Poetry

 

A handful of poems written between the early 2000's and now.

SACCHARINE
 
"It's always midnight somewhere,"
say the shankwound smiles
on the wolves of Machecoul,
smooth as vermouth,
while the swan's eyes spin
international clocks indeed;
Whose bone-white wrists
drip and drop a stuttering kick
on jazz drums blown and tumblers gnarled,
a single slipper in the hall.
 
Whether moonchild or the eyeless queen,
inebbriated or machine,
let them choose: barb or plume,
whose carmine dreams ebb and flow
in bathtubs full of beet juice ink.
They sleep the quiver and sing the bow,
for such minds inherit everything,
the massacres and the saccharine.
KISSING IN THE WIND
 

This is the spasm before the touch,
          Or a larynx stuck in the flaring void
          Of stillborn heartbeats.
     Before the West was known
          It yawned my Eastern glow,
          Multiplied by the eye of the fly
          In a thousand flowing oceans.

                                             And in their blow,

I am the drunkard before the liquor,
          Tongue-stuck on the kiss
          Of a bottleneck
     Before the wind dies down.

RAINBOW WHITE
 

Ten feet away a bird
hits glass, peacock-sized
but blue-boned and screams rainbows
dampened to the mouthful formant
of suck.

A vhs tape tongue
I turn to, from, to, from
onto a belly with no dumpster lunch.
My displaced slit throat slips
easily underhead in R.E.M.
for want of a violet that never comes,
an indigo long forgot.

A PERFECT FACE
 

While heaps generate beetles,
While the wolves hiss out rabbits,
While the sullen sip their vomit,
While a child returns to her old heroin habits,

 

A perfect face is born.

 

While babes give birth to mothers,
While twins seep into one flesh,
While I find photographs of myself
Strangled from the rafters with eloquence,

 

Science steps forward.

CONEY ISLAND
 

I.

 

As though your high cheekbone
Was cut for sanctuary,
A Rushmore of philosophies,
I am moved to feel your face.

 

And this is it. False geography.
But, you say, the moon's man still pulls?
Childish games, a bickering brain
Liquored in halves.

 

Meet me here.
Meet you there.

 

I'll meet you in the center of it all.
Coney Island, on the barbed wire
Tilt-o-whirl catching heads
Like trophies

 

For orgasmic sacrifices.
Dance naked with me around the purple fire
And the pink-blue halogen haze.
Tomorrow!--we bear child.

 

I'll cut off it's limbs, by damn,
To make it all fit.

 

II.

 

I've sent you a broken crab's leg
From this swelling shore of war
And the buzzing fizz of cold.
The future is a prick in the lungs,
A subatomic gasp in the razor-lined sack of bated breath.

MEETING SPOT AWAY FROM THE NOISE
 

There is a vulture far bigger than the Earth,
Stomach sagging through our cumulus sky
With weight of Jupiter's bearded, fleshy skull.
He has swallowed up Aries in one day
With neither passion nor pride.

 

He's left her armies to drift scorching
Into the sea, melting brown-blue like funeral pyres,
And greying up into hardened rock or relic.
This is reality -- not love or devotion,
But a clean coup d'etat. As usual.

 

Aristocrats' wives bang pots in the street
Passing poor panhandlers without a coin to spare.
It's quite a lot of noise; we'll meet
Where the ocean and canal are paired
To watch the remaining islands form.

 

There are vines to cut and limbs to kick
But with the softness of ocean spray
You say it's a good place to make love.
I just agree.
I only have half a day.

FRACTAL HANDS
 

Murder is a meticulous vice.
Partaking of the dead
is a poetic, skilled thing.
You cannot dig your own grave
in the shallow sand and
replace every grain--
It is better to draw names.

 

If we were but in a bar,
I'd sit beside him,
learn of his family, friends,
learn his means of meeting ends.
I'd burden my ears with his despairs
and suggest modest repairs over
the smoke of a tobacco pistol
and bereave.

 

If he were the born aristocrat
conceived in little membranes
of historical residue,
jewel-crowned and princely,
I would conceive
a thousand skeleton cranes
with which to wander
the desert rain.

 

But this is a barren, coral land.
This is a fractal hand
of five fingers for a lone liver,
a liver of life overrun
by the toxins of temptation,
he is a beggar
and I am the sole, the chosen;

 

They are the same,
but this is neither the time nor the place
for the debate of an ethical case.
We are, we need,
we are the same,
We are the partakers of shallow names.

 

We dig one another's graves.

RECORDED FOR MY DAUGHTER ON HER FIRST BIRTHDAY
 

Away to a candy cottage,
Slender walls of sugar cane flanked with
Juniper rows and rosemary flourish.
Every little girl is a princess,
Preachers are apples.


Caramel is the child in the casket,
Locked and growing outward, slow,
Wood expanding in delicate breaths.


Fairy tales would deny her, would have witches
To burn. They know who burns.
The arced marks of teeth come near it,
But vanish through wisdom's void:


        Without footsteps, without footprints,
    Coddled without arms


Recorded for my daughter on her first birthday,
A rickety black tape with a half-peeled label:
Details of what I have known--rewound,
Sealed up tight. And you shall not know where,


For now it holds what I would pray, could I,
That you avoid with a younger brown eye
Than mine . . . perhaps,


You will find it,
Right where I left off, or
Write.


And I would pray, could I,
That I taught you well--
Not in the fantastic,
But the sobering real,


And what could be real,
Could you be sober.

AT NIGHT SHE TURNS
 

Just beyond a bustling land,
There is a statue of a woman with copper eyes
And fire at her right hand;
Tourists climb her legs
Wrapped with wind-seared dress
To drop coins from a wrought mouth.


She stands brave and alone.


To even those who held
Her soft blue hand through new maps,
Stealing children under smoke
Into ships sunk under the weight of blood,
Whispering of the beautiful future,
She is an orphan without name.


Her neck measures waist-high.


In blackest night she turns
To civilization and its dimming cinders
Of entwined ambition and sacrifice,
Stone face pelted by the wilderness
And dampened on belief in the unseen.


In tears, she burns brighter.