REQUIEM FOR PARTINGS
I enter this year with nothing
No father, no country,
No financial security, no absolute loyalty
to causes, faith, friends, or family
No desire to look eagerly ahead, or fondly, into the past
To speak of deep longings history crushed,
Though they are there, hidden beneath the harshness
of this self-willed sanctuary silence, where I have stopped
all clocks, and do not answer phones or letters
Corrosive tears unshed, rustblood seeps
from this abandoned soul gate, entering no man's land
Lost, lost, lost,
My fingers bear down empty on pens
which can never recapture that previous voice
of innocence, shared
Eyes sift shadows, vision briefly clears
two hours before dawn, when I am least prepared to dwell on
or believe what I have lost now
in such a short time
how sunrise quickly blurs
to a breath, to a breath, to a breath.
WHEN ANGER TURNS (TO DESPAIR)
In the sweet hot heat
tears bear nothing of the blood of saints
Dried of remorse, desiring more nothingness
than cathedrals of time can possess
In the looming white darkness, where sleepless flames obsess windows, and deeper
Within heart, a flame more real for its harshness
the insane boiling chill of otherness
Beats hollow desires against invisible walls
profane mouth twists incantations into prayers, above the abyss
Wail and desist
Wail and desist
Let moments pass and helpless matter
impress reality on loss
Let silence fill the opportune space
sunlight, spring rain, deeds of emptiness
Fade words into well worn banalities
mortal dust into the land of eternal forgetfulness.
He said I was beautiful
And for a minute, I believed it
He said I had that Romanesque voluptuousness
That squeezable softness
And fool that I was, I ate it up
Like cotton candy that's too sweet
Before it dissolves.
Anger is the steam I run on
The adrenaline crash
The fist in face rage, pushing
The throaty laugh
Anger is the burn I need
To survive all conniving, manipulating
Naysayers in my life
It is the purge, the bile rising acid
Which devours all pride.
Anger is the word, in a mean world
Erasing my existence
I shout I am here to the skies
And it will rain down arrows
My desire demanding voice through the noise
Of other voices
And eventually, they
Will have no choice but to listen.
Words corner and frame my reality,
Shadow-lines matted beyond mental resistance
An artificial light falls upon this glass cage
Stone modern blind steel circumspect
Glossy outlines of rigid lust, primal blocked
Staircases forming spiral dust histories, silent images
Devoid of color, concrete realm into which sharp angles fall
Heartless rage of tools, illogical bland chaos of vowels
Slashed, burned, abused, ice sharp slip of winter
Useless fingers into refuse.
Linger long amongst the clover, and yield
when it is time to return to the barn.
VOICES LIKE EGGPLANTS
(for A. Sexton)
One must never use eggplants in verse,
the learned man stated.
Aside from being metaphorically obtuse,
it is a gaudy, domestic fruit
reminding one of a turgid womb, therefore
one must never use eggplants in verse,
but keep to circumscribed lyrical equations, purple going over the edge
of commonsensical delineation.
Eggplant is raw and loud,
soft, round, and rude.
Eggplant is a common noun,
unlike the rigid gray, understated
strength of urns, which tastefully compliment
the more erudite construction of well pruned verbs.
If you wish to be remembered as more than
a marketplace vendor, and your ultimate desire is to be placed among the most respected
tenors in the literary choir, then
(one must)never use eggplants in verse.
How can she
Rose porcelain skin
Splintered to shards
Of irretrievable calm
Her one glass eye turns
Its bone lovelight, cold with pain
Strain to reach
But cannot touch
As scattered, un-One
Thorn sharp, her facets
Disunity of self
Of milk-white glass
How can she
Hollow-slivered lips shrill
A heartless lullaby.
(Indian Cliff Dwellings circa 1200 A.D.)
Red rock city scapes, god buildings watch the valleys
Temple ruins, totem castles, spindle choirs
chant eons, blood sunsets mark adobe, facades
of prehistoric elevations, vacant
remains of scrub pine and fossils, reminders
of human life in land that makes no promises, that dares life
to huddle beneath its precipices, to take comfort
in stone, piercing heat and cold, to build
fires and hunt below, in fields covered with shadow
and nightmare, to deny the scent of fear rising
in unclocked air and hours, to patiently
wait until sunrise.
TO THE GREAT FATHER
Spirit in the mist
through the forest
bring me to fire
when I am cold
with leaves and fronds
for my bodice
to life's breath
as I sleep
and when I awaken
fruit of the earth
when I thirst
draw me to water
from springs in the rock
and when I am lost
through mountain paths
in the darkness
upwards, ever upwards
toward the sun.
SICK CANDY #2
You have become an unpalatable
mix of stale ju-jubes, lint-sweatered
treats, swollen in washed pockets,
jumble-dried to hard-tack flatness.
You have become sticky and slick
as butterscotch discs, left melded
to countertops, re-wrapped
for later use, depleted disappointments.
You have become the unwanted
taffy twist in trick-or-treat sacks,
non-descript excuse for brand-candy, defunct
rock-sugar trap of dental defiance.
You are the jaw-pull guilt-chew,
empty calorie rainbow remorse pill
insulin death-wish heavy addiction.
You are sick candy.
Merry went a'hunting in the jungles of libido, beneath neon marrow
where golden poachers dangle their hunger, among tribal dancers
leering lantern bloodied masks, baring paper teeth.
At the zookeeper's trough, rifling through a snakeskin purse,
Merry gathered her fiercest weapons, scanned the horizon
for five o'clock shadows.
She perused velvet ones, valued for their tongues,
pulsating ebonies, quick wary albinos, virulent jackals,
long-winded hyenas, pack runners, inferior breeders.
Merry chose the well manicured cub, lured by her scent;
he rose, sauntered over to refresh his thirst,
after long hours of stalking the bush.
Merry took her trophy home, mounted him with pride,
until, grown beyond her power to subdue
he returned to his den, well fed on heart flesh.
Spiral glow, glitter ball,
high school queen shares
secret eyes with king, basking
in the warm whirl
of borrowed scotch before dusk, cold
corsage, skin-tight sheath, heels,
cameras click, click, click yearbook
memories, face-worthy smiles, pressed
bodice and brief, you dance, envious
as similar eyes scan the latest
social match, then at midnight, also run
to shadow-waiting transpo men
behind tinted glass, who cruise control, tell
no tales, save to their own, while you each
find out what your body's for, in the back
of a dead-white limo.
Give us your eager feet
to run circles around the competition
and when you have lost well seasoned minds
to mundane ambition, we will exchange your weary soles
for new ones, deposit you outside gates of commerce
provided with ill-fitting suit, shoes, a few coins
for phoning the dole, and when shame
is deeply embedded into remaining ego,
we will throw you a few crumbs to nibble on,
and, hungry for regular meals, you will accept
our offer of room and board, with no payroll,
Pavlov-gold watch incentives, dangling above
your grizzled heads.