Ever and Anon
Your fear burns white hot,
right at the spot where your skin
did not touch mine.
So let me tell you all about myself—
about red suns that rose, that set on
the literature of my childhood, on
dreams of running away to live in the woods,
and about all the continua i had to fold
just to find you, you plot device I will use
in another tepid story
that I will not write.
I have trapped you
in the blank white page.
I define myself today
in theories on thoughts and underwear,
(what color is yours?)
the facades that nobody sees, that
I wear like my tobacco hypotension. I am
all vascular falterings, but the blood still shows
in tiny beads
on my cracked white knuckles.
There are many whites—this one
you would wear
like a virgin’s cocaine habit.
The cardinal does not leave for winter; with it
I will streak bright red, all crest and feather,
across frosted backyards.
I cannot leave them silent.
I will speak to every
quiet thing I find.
Waking Up on Your Sofa
These are the red octobers,
The months that unfurl like a matador’s blood,
And are gathered up in private cups,
Each man a personal
Caesar, and each a private
For two nights behind a stone I
Stayed awake, because I
Had no more to give you than sleep, and I
Woke with a conviction that withered
In the sun’s content, and molted like an addiction.
Morning found your fingers buried in my bloody wrist, and mine
Inside the morning mist—you
Love me when I’m not sober, and
Bitch, I’m back out my coma.
Frater Ronald was a great man, you say—your
Nightly routine, a movie to relax.
You want me on top, you say,
But we can’t both be—your
Morning routine, a reckless need to dominate,
To get me tearing at the walls
Like the people in their chains—Oh the flourish
With which you defund public transportation,
Your motorcade tinted and
American made, though perhaps leaking antifreeze.
Can you feel it trickle down?
No, the inaugural date lingers your desires,
A December moon overhead which looks
Like the face of a clock and shouts, hands bound,
To comfort, “And all’s well!”
Carter now sits halfway off-stage,
Contorted in the penultimate violence of true theater. Sing,
O Muse, of the rape of his solar panels, the weeping
And gnashing of teeth as the great
Obelisk shot shadow on the streets.
He sins who wastes his seed on the ground,
He the tree-hugger, naive in political nakedness,
His skin running mercury below that
December moon, a trapezoid
On half the bed above which he kneels,
And this the advent of Reagan incarnate
Once again, a scandal and a winning smile.
By Way of Proof
I’m calling to collect, concede concern,
exploit and disregard apologies.
There are no sorries left, no water fetched,
no tumbling after broken crowns, and down
these hills I’ll plummet, still contrite, or limp,
or lying all the way. The debt remains,
a debt these limbs will leave unpaid again.
Instead, attrition tenders credit’s claims,
in tendon and in spid’ring bones, the wrist,
in fingers’ sins, the fungal sex of dirt,
or cartilage. You owe me for my sweat,
and for the cells you’ve stolen scratching. A
sincerely untold doubt is written there,
in epithelial loss and potting soil,
in unstill space, still air still being filled
with color and your hips’ conjecture still
so absolute, and killed—so fucking dead.
With tendons sore (and aching to remind:
the mind is only strong because the hand
can bear the force), I told you I did not
believe in falling. Maybe I believe
in jumping; maybe I believe in sounds
of bodies splattering upon the ground.
These suburban lawns are a different cliche altogether,
perfect in their imperfection—look:
all the brown patches the same shade,
sod in surrender to sun,
gold paling to white, and green held fleetingly in gold
as we fall from the center,
each prostrate before purples
of typewriter ink—read:
And the ashtray’s gray and brittle silk exhaust
(we’ve written off the loss) is fading into languid grace,
delicate and dead,
snake-skinned dusty gases overhead, these threads
I watch damp airlines pull from cumulus, kernels pop and
yellow over campfire sun,
the jet-wash and the UV’s done
with bleaching fencepost tragedies—one I recall:
gone for ice cream in the evening steam, we were high and someone said,
"after a storm, there is drama in the sky." Stage lights down.
This yankee town is blanketed
in a speck of darkened page, a serif borrowed
from 1968, and with one vowel key
being depressed deliberately, it’s sent
lavender and salmoning, pinking down to fuchsia now and
violeting, indigoing, black—each another track
laid out parallel to cool, as
far below, I’m walking up a hill.
the land undulates.
God Forgives, I don’t
The trap pervades.
Between the 808 and casio snare,
time counts presidents, five (doctrine) and twenty (lasagna),
and space bags; feel the air pulled from inside you,
dying on a wrought
escape, -isms to find and to file
away—no, records to drop, no,
rock to move, TEC and open I with which to sleep,
rich to get or trying to die, lean to drink and stand to take—an
over the shoulder glancing piss.
Elegy for What
We’ll gather soon, we two,
lay flowers at the cenotaph
a chisel named “last year.”
Hair to hips as flowers now become
to slightly greening granite talks
of mutations, likely atavisms;
I’ll say in mustered measurement,
"a reading from the book still blank
you gave me for my birthday.” Or was it Christmas
and I’ll pontificate on some typically
half-assed soteriology, on bottom-lip topography
that’s grown dramatic as two plates converged,
as glaciers backed like bangs off foreheads,
scarring chasms now too wide to cross, and rock
now caving down, now buckling up and up and now too steep to climb,
especially since I took up smoking.