into
sin sometimes.
my lover and her
lover here in
this epic solitude;
i smell their serious
versions.
and i pretend to
not play with
pretense as the
light of the day is
shunned by a
drawn curtain.
or the bags on
the floor hold
within them the
story of another
calling.
or the carpet
upon which their
bare feet have
padded echoes
with secretive sounds.
or the pillows
dance askew and
and say the words
said in the balance
or counter-balances.
or the empty
bottle bans me
from tasting the
salt of lips.
this is a church
in its magnificent
silence and towering
prayers said in the dark.
what is so
unrecognizable
here?
the tangible is
not a metaphor
any more than
the river is when
i stand in it
up to my knees.
it is an
object to action
separation, really;
it is holding
no new hand,
kissing no new
lips, it is swallowing
no new windy word.
it is a bed
in a quiet room
and harbors no ill
will toward light
or dark; holds
no malice toward
head or heart.
i leave less
grieved and walk
among Douglas firs
and bowed birches
that have looked
down upon these
lovers with no more
affection and gratitude
than they do for me.
and in the bed
the covers remain
and the world outside
is moving and the next
morning came, of course,
the next conversation over
coffee came, the next
movement around each
other came.
with me.

Friday, December 14, 2018

lovely receiver

my blanched smile,
scalded to slip off the
outer skins that have kept
me away.

i sit near a drafty
door in order that i
may calm the new fever;

the cold coming from
beneath the crack
is a spectral wash
in her reaching up-toward.

where is the calm
quiver i've come to
love so much,

but in the invitation
of your timid smirk,
your peculiar increase?

the pearl is there
waiting when my
lovely receiver sends
herself unguarded.

now there's an invitation
to lurk at her door,
peer into the color of grace

(or the sea, which
gives and takes likewise;
flowing with the lull of tides.)

say something here of
the predicate of good love,
i tell myself,

but come up empty-headed,
weak with the exertion
and lowered in my humility.

when you find someone
who receives you, you
have unearthed the stones
of the gods,

and the white-bright
pageantry of gifts
purchased by the balance
in the universe.

because, really, when
one receives one gives
if the intention is there.

to make oneself
vulnerable as the
conquered land -

to make oneself
inside-out and
exposed as the autumn
maple -

to make oneself
hold back the head
and put forth the heart -

is the mark of
a lovely receiver
who is free to fall
and fall fully.

Monday, December 10, 2018

a road, at night, cold


i have a lover,
mutable in her dress
and bra, sitting
there with the
countenance of
the goddess of chance,
fate and fortune.

my lovely
tyche, she weeps
and then smiles
and goes back to
weeping, while
outside there is
something moving.

i would have her
held while holding
her; have her
loved while
loving her; have her
sung to while i
sing alone.

we met at the light
that cut the path
of darkness, caught
each other on an
intersecting plane;
a slice to the hands
and we bled together.

i am in her, as
much as she is in me.
our chambers are
guilty with it: this
passion of the deep
and willing limitations
of the flesh.

yet there is more.
always more; and
when you love a soul
you say to the rest
of the world that no
one thing can undo
the mystic's work.

she is in her winter
now; the dream-state
that calls for the
long-coming resurrection
so long as
i let the beauty lie
and not disturb the soil.

the Mother has taken
her in again, like every
year, and i stand alone,
waiting for the enslavement
to end so that i can
dance in her fields
soon.

i stand on a road, at
night, my feet
frozen to ghosts and
thoughts that won't
have leave of me, so
i must talk to myself
aloud, shaking.

the sky at night is
a friend of this type
of pass over, when
a man is yelling at
himself, at the woods,
at the unsolvable
sentence he's been given.

why must i push against
the evolution of lovers
when i accept the passing
of seasons? they are no
different, really. a violent
circle that rotates in
the womb of the Mother.

i have a lover,
mutable in her dress
and bra, sitting
there with the
countenance of
the goddess of chance,
fate and fortune.

my lovely
tyche, she laughs
and then sighs
and goes back to
laughing, while
outside there is
something moving.

cast my body into
the best of this night;
broaden my eyes to
let it fall upon me;
feel the presence of
god in the spark that
glows in her bosom

as she lies there,
buried in the Mother,
resting and curled
up, waiting for the
rise; accepting her
evolution, waiting for
the indisputable.

while this man stands
in his cold feet and
yells at the stars and
tells himself that all
good things loved are
best felt when loved things
are left to love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

let lovers leave


this clearest-stated, calmest-kept
place within my deepest mind
woke upon where life had slept
and left my fears therein to find

let lovers leave as they would want
in knowing they'll return to you
let go the rooms that fears will haunt
and all the gods you thought you knew

there's something good in the decay
of life's conventions held too fast
by those of you who'd wish away
the only thing that's meant to last

i'd rather that my lover be
nothing more than what she should
returning to imperfect me
in such a splendid, cluttered wood

Thursday, November 15, 2018

hold the balance


hold the balance of the
hours in one palm,
and with your
dirty knuckles go
into the world.

moonlight havens
and sunrise gravity
can be wretched things when
you're infused with darkness,

so be the nearest
star and skim
the surfaces of
lakes on your
quest for love.

there are salts of passion
in all things, and
the trick is to ameliorate
every taste of this life
with the tongue of the heart.

you have your father's
sense of lost direction;
the wanderlust of a boy
racing away from the
fevers of a thousand marks

left on perilous skin
by the lashing barbs
of the wicked and cold
wingless fools.

how are things?
how are things in the
eyes of a boy who
loses sight of the
footsteps of poems?

to be standing with you
in the upswing of your
glorious springtide is the
ascension of good souls.

i have dreams about you
and how your cells were
different, and how your blood
was different, and how your
first vision was that of another
father.

i can't fathom the depth
of that loss! to think
that you could have come
dancing into another
man's life! not my son.

i am cold without
your comfort; a bleak
waterless tide; a sound
of wasted wailing against
a tripping wind.

to my thinking - the
thinking of a smaller
man - you are the fingers
on the grass, the singing
bird in his branch; the
taste of green.

make still any tempest
and climb from within
your wildly beating
wings and solidly craving
soul to meet me.

you are the son of a
man who paints with
a feather upon the
canvas of joy and pain
and are the bright ink
therewith.

so:

hold the balance of the
hours in one palm,
and with your
dirty knuckles go
into the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

she said


i'll tell you what she
said to me once,
spoken from her slender
current, the one that runs from
top to bottom:

she said -
          and i relay this
          as a boy would
          because i was a
          boy when she
          said it

she said -
          and i find myself
          of a changed mind
          these days, reflective
          as onyx-colored ice

she said -
          and by no means
          should you, my friend,
          feel the least bit imposed
          upon to be quieted

she said -
          and this was at a time
          of lots of turbulent records
          playing in my brothers'
          bedroom upstairs

she said -
          and i am as diminished
          as dust blown from the
          corners of long lived-in
          rooms made of sand

she said -
          and truth be told,
          i was one never so
          possessed by the flavors
          of love as i am now

she said -
          and i recognize the
          sin-stained look on
          your brow when you
          smiled at your hands

she said -
          and we had a wonderfully
          lunatic german shepherd
          at the end of our road that
          chased kids on bikes

she said -
          and it was in the summer
          of the year my oldest brother
          left for college and took all
          of his albums and his long shadow

she said -
          and i am leaving out the most
          purulent parts of this life;
          the parts in which there was much
          crying, because they came a bit later

she said -
          and outside the heat did
          a dance of solitude with a
          good enough breeze that
          i could feel in the eyes

she said -
       
she said -

          "stop crying. you'll be ok"

          and that rank flavor
          of blood from my tongue,
          and the rash-burn down
          one arm, and the skinned-
          swollen knee, and the
          fucking bike that bucked me
          off, and the laughing sister,
          and the holy hymns thumping
          down from my brother's room,
          and the german shepherd who
          got in the way ...

she kissed away with coveted words

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

you look at me like


you look at me like
you're looking at an approaching
storm that

growls across the horizon,
the colors of godawful
bruising and retiring embers.

so i whisper something into
your neck, perhaps a prayer
to the moon and her lover;

something about wanting
or about will or about the
salt of passion in tears.

we lovers all begin with something
to die toward; it's the bellows of the
heart that keep it stoked.

my kingdom for the keys
that would unlock these manacles;
the fetters of my soul-sinews,

that i might release
myself from the Mother and
into the harmony of free-life.

i don't like the strangers
in our town, with their half-closed
faces and shattered hands,

but i'm not pure so i will sit
in silence and beg forgiveness
'til the day they die;

or swallow the hemlock blood
of the best people i've known and
be done with it.

love is edible and her consumption
is a rite of all the warm-blooded
fools who dare.

it props you up and splits rocks
and draws venom from blood and
expands eyes to the point of being crazed.

i look at you like
i'm looking at the beginning
of a wave

that growls on the horizon
of the sea, the colors of
fallen sky and doomed angels.

you're not supposed to
be made sense of like
an algebraic cloud of sand.

and that's been my mistake,
(i apologize)
but you're too beautiful.

so i ask for your mercy;
that you break the rules
of natural law for this one time

and allow me the chance to
love you with the power
and uncertainty of blind yearning.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

i want wondrous moments


i want wondrous moments
of half-holy corners
cleaved into glass; with your
splintered shafts of errant
radiation now beacons well-spread.

i would grieve in my words often,
how weak they became
in the face of your
tempest eyes and
heated host.

i could not find the
words i needed to
disallow the things
i had feared lost
that were never departed.

so.

i want wondrous escapes
beneath the canopy of
your longest horizon;
to let fall the rain and the
fire of that beating organ.

so that we might meet
in every way and smile
at the stars that have
chosen us as friends like
fingers within fingers:

the hysterical strength
of the moon on her
beloved child is how this
started after all, and now
her tears are pure petals.

so.

i want wondrous anecdotes
from your fine lips and into
my palms breathed at a
distance no greater than
the thought of a lit candle;

so that once spoken i
can shift my mind to
better, more elegant
answers to the foolish
questions about life;

holding the balance
between us two in
such close proximity
that your faith is felt
in the pulse of my eyes.

so.

i want wondrous moments
of half-holy corners
cleaved into glass; with your
splintered shafts of errant
radiation now beacons well-spread.

i won't break nor bend,
really, now that i know
that you are sitting here
in my company and
casting gently toward me.

telling me, in your own
small-voice way

that you love me.