Sunday, June 5
decidedly, you lose altitude. 'descending,'
as you had predicted, 'into the heat of delhi.'
the plane's monitor shows it quite clearly, the
desert bird whose wings are made from sand,
backboned by mountains.
you: conduct geometry on a sphere, crossing
the earth in a curve.
Monday, October 11
sort of heaven:
- humans don't so much shatter
as come apart.
- "they don't love their children."
- daughters, now, receiving
the send off, not coming home in
boxes, not enough to be
- sentries. walkers that go
any where, watchers that
suspend in black a motif of eyes.
within the shroud, a shroud. an eye.
within the shroud a ticking heat.
(You assemble a percussive beat, which
is not the heart's beat, but rushes in
the blood all the same)
You do not think these things. You
Unthink. Hands' fingers follow
Gravity; hands on knees draw the
Line of the eye you cannot
Look away from.
You begin to envy -
"who then can love" - Rilke.
But hypocrisies - Catullus
Lied and you caught the
Disc of it years too late -
Only the alone can truly know
The tremble of field before plow -
At the edge you are, the field's
Edge, the flower-falling edge.
Thursday, July 8
The last night's night spent gritting your teeth.
A glint of smile. Something
about his mouth around his smile captivated you. You
Outside wind makes motion sinusoidal, rippling the
structure of things.
He in his house. You on your side.
Wednesday, June 30
No wonder someone was able to fall in love with the word.
It falls from your mouth like edict.
The life of your words when you aren't speaking them.
What deeds you do when you don't pay mind.
He extended his key
and it turned the lock
and fit the lock of a place
90 miles further away.
(That is what you learned today from the paper's wedding announcement.)
9 years ago, you are waking up unaccustomedly early to watch the news
and you see dust fall from buildings in advent of war.
9 years later, the man takes your shoulders in between his palms to contain you.
Someone else notices with precision your sad demeanour.
'Don't pick up the glass,' you say, as he comes silently to your aid.
'I like to do that.'
Sunday, March 7
In the late evening, I sat propped,
tilting my head so the refuse of water ran, evaporatingly
Spoke to my self the whole night --
Measured the fall of snow.
Remembered to unarm anger
(I taught him what he knows,
the several-atoms-thin facing of me.)
Inward movement impossible.
We spected, politely, on outsides.
I tried to lower myself out of love with the same ease.
Drank and thought to appeal to him, dear object.
broke through the old anger like puncturing a skin.
Thursday, December 10
Even as an official said, "[Obama's] bowing before the Emperor of Japan was an act of courtesy; his bending over backwards for China was an act of appeasement," you cannot help but laugh and remember him, our young American president. Star-struck, for all of his experience, bowing to awkward depths like a marionette and smiling broadly, the strength of his back stretched gingerly at us.
Because that man, he is
The Emperor is very old. A dignified oak, he, with no need of polish; he has been ingesting a calm grace from boyhood. It is somehow endearing to watch that."
Sunday, November 22
Monday, November 9
From the hall, a smell of cooking intrudes,
wraps around the room and bed linens -- in other houses,
fixtures are bolted stoic and revealing nothing.
Two women smoking quietly.
From the balcony.
See the framed us:
a family of two eating children:
one boy one girl the father drinking tea the mother
going from one to the other, the white dog watching like a
whitedog clock on the wall.
When I finish shifting my eyes, you disappear.
Jars of fruits steeped in alcohol reclaim
for themselves shelves.
I retrieve my trickeries.
What you have, I have the lesser of it.
Thursday, August 20
Jugs of methyl blue. Paint over all the walls. Women
sit cross-legged, Indian-style, in suits of the same.
Long arms Oriental eyes Kohl.
If I wrap my ribs around, it will keep me unseen.
I fit to cardboard, memory. Old newspaper,
tanned skins, the cured skins of animals.
I don't do anything for the love of it. I make
pennies. I make money, a binder of books.
Monday, August 10
Wednesday, March 4
Tuesday, February 3
lights effuse, having been strung from limbs of trees.
You cannot find in the straight backs of men, the clean cut of men
on any street the modicum of him. The ocean you have left
carries you with inertia, always
tugging in the inner ear, the seahorse horseshoe bones of it.
the singularity, then, that
opened up, the pinpoint bloom of lead and things heavier than lead
would pull him in
as you troll the streets in which you imagine --
thinking of the man as krill.
in the artful current, ground flows down.
and the river leans blue. the sky twists around sun in pulled-wool turns.
lurid colours of pink and green, the whip-hearted seeds.
the parabolic flow of things only part of the physics we are seeing, the
truncated orbit of falling things
universe of a single walnut,
me, every morning
i walk past the trees loosening leaves in the corridor of that street
which doesn't rhyme, shoe beats and museum-piece
children echoing each other-like
noise follows a flat-palmed hand.
the pavement freckled with a fat rain, offal of
trees rubbed level by heel, wheel until they've settledlike
spots of black white dalmation, how curious. one peers__
gum, scores of it. moulded by teeth into a flat fate.
in speaking of the kiss, two hands meet each other's fingers.
something akin said - (behinddoors and instairwells translates to passion she says)
speaking of things, men and women things, the meetings, all of them i tell her
all the times i kissed i never asked permission we never spoke, just went for each other like -
went for each other's--
Tuesday, November 25
A morning train from Valdemoro --
Why have they turned them on?
Nothing like darkness
to soothe the fog,
the vision that climbs the hills
of each stranger's face
and attempts escape through a window.
The car is now
a compartment of eyes:
Pinto, San Cristobal,
Clear, wet ribbons
cut down by the sky.
A vein-work of yellow fields on the glass,
The harder it rains,
the more you learn about distance.
On either side two men
are speaking Russian.
Here is Lorca's "After a Walk," from which I've taken a line.
After a Walk
Cut down by the sky.
Between shapes moving toward the serpent
and crystal-craving shapes
I'll let my hair grow.
With the amputated tree that doesn't sing
and the child with the blank face of an egg.
With the little animals whose skulls are cracked
and the water, dressed in rags but with dry feet.
With all the bone-tired, deaf-and-dumb things
and a butterfly drowned in the inkwell.
Bumping into my own face, different each day.
Cut down by the sky!
Friday, October 10
The almond tree, the flower from underneath the almond tree
by that fence, the stone fence
It blew and upturned like sea plants
like hands and bowls asking
The almond tree in spring.
I bathed in almond oil and milk, skin
inned the little red tub
when I was a child we ran out of soap
My mother she washed my hair out like so
many little galaxies of black, dusted black
She polished me so I gleam-smiled and
broke my teeth on the red walker
Played with sticks of red and black, their meetingsounds
Now if I saw an almond tree in the ground I would not
stop to say it is an almond tree I would
never think to know the flower which grows on it, where
inside the carbon has married an N, that
the carbon inherits the end and I
begin to ignore, eat
the aspic taste I learned in childhood was wrong,
That bitter almonds are spat before the carbons inside poison
the first erring step - inside the grown arsenic
taste lines mouth and twists it like grass leaves breaking
The almond tree. Its flower has five white leaves.
I rather want to call this "The problem of describing trees" but maybe "Envy over other people's poems" is more apt, ha.
Monday, September 29
The earth sign, the negative
treble that is true only inside the mirror of tongue,
It is not true, let it not be true.
not that i've had the time or mind to read anyone lately, but i still find myself sounding out peg boyers often.
Wednesday, August 6
That night, the secret-faced shrine - - fox
god glowing dim, shadow of the cat slinking
from altar to step - - melting
into stone when beckoned.
You don't scare me. I play the game, run
bravado past mouth quietly.
Timid like shoe-sounds.
(By the brief snake, the empty rib bones of red gates.)
The lanterns are not lit but clever
with their paper luck, cut
pictures of horses, pumpkin silhouettes.
Saturday, July 26
Monday, July 7
each other across a path and, eyes
shut, you walk from one to nearly the other,
through the throng of children, on
uneven pavement where bricks are
tiled haphazard like daily trials,
stretching out to where the eye can see nothing
you walk, but the eye cannot help it--it winces
open, breaks the charm.
in the walk from one stone to the other, your wait sinks
resigned into the spring you did not drink:
the time no-longer-yours is let
go guilty from the marble of love, luck
past superstition, clattering
back down the pebble steps to disperse in
rain mountains, shelves of air--
Saturday, July 5
Friday, April 25
Wednesday, April 23
The color of your walls
has no real name.
When I sit on your couch
before the low oblong table
the dark paint, stagnant,
apathetic as mud,
watches from each wide surface.
I play the game of turning
your apartment upside down:
walking up the verticalness
of color, crawling across
the picture frames. I force my hands
into shelf bottoms, scratch
book spines against palms.
Towards the window, parting the
blind slits sideways, the buildings
spear sideways. The cars drive up,
down, and suddenly we are much
lower than ten floors, much higher
than could be allowed --
Feet first, towards the mirror
that hangs over your dinner table.
Your living room multiplied;
Sickness, an obscure shade.
Black, jagged tar pieces
came dropping from the roof
and piled onto the driveway.
A furious pounding above: all day
the heat pressing down on furniture,
breathing through the window screens.
Footsteps of the muscled men,
the giant men, shaking the ceiling,
dragging their boots over our routine:
The blood of an Englishman.
Our cats could smell it from under the beds,
the dust of all our days clogging up
the drains and filling up the rooms,
which have never transformed once --
Not into closets heaped with small radios,
like in some dreams, or into
soundless swimming pools, from which
water disappears, suddenly.
They are as always:
stationary, too old to grow.
No dark attic either for the men to stomp through --
the sun exposing them, browning
their knotted skin with
a harsh, yellow eye.
Tuesday, April 8
When I was real
the moon grew fat.
The broad leaves of the tree hid mothers, light.
In six years, one memory of rain, sieved from
hailstones the size of fists. Ice burst to the ground,
changes every seven years, a water clock
dredging up buildings, billboards, and, once,
the body in sheets by the side of the road we don't come near—
Thursday, April 3
monk, from when he counted notes at vespers
and numbered the fingers
remain arcane as grapes, wood.
no roads arrow, no roman rooms
the little cell knows itself.
remembers a thousand times over, the divide.
on string, beads chase fingers
the inner ear curls inward strict like prayer
Monday, March 31
I wait before the hill.
The others have become dark
figures at the top.
Camera swinging about my neck,
I climb, and the heels of my feet
dig into sand. With my toes
I draw the character for tree:
The landscape relents, and wind
covers it with a gust --
Sweat, gone cold with nightfall. A man
in the distance is saddling his horse,
A quiet couple is shouldering their bags.
At the summit, they are looking up at a chrome moon.
he sits slouched where sun hardens three wide cracks -
on the island the ground yields to no depth.
He takes a plastic spoon and digs the first
hole, and polishes his fingernails white.
Sinking into humus, his feet go last.
Once did the tiller a house
Cut out of weeds;
A thinning, yellow shade,
That covered moss and seed.
It slept and slept; a thought
Grew on the sill;
Like darkened fields a tired room holds
Its curtains still.
- Lizette Woodworth Reese
Now has the wind a sound
Made out of rain;
A misty, broken secretness,
That drenches road and pane.
It drips and drips; a hush
Falls on the town;
Like golden clods an old tree shakes
Its apples down.
Sunday, March 30
In the square of dark window an island
moors places where the hills' slouch ends--
in an echo of wells, dull spoons.
Glass polished in altitude bears
itself up with fronds of water
curling from cold
lit pins. The human pins grow
Monday, February 25
I. hanne darboven
to get out, one follows the
the notes have raised their hands.
in the close, white room
plagues of notes
and the woman
in place of silence i am eye
and cannot help but crinkle.
all day i have been chasing the clean
line___ the window inked
shadow folds the corners into
a room, directing
the white walls, the
Saturday, February 9
pages. bent perfect like a cyclops sunset
or the stones set in spades of threes on
the wall's floor. he
is broken invariably, faceless
the cracked marble exposing.
how holes are hid behind a skin of stones--
[one can almost imagine, as the bent hip insinuates itself inside the eye, his legs attached back at the knee, those arms lost, the head shriven off clean. but i do not wish to see what will disappoint the mind]
Wednesday, January 30
in the room hides
an unwell mind
laundered clothes fester in piles
the chair is plied
has been drunk
in white cups of tea the bitters seep--
brown fingers cradle
where the English have planted their
names like trees
the English have piled into my name,
(the walls stroked in ink)
if you want some exposition: Raj refers to the British Raj.
Tuesday, January 29
defined a shape, but the atom's
edges are uncertain.
the electron comes and goes from node to node.
light lifts and strikes like minute hammers
the girl washing leaves,
the button scored like a mushroom cap:
the dog pricks its quizzical ears--
between you and
me--distance the length of the train
Monday, January 21
I come to the table with questions.
These will be the last, I say,
but on this surface
no voice takes on the task.
Potpourri in gold gift-wrap,
and blocks of imported cheese
uneaten on the black wood.
Next to him her face is animated
and milk-white. He nods in
pantomimed sympathy, his hand
smoothing her nervous leg.
Across the table I am the guest,
watching, my insides bowled over
and body flattened by the reoccurring
mistake. A fever, an infirmity
made pure by sleeping fiction.
I am only sleeping. I know this.
We’ve met here before, with
and without sound, or taste.
I see through his affinity to
Each time is real as day, repeating
the same deferred fact,
gesturing the silent answers.
Monday, January 14
Monday, January 7
I Would Like to Describe
by Zbigniew Herbert
I would like to describe the simplest emotion
joy or sadness
but not as others do
reaching for shafts of rain or sun
I would like to describe a light
which is being born in me
but I know it does not resemble
for it is not so bright
not so pure
and is uncertain
I would like to describe courage
without dragging behind me a dusty lion
and also anxiety
without shaking a glass full of water
to put it another way
I would give all metaphors
in return for one word
drawn out of my breast like a rib
for one word
contained within the boundaries
of my skin
but apparently this is not possible
and just to say - I love
I run around like mad
picking up handfuls of birds
and my tenderness
which after all is not made of water
asks the water for a face
different from fire
borrows from it
a loquacious tongue
so is blurred
so is blurred
what white-haired gentlemen
separated once and for all
this is the subject
and this is the object
we fall asleep
with once hand under our head
and with the other in a mound of planets
our feet abandon us
and taste the earth
with their tiny roots
which next morning
we tear out painfully
Monday, December 24
it sang itself utterly
year after year
on the monkey's face
a monkey's face
am reading this great compliation (edited by robert hass!) of 3 major haiku poets. just finished the matsuo basho section.
can't write; i'm going to stuff myself full of poetry over the break.
any reading suggestions?
Wednesday, December 5
wicking a dirty line
of smoke i drink the wine i take
the pill while with a breath flame
flattens to tongue
mouth flush in spice remembered
the liquor that does
not taste of figs the melon sweet but
empty o --
what could fill
Tuesday, December 4
Thursday, November 29
forging through crisp water
hands slice, sculpt with
quiet pattering -
i'm an underwater thing.
i exhale, taking you
but you are no fish and
sink without ceremony.
(there's a part 2 to this that's bad and emo.)
Wednesday, November 28
He was nowhere to be found,
not even in the [ ] corners
of your head.
He was not he, exactly -
someone else had replaced his absent
stance at the front bar,
closing his face on yours
and mouthing some distraction.
This did not explain
the substitution, you knew it
in the rehearsed moral of the sequence.
He tells you, slowly,
something about unavailability.
He's unavailable for now.
What could that mean?
A message in pieces,
delivered not to you:
how he, the one missing
between episodes of sleep,
found a night to be
stand what the world
didn't say to him,
that it couldn't sing.
He leapt from the N train,
the bridge-junction nowhere
close to home.
Gone in metal, or water,
the way he wanted.
Then, you cried.
Then, you wept until it woke you.
The kind of mourning which
stays, bravely, dry.
Tuesday, November 27
i never write about that which is close- the old grief of being left now and after-- further away.
i do not have her hands; their long, straight fingers. mine curve like sloths around the branch, like fat fruit. i don't have the nose of her father, passed down to her from some roman.
not the close-set hips or impermissible mouth, her porous way of existing.
the road of our genes is not narrow, not arrow-slim.
i am not like her.
Tuesday, November 20
When the dream arrives you
are not ready for it -
fitting the blue sashes around
your mother's wrists at the department store
entering the other place distracted,
the white paint chipping as if
there was nothing there
to look at. Entering the place
and the bed, where a slow peel
of shirt told you this was
too real: the skin, no marks, no taste.
Monday, November 19
prescient proserpina already knows
every day in the meadow
is a wait. hours wander
but her path is sure. straight
stone, she sinks and
captures his hand
guilty of want
as it pulls her down
(she had been hearing the echoes of
his pacing in the long rooms
for some time)