New Poems

After Dickinson I

To Rebecca Burrows

Life is too short to wait for joy—
To hold, as water for tea boils,
To shovel snow or dig up soil,
To wait for music to take flight,
—Joy shall not be shortchanged by life.

Greeting

To Rebecca Burrows

Hello, far-flung friend
Travelling sea and

Air to cloud, to tree
And leaf. I see you

Come and go, then come
And stay, then walk and

Rest. I see you there,
Brightly lit, be day,

Come solitude. I
Wish unto you leaves

Without leave, winter
Without fall.

Swift Tryst, Fleet Trick betwixt Tall Trees, All Pleased

 
N i c h t d e r e r s t p u s e r a n u n d n i c h t d e r l e t z t e
To Emil

Calaïs is brushing his long, flowing hair.
Enter Orpheus, running.
Orpheus lies down on the ground and plays dead.
Calaïs pretends to perform funeral rites on Orpheus.

Orpheus.  My lovely boy, ten thousand times my tease!

Calaïs.  Your lovely boy, ten thousand times your tease!

Orpheus.  Presiding over me, he is above—

Calaïs.  Presiding over you, he is above—

Orpheus.  My lovely boy, ten thousand times my tease!
Presiding over me, he is above.

Calaïs.  Your lovely boy, ten thousand times your tease!
Presiding over you, he is above.

Orpheus.  My lovely boy, ten thousand times my tease!
Presiding over me, he is above;
Beholding me, he always seeks to please—

Calaïs.  Your lovely boy, ten thousand times your tease!
Presiding over you, he is above;
Beholding you, he always seeks to please—

Orpheus.  My lovely boy, ten thousand times my tease!
Presiding over me, he is above;
Beholding me, he always seeks to please,
While down below I feed to him my love.

Calaïs.  Your lovely boy, ten thousand times your tease!
Presiding over you, he is above;
Beholding you, he always seeks to please.
While down below you feed to him your love.

Enter jealous women of Thrace, running. Calaïs hides.
The women rain sticks and stones upon Orpheus.
They tear Orpheus limb from limb.

Exeunt women.

Calaïs collects Orpheus's entrails and begins to build a funeral pyre.

Calaïs.  Your lovely boy, ten thousand times your tease!
Presiding over you, by sun I'm blest;
Beholding you, I'll always seek to please,
And feed upon your love until I rest.

Dream of Fisherman's Husband

To Emil

Language is perishable skill.
It fades during day; it's like
Thunder at night. Night itself

Is semiaccurate. It brings
To bear this most precious of
Our commodities, time.

It turns to solace loneliness,
Pulls question marks from
Perimeters or peripheries—

No dimeter for gay revelry,
No limiter for frail memory—
Only tender calm of universe.


Sleep is for those who are weak.
(New habitat breeds new habits).
I must die man, in the arms of man,

So that, in one great yowl, I can
Measure distance between
φαλλός and ὀμφαλός,

And then rest, catching this
Unmetrical rise of your breath
On apostate wind.


    You toy with fire, sir, for deep in this coarse breast,
    Pulsates soft heart of princess, fast asleep,
    Within thick coats of bear fur clothed and cloaked.

    But what then if my Janus soul is stripped
    And, unprovoked, down to its bones undressed?
    Would I awake—rough bruin or mild baroness?


No light within this street, no life.
One drink imbibed with dinner
Makes stars foreign.

I walk bewitched by planetoids,
Or scent of laundry softener,
Wild parkway's quiet roaring.

I love you like I've never loved,
I think, as I make soup, the kind
You cannot eat. Fear isn't here.


And I am not afraid to lose,
For I no longer wish to own,
Or usury with oily interest lined.

No more percentages or loans.
I simply wish to know your mind,
As you know mine. And so,

In an orchestral silence,
I accept your every gift,
Your every handicap,

And walk in perfect darkness
Back to house
To weep in joy and wait.

Lines Upon Dissolution of Moto-Tech

Lines Upon the Dissolution of Moto-Tech

I loved you, as but man could purely love
Some building dissolute upon some crook
Of this street crossed with that, but no one stopped
To look. If even idly passing by,
They'd give no notice to these lights of yours,
Or cheerful verdure standing in those pots;
This spot, it was quite simply overlooked.
Then, nature's law I cannot comprehend,
This end of ends, this gross ignominy.
But even hollowed, like stern warning, you
Are mourning me, you show with unschooled might
How without caution, time appointed none—
At first, your greenery, then half your light—
You're emptied of all things, resolved and done.

Ξέρω! Ξέρω! Ξέρω!


To Emil

I cannot move in this precocious dark
Because I've forgotten how to be slave.
I cannot boil boar's head, abandon hunger,

Stand stock still, sing lullabies, be mute
(Whilst you ablute my lute).
End of reason returns. Air has some

Fresh tinge tonight. I sense it easily
In my back, as I notate wind
Who walks through my house, cool and unbidden.


      These things I will remember when I die:

      The smell of everything. Unholstered,
      Our schedule of trespass.
      Men, wild with willows. Sharktooth vibrato.

      Walking down some dirt path,
      Half-recollecting one-seventy-third of some poem
      Boiled down to deafmute recitative.


Haunted by anapests, I stumble into crevasse,
Dream of accidental acquisition of third wife
While inquiring for price of fish. As I fall, I observe:

Ghosts hanging on bushes in bushels. Sly social queues.
His velvet tongue watching me dance, my thoughts undressing;
They turn and spin and vacillate betwixt: curse, blessing.

Exhibit A: Laetus lacrimis. Furtive desire
To be beheld. Seaming around rainbow. Portrait of lover
As part-time husband. Portrait of lover as forearm plank.


      These things I will remember when I die:

      Solitary cinder block, aloof from family
      Of cinder blocks at landfill. Cloth dappled
      Over shadow—or is it other way around?

      Awkward surprise when lights return.
      Lines shamelessly stolen from beached swimmer.
      Poet splayed upon dark wooden floor.


On exiting small gallery, we dream
Of ribs of house, intentionally left to blight.
Metrical feet tangled in mutual time.

You help me metabolize μούρλια,
While around leaves explode underfoot like landmines.
When we stop, we admire these lovely teeth of fate.

What gift it is to stand here, listening,
To shadows of that man who dared to raise his eyes,
To heavens' court reared up, his cords constrained,


And then—let go, convulsing, to our world.

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