"Fate isn't what we're up against
there's no design, no flaws to find"
—The Shins, "Young Pilgrims," 2003.
i. Many Musics
Many musics, wake, blink, call it a world.
Wake, blink, call it your world, leave dream's
warped glare, exhale, return. Sing true,
many musics, through the day's tasks,
through its troubles, from some kind
year, its elusive face, to another's heart
liquid cracking hungry into wood, shouting
dancers, full moon's frenzied lean.
Skins & gazes lain with, the forever of
a few ragged nights in high voice & stout,
a dance's tavern memory still wooden with
heat. Later a new elixir & follow the
fire along an extra mile, mind gleeful tuck
in deeper & burst around wide, many
musics coming faster. Sing true! How the
night loses nothing to its great brood of years!
I want because I know none other.
I sing because truth lets me no other
way. Many musics, danced by the hard
muscles of Art, the burning arc of
fists & fingers, the discordance of worlds
candied together by love's ceaseless puzzle.
Wake, blink, reck the miles left in your
heart, years in your thighs. Sing true. Go!
Midnight when the quiet parts &
the way splits out to light, come
to me, path, I am hardly more
than just another who wakes &
does not know, who loves & does
not know, who wants & does not
know. I dream this world, it turns
by wood & steel, & I do not know.
The way is called dis-illusion,
molten new press to go.
The brown air of many days parts
as I move through, there is a
brutal report. Is it dream or is it
me? Who clutches & falls in the
next moment? Who lets go the sweat
of life's many plain hours & its
several golden ones? What now, as
neither do? If so, whereon?
The way is called dis-illusion, far
scatter of songs, raw will to chase on.
iii. Bridge of Glass
Dis-illusion, & how far? Til the shine &
every soft memory is a revealed setpiece?
What truth is enough, covers all, sinks
wide & high enough? Could the pink bloom
in hand another sure way to the sweet,
staying place? Do you know? Would
that gauze near your cheek be any
dearer if proven true or prop?
I am asking because this bridge
of glass shows a river below & it
looks real enough, but what is enough?
Which humbles the heart more: beliefs
honed to a few or disbelief seeping
through? My ragged hurry through this world
trails shadows & dust yet I wonder what
moves the world but a greater arc half arisen?
iv. Sweet Reveal
World sodden with many story, long
with shitting grace, little but continuance,
none, can you imagine a new stroke
or sin? Little, none. Yet the seed pops,
the stripling caterwauls, another to
the bricks, mapless, every face its
wanting tale, flesh surround, divert,
distract, what was it anyone said
but the present hour's least hungry truth?
Reck a scent you do not know or
bear. Follow its fenceless path,
tell nobody, lose a little, & a little more,
bring something back.
v. Song Brute
Many musics, the blind suck of
want, moonlight's bright cluster of
nagging old stories, not a spasm happily
sniffed but the next. I look this
one to that one & say give it, now
more, maybe hope that some
human tongue better than mew & bleat.
Breach the gift of a wide open eye in love.
Give it, not to a bent idea called God,
not for blood & brethren's familiar train.
Rouse the six warm curves of a square,
hit a beat to dream's paradox of time.
This want is old, old, maybe even
moonlight's coarse sire, gift to a
world raised of toneless clay, missing
dear its greater arc of explain.
I look to this one & that one with
this question, flaming spire of doubt:
What buries, what lingers, what travels on?
Give it, & another, til you really learn how.
A singer reminds me to praise God,
loved shaping hand of all, sweet holy
in every lost hour's crash, coming
fruit in the artist's blooming stroke,
what common pours wild in buzz, wing,
cruellest shot's report. Praise God &
trust to life's fine arc home, where little
explains & less needs to. Praise God &
submit to the sting. I listened an hour,
midst the ricochet of my sins
& scars, & the next remembered, &
the next grasped, & the next looked
on for some new song.
vii. Eros Burst
To love them all, has love's fruit in
miracle kept its ripe? I ask when the
hour is plastic passage among unconscious
rooms. I ask when the highest ideas
consume barren within, when hunger is
answered by a coin & a ruby slip. When
love's fruit itself seems little more than
a shill for king's going suck, little more, scrape
it, little more, a least cove of ice & a coming sun.
viii. Bleating Noise
Always the armies cross & a king smiling,
strokes his soft private maps, & reck
his pride to stand tallest bone, swill
the leaning hust to his word, come dirty
& brief when his hand spreads kindly,
when his smile an hour laps the world,
hear it moan, his gift. Hear it cry, his legend.
Only disbelief in nothing.
Only the sweet hustles of high & departure.
Only music's raining arc through flesh & dream.
Only heart's liquid crack as raw memory twice doubles.
Only this elixir will crumble you into the greater green.
Only you will know what else, & how.
Love maybe the push back, awhile,
an hour of guideless will, two branches
twine without trunk below, fruit to come.
The way is called dis-illusion, coarse,
frantic path between the ears, hour ends,
new choice blows life's next caustic spend.
xi. Smudging Hour
Toward songs without roof to comfort,
shape, limit. A stage without seats to
regard. Little listens, wish the stars would.
A crowd of face fatly ricochets the hours,
slow gathered wicked of wait, caterwaul
life's fine dullness, little listens, wish the leaves
could shake sweeter for notice. Toward songs
left in the depths, become the tugged to
their lightless home. Little listens, & sometimes grateful.
xii. Portrait in Silhouette
What lights toward the distant road,
its steady, leaning traffic, hustle to next,
little wrapped in cafe's talky noise & trinket's
shine, stretch the hour, twice double, stretch
til back to the brutes & on to the stellar
remains, stretch it within til touch both
spheres & what of the hidden third, &
out to the skies where all is ferment
& strew. A breath. Another. A dream.
The light bears two lovers, they grumble
in passing. Horizon & twilight their duel.
One the twine you hunger. One the hard leap out.
xiii. Zurich Dada
Everything is God.
Everything is Shit.
Shit is God.
God shits Many Colors.
Everything is Many Colors.
Steal These Words. Go!
xiv. Berlin Dada
We acknowledge what we know.
We believe in what we recognize.
We are tender with old rhythms.
We sing sex so sweet in middle range.
We hate what begs for a new mind.
We rage within if any come too near.
We dream but only a few may know.
We will drown in a catastrophe of dust.
We will sink into a black bed of tears.
xv. Hannover Dada
A long finger from the reddest star
farthest, ever arriving, waited letter
from a lost, fond year, & here it comes,
no longer red or purple, here arriving,
with stamps from everywhere, here it is,
& 4 a.m., all is lost, wait til dawn to read?
This long finger's message will not last, will
melt into you, you are insane, it is your friend.
xvi. Cologne Dada
It was time to go. We were fit &
raising high smoke again. Shared
fins as our map, my limbs recovered
& shining within. I had tried to love
everyone there but some ate others,
& it was explained this is how, this
is why, our God smiles, this goes on.
xvii. New York Dada
What end for flesh but dream
of another. Thin minds call it prison
but flesh settles, calls it happiness.
xviii. Le Ballet Mecanique
The end of the world
like the end of this hour
a sugar promise & illusion.
xix. Another Torrent
A hand lights toward every possible
hour, what trembles by its unchoosing,
what world in its own shadow dissolves?
In the disappearing glare roars some
other universe. A choice, one face remembered
to another's decay, a thousand flaps, & gone.
xx. New Prayer
God the burn inside your cheek
the shout beneath your soil's dreaming
the retch that sicks, & free.
xxi. Much Sentiment
Remembering old loves:
raw flesh of want on ice.
Bury it in words & days:
let distraction bone its cage.
What remain? The ride untaken.
What haunt? Desire's hard stoke out.
The war & years til the blooms,
change of season & song, it lives
among us. Blooms, pink with new
breath, red by bones open push, white
in fallen lids leaving. Many blooms,
slowly strange, so breathe lighter.
Soil's dream reminding, stop fucking sleeping.
Ask the swaying green light,
do you really mean go?
Where the freedom in yes?
Ask the summer-stilled red,
do you really mean stop?
What if nobody does? Are you ready?
If the lights fall, when they hit,
are you ready?
xxiv. Bed's Silence
Want is every soul's plight,
love every soul's dream,
you wear some hard fancy of mine,
& carry it always in your deeps.
You accumulate me in ways I
do not know. I bear some rightly
shade from your grasp, carry it
through rueful city streets, not
chalice but a rhythm, not word
but a hum. Every soul's dream,
every soul's plight, what swings through
laws of men, mocking, urging, leaving go.
Call it the source, & from it ideas of dirt
& stardust. Call it the treachery of want,
of awake, of any. Nothing salves the closest
wounds. Tell it to another, to a year,
to a race. What slides to, & on, which breaches
vining, what's more than another seed,
another fruit? Answer in rare hours, or the rest.
Faith crackles unknown every hour,
held close with longest feathers & a
few sparkling memories. Dawn through
a muddy windshield, a familiar heat
in a crowd of shouting, thumping flesh.
Hours silent green touch among hands,
pinkest gentle shared breath. Alone
again but changed for every change.
May it stretch to the last, what I believed
when I kissed you behind the torn
hotel, cruisers snarling the neon dusk.
xxvii. Washed Clean with Ice
What reels & swipes at new hours worst
but the blind 'croach of hungry gone
ones, nights in the ragged heat of
velvet cafes, brown-backed chairs &
red divans stained with lost chatter &
dry strain. Listen to this day harden
for a little more secret juice & that
night queer violently over a single word
& its stretching silence. Reck every
troubled hour's cry to resume, to
unfence from its clumsy arrival
& sudden cut. The few pretty ones
worse, sunny glad, every angle a
mirror to happy eating flickers of
sate, every melody a brush
down moonshine's own bright strands,
every thrust makes a richer moan,
& the candied embrace, & the laughter follows.
xxviii. Nothing But
Mapless, a swamp of half-blind thrashing
hours, nothing the soiled gulls or grubbing
squirrels could say, not a tongueless shepard
shoved by his fear through the shouting,
burning night, nor how every skyline's fist
of men will fall to its bleating, ending year.
A sleepy babe's nipple kiss causes private
perfect crooning, what century, what the land?
Mapless, blind-red wings toss toward low clouds
& then splashing bombs of beak's grab & throat's
take, leaves yellow again in unseen places, &
a king promises new peace with a musing wink
to those tapping his collar & readying his place
in the stars. Need this song land plainly
to reveal its blank clock-face, its some
& every where, invocation whatever will help?
Mapless, what buries, what lingers, what
sneering gathers its lace & its dew,
maybe a coin back to the last familiar room
or one for the next? Blind the steps of
every creature, every pending stump & kiss.
Nothing but next & next, a pink hour
close & sings its gladness, a copper dusk
when the gunfire runs near, & strangely far away.
xxix. Wide Open Eye in Love
What near in that grey half-sprung bed,
a hue, maybe a face, a voice? A hand
shivers in the whiskers of nocturnal glow,
for a moment nearer, then years far,
then never was & ain't will be. Memory of
a memory, pink corona want sunk down
a shaft webby with despair. How lace
slid by, how flesh made flesh gape
in awe! Desire notices, desire mulls.
Desire collides, desire bleeds. Desire goes.
Here's the twist: desire remakes its world
from tatters & teeth. Nods, lifts, comes again.
[Mark Rothko, "Yellow over Purple," oil on canvas, 1956]
Signs rain years' hopes & crumble with
repeat, crumble, crumble. A joyous hour's
ash, shadows turn dusk, plain solids
fall away, what remains is the desire
to divide & consume. Will to a face or idea
folds down, with a cry or soft. Night's better
sense reveals in its absence & silence.
[Paul Cezanne, "Mr. Sainte-Victoire," oil on canvas, 1888-1890]
From a far view, things may cohere from
crumble to lesson to fruit. Flat hours
with nothing like a sugared tongue may
start to jitter a bit like music. The
rainstorm takes us up in its forgetting
sweep of power & now a salmon-colored
mountain where there was an argument.
This squall will settle us up ahead, a meal,
a collector. This hour is a gift of colored
glass, a fed beast's view that little disturbs.
[Claude Monet, "Water Lillies," 1919, oil on canvas]
The end was in water, in knowing
that arrival & departure not the
same way, but a high arc of drying,
feeling it all go, the sacks of juice
dwindling, still hands gesturing, still
cloaks & gowns, still somewhere a
candied murmur, laws of men dust
now, my world without end, dust now,
no fragrance remains but my sweat for
next, for nothing, for how you watch me go.
xxxiii. Alki Beach Dusk
Dis-illusion, wish for two clapping hands &
a fragrant, keeping world, crooning cradle
for every creature, great sugared nest
of dreams. Dis-illusion nods dissent.
Live with the lack for one & another's feast.
Live with the fine dust spread on canvas
to near a thought of music, & two other
fists enjoying the way spines snap with a
sweet thump. Live with no explain of
flaring mountains to a quiet canyon's glow,
& what left a roiling surf to remember, & forget.
The want shapes like a cross, like a cunt,
thrums by great song up a mile-high wood,
some body it up into God & cage this fraying
thought in brick & edict. See it take to the
wind & leave but a bright fading noise. The want
shapes like a coin, like a thousand, like
a breathless canvas on every castle wall
& brilliant-cheeked children on average
one a year. Feel it truer when everything
burns in a single night & the remain
collapses into a great sighing heartbeat, clear-eyed
blue breath, three sucks on a beggar's silver
fruit, high surf bearding bare limbs
with freeing caress. The want croons
red heat around the dreaming body,
tugs lone torsos nearer, teases with a
little sweat & a sniff of taut shadows. Nothing
divides us but walls hands build between them,
nothing obscures but talk & covering. The want
is old, old, a dark pearl in every running
blood, fine high moonlight in velvet shimmering
hips, first touch in wordless shy, every wish for the next.
Through ancient broken rock, a dozen
steps in, restless umber dusk & again
the elixir's glowing test, something more,
something else, here is the place of
red heat, lawless propulsion, great hero
cut for a jagged thrill, wrenching slick
in fucking for a coin, telling only the
biting sea these secrets & following them in.
Watch a hand toss sunshine through an old
brilliant hour, watch it later try to
remember & explain, watch it unclench for
something shared & calm. Nothing settles,
neither hips nor fancies. World ever high
for its next take, preacher's pretty little
shadow, a village burning in vines & come.
Sorrow takes its residence a soft morning,
a kneel at a time. Sorrow gels in
the years' shifting soil, fruits through
many dreams, lets the vista slide a bit
more toward hoary shadow, a bit
more. What above now more roof
than sky. What within more braid than
chaos. Pleasures on their labelled shelves,
moonlight in a scented cup, warm & toothless.
Sing it low, sing it blue, knock two
clouds & a rock together, sing it true.
Love when a hand nears, when it leads
with a smiling, luring heat, breathe,
gladness, joy, sunk in world's lust &
free of mind's many gates, now out again,
Sing it late, & later still, think ye the war
bears shop hours? Nothing else, sing.
Twine the hungers from heated places, &
the fears of old skin, & the bloats of
humility's talk, slice its thick fruits for
slight tunes, then slice again in remembrance.
Sing it foul then praise dirt for its truth.
Men raise up toward level with the stars
then a caustic dream of lightning through
the bricks, floods darkest through nearest
veins, an idea of God falling gentle from
its tree. Sing it in terror & greed.
Sing it, many musics, wake, blink,
call it a world & what else? What is
teaching right now, the thick tomes or
the mystery? Watch a twining of any
kind, a mate of faces or lights or rhythms
& ask: what tis? How not carry on?
Sing when the lone hours stagger in
blotting crowds, when some needed pulse
obscured or strays on. Sing when heart's
dearest seems to yearn best only in
recall & regret. Sing when it hurts, &
push a little, bite a little. Sing when it hurts.
Sing through dis-illusion & what poor
hours clarity brings. How the faces still
gaze dumbly along, fiercely, no bridge, not
even blunt talk of the chasm. Sing,
worlds without end, sing, faith in the
fire that fleshes through least hours. Sing,
sing til proven nothing can dash the worst within.
War never leaves. Like watchers in the
long grass & erotic hums for pinkly
maidens, fleshly restless & some deep tongue's
poison taste for chaos, pushing it ever
nearer. Two ideas for one acre will not twine.
Three faiths war for an angle of dusk,
& which way to herd wombs & state treasure
through the centuries. War never leaves.
Again an hour when its terror sits light & luring
upon a king's eye, a near bloodless path,
a great new shine, just once more. Swift
the happy conquer, bury the weapons, & cease.
Three bullets took her & two babes in her
awful clutch. The day was hot & nobody could
explain. Broken blood remembers. War never leaves.
xxxviii. Dash Point
The human world cooks with flare, want,
& dismay. Face by face & no word to declare
what's common. Wounds in a hid sack, kept
for rare display like a centuries-old egg,
like a private word for shame. Why this when
so much other? Why not pool the hurts in
the fullest moon's light & burn, finally fucking
burn? Coming back, between breaths of wind,
there is silence. Not waiting, no yearn, tis arrival.
xxxix. Lonely Song
I still wonder why she loathed me,
first girl I loved, when I was nine or ten,
had we crossed some other life or land?
Later I was moved among kin & belongings.
The girl smiled & took to my best friend.
He called me a last time & hoped I wouldn't mind.
Thirty years on does this leaf of dream
hang from any other than my tail?
Anything still dented but my child's heart?
xl. That Glare
Find God in the ferment, unlaced squeezing
thighs, spider's midnight web terrored after
a lab's dose, the lost limb of a soldier as ground
& building crack & meet, your dream of that
dead dear one many years dust & not a whisper
lighter. Praise soft forgetting, praise new hungers.
If God y'need, find where the herd is parted
swift from slow, where brilliant dusks painted
in poisons recede for no eye, where a pur for
a chipped red bowl of cream, where two wordless
dress unfacing. A blade, a manacle, an unlocked door,
no explain, the child listens through his nightmares.
No God but in what remains, what touch yet
stains the world, how the universe may be
peeping close or blandly distant. Where you
hurt, what you won't say, why that frayed
ribbon. The high woods in dreaming where the
hidden crawls out or happily crumbles.
xli. Hard Warp
World in evolution, world in ferment,
world in a deep boil to clean every soul
from its grime. Tell another, & another.
World a dreaming picture, long brushed with
green & blue, hid potent dabs of pink,
a canvas with a code & a key. Tell another.
World's hope in how the soft affects the hard,
which word spoken how man to man, how
each chooses to listen, which cracks first,
one's armor or the other's heart. Tell one
more, call faith the needed nimble move from hour
to hour or an endless terrified retreat.
World breaks down in age & entropy & flesh,
name the king or conqueror to defy this.
What remains little summed in the tomes,
a secret night when two smiling hold the
moon between them, a louder one when a
thousand shout in single fist, the last one when
something live lets that go, & something else begins.
xlii. Toward Perfection on Earth
A leaf's green flicker, & a golden breath,
slow arching moment where restless meets rest.
Do only men dream of perfect days? Does knowing's
sting not spark in high-flying waves & secret
shaded berries? Unsure what to believe & none to tell
but men-mongers, sure tellers that a mountain
pictures life, the trace toward perfection from
base to summit, values summed only in the ascent.
Yet little heed to the mountain's sense of quiet growth,
decay, how late sunshine feels when few stride its miles.
xliii. Some Parable
A struck pine shows three new angles,
the world can do nothing for itself
but repair, re-create or decay til new,
the burnt grey grass will tell you nothing
but still a clue, add in the rusting forest
tracks busy once a morning, the chemtrail
several thin figures measure, the waste
from your pipe to a smokestack grind,
every perfect molecule, dust reveals the
web, dreams too, if you could sit near
& hold your hand while you whimper.
xliv. Warm Piss & Sour Milk
I dreamed a song worth the stars last night
& fingered its shedding crystal melody, dreamed
a song far fuller than I can reck, a song every
dancer knows when dawn blows out the
moon & the fruit reins again to its golden feed.
A dream explaining warm piss & sour milk as sacred too.
Wake & wonder: what remain of the ancient years?
The desert morning is hot & bluntly says: A ruin,
a vessel, a tome. Starlight on earth. A mystery
which does not subside. Luring patina of the
lost & lingering. The same questions. Most of the same
answers. What rises, falls, what stays, & how.
Warm piss & sour milk, & everything else eaten
by a countless hour's pass. Red silk wrapped through
squeezing fingers, the night her mother & father
danced under bonfire sparks, drank the elixir
tarted by pears & strawberries. Her grandson fifty years
later reading her memories in a ribboned basket.
He's sad that night, alone in a city, dreams a song
worth the stars, perfect scented of warm piss & sour milk.
A touch & all melts, to the last remain
of glance, not a bead or breath left, ask
how, some shade of tense flesh must stay, clung
to its hurrying hour, late evening street,
a red cavern passed, echoing some savage
century's cry for drums, not a touch &
all melts? So the dream says, so its exhibits
of dust, not a mew left, no jewels for
the new year's parade, no hand to tender
up a praise of God or a child or a sly
bloom, a touch & all melts, see the king
start to believe, start to run. Not a warning,
nor much a promise, more the dog's bark
louder as the window's lamp nears. More
what the most clear-eyed see toward their
last as seeing no longer matters. Last
beautiful promise, what comes without a
preacher's finale. A tan wall, quietest buzz,
green stem in fluted glass. A touch & all melts,
to the last remain, now smiling part your song.
xlvi. No Reign
Come the velvet blindness of music,
the fall to stars upon stars in a
desert's long plain night, cease of
echoes & the day's many plodding
questions, no attention remain for want
nor war, nothing remains, nothing could.
A winter's day in Cambridge, was it solstice?
High at a metal table, empty courtyard
in show, thinking over what any of it meant.
Quicking chemicals, lingering happy moans,
sharping starlight on earth, sadness ribboning
then & now, was it Christmas? The fool
of abiding agreeably in time, sitting there
now, winter's day in Cambridge, breaths a
dribbling white pudding, want follows away
with every curved pocket, how heat bluntly
stalks heat, for staying touch, hard clash
of hips, the shouting wet breach, all driven
by a lost fleshly snap & the soil's slow teeth
waiting. A laugh, another, nothing's real,
they all say so, every arching mentor in my
long sky, every roaring fungal hour, every
pretty molecule, where is any of it tonight?
Was it winter? Was it Cambridge? A memory
will puff the mind freely, lure near like
for a connection, a magick broiling in hope,
then two quick breaths & it sags, flaps away,
untouchable far. The courtyard now a
sweating busstop, a rainy seat on old tenement
steps. Leave the courtyard, unthread its knotted
sentiment. Walk on, past the coming
hour, believe always bound for better.
xlviii. Plaza (Remembrance)
Here's what I've learned:
flesh remembers what hearts would forget—
empathy is a deep nod to shared suffering—
there is little can be squared with the world—
arrogance shutters fear's slaves, some don't escape—
what the heart would most remember lies
a path through solitude, most dangerous country.
A lone girl passes, with a rose, on night's eager, open steps.
We meet, we part, we remember.
Remember & wish, call it time.
Feel our flesh among flesh, call it space.
Sleep, dream, some accelerated life, return.
This is return. Morning the foul yawn.
This is home. Some other year, another home.
Some yearn, some adore, & what next?
Meet, part, remember. Time, space.
What remains? A few cupped hours will not break.
The shine, so near between day & night.
What fades & returns by heart's inmost will.
Hunger roars mind & loins alike,
nothing plays it out long, unclustered
burst tames an hour, but sate is
not ease, & hunger insists the universe.
Saddle it with mortal bones, strafe
with stroke & suck, reach higher,
human happiness lies in loving the
bars, endless singing their song,
plain & golden. Hunger unites strangers,
divides others. Call it love, inmost petals
open to another's light, call it desire,
sweet douseless wish, call it death,
its murmuring path elsewhere. New restless,
new sate. Hunger is blood & consequence,
what persists in great & private hours,
by every creature's wake & grow. What
kings may nod & fail to know. Learn it,
& fear, & the tides, & little else.
li. Song for Hearts
No frenzy greater than a body in
love, no dis-illusion possible those
long, few hours when the world frames
a glance, deeper than a child's the
greed for what the beloved bears,
what bloom noticed, brushed, what
pinks each cheek, what word, what word?
What did that one mean? And that one?
Breathe, crazy one. A dream, sweat &
crushed sheets. No other, no other.
Later, mourn frenzy gone. Lighter, &
lesser. The moon never knew, neither
the cards nor coins. That song, the dark
tickling one about loss. It knew.
What shift between the bones & metal
of a moment, brutal shove, here & all
the ignorant praying health the bones
of their cage, smiling call each fist
a god's mild caress. A moment, sweet
holy crash, slave some years to it,
remember a turning face, a devouring scent,
like bread & diamonds, trimmed up
in melodies to king coming nights, thrashing,
lesser years. Wounds pale, blood within
strides on, memory's discordant fruit
falls, seeds, new nights of pushing,
bright noise, clinking cheer, twining heat like a
truth released. The reedy voice is gone,
the dusky catch of salmon sky along that
path, long rides to lost homes, what empty
fingers cried to moony stars, old silences,
great untamed wilds, brilliant vanquished dust.
Sea-burnt skin & I waked all night,
full moonlight & I leaned to the sill,
many questions, young, many questions
still, who loves me? Who likes me?
Will I be happy someday? We lean now
together, he & I, burnt skin. Tender each other.
liv. Flushing Dream—
Every war nearing tonight, every empty
hand. What glances close between faces,
& elsewhere. The music crowds three
pillars of sweetness around, & late-year
colors gesture near, nearer. Turn to
memories of excited faces on a hillside,
others croon in candlelight, call it
magic by example & ground to name &
defend? Every broken branch nearing
tonight & there is no repair. Wizards
twist melodies & squeeze a pearl for your
kneel. Kings bang fists & call your heart's
fidelity a doubtless prayer. Lovers remember
or wish or settle close to pleasure's
instructed moves. What do you want
tonight? Must whole worlds go? When will they?
Watch it near & away, what the world
next offers, what next it will take away,
or do the shine & shadows distract you
enough to forget how everything ends,
some craft sink, some land on strange
shores & become stranger to themselves?
Reck a scent, follow its fenceless path, up
toward a full moon's frenzied lean, into a
bent idea called God, beyond strange shores
now, wide open eye in love, want furious
in flesh, call it night's caustic agony,
straggle into a wet field, a selfish prayer,
or call it sweet gift, berries creamed up
with kisses, fraternal hunger shared to
know, to strike that clearest melody, shiver
up the world with the possible, with an
invitation, fenceless path, full moon,
stranger shores called God, love's near & away?
Breathe, relax. World offers, world takes
away, shine & shadows cross the long
years humble too, or fall away, matter
more like sentiment. Kings & preachers
closer lean, softer & plainer, to what fists
& whispers try to tell. Everything ends, &
between wars the circles 'round hearths
thicken. Everything ends, new craft toward
new shores, blunt urge to crack mystery,
ripe loans & pens. Everything ends, &
the night strips open another soul to
knowing, lets another sink with a nod
& release. Everything ends, even an old man's
blues, a raging creature in an empty
den. Everything ends, clearest melody
shivers up the world, what is possible?
Come along! What next offered, which next
taken away? Everything ends, so near & away.
lvi. Dream High
Three trees tipped in the wet
wind. Two crows howled & gone
in your next blink. A shadow stretched
& felt for the needed melody, where
would the dance begin tonight?
Above all, no more, a king raged
one more time, & broke. The night
belongs to no man, the world belongs
to no man. Want courses in common
through all. Kindness most binds. Learn this.
lvii. Two Divans
Skin nears skin, a breath, a beat,
so close, & yet the blunt divide of
space & blood, how silence eats the earth
beneath love, old sadness, what the
mirror still shows. Velvet hours, near, nearer,
what still untouching, what worlds unknown?
Years since my new stroke moaned
her love me an hour, since my brothers
scrummed high with drink & youth. Years.
Alone nights twisting on a broken mattress,
others traveling toward strange lights.
Is it a girl? A new break in the plane?
Hunger for touch costs many years, want
for love takes the rest. An arcing
glare, near, nearer, mapless, no explain.
Desire consumes the eye until only music
or despair remain. A lost day, fall colors
speckled the water. She looked away. I kept following.
Where the rest? I wonder who knows.
Through the crowded metal bark of
city traffic, hurling freight talking by
nocturnal wire, past windows where
the brutal remarks the sweet, hours
none will recount with an answer.
I wonder who knows, how want's deep
ulcer, why music's hard salve. Where
the rest? Warriors knot again beneath
the full moon, kings remake truths to
fit easier songs, preachers shill God
for cheaper than street ass. Do you
know? Shadows rush your floor, cross
with a live edge. Breathe. Where the rest?
lix. Ferment, Strew
Reck flesh's blunt vow to breach space,
arc will, bite for touch, know oneness
by hunger's plain truth, what courses
common in all, come's flame to soil's
consume. Oneness, suffering in knowing,
brilliant breaths of aching music,
how flesh yearns flesh, dark pearl
in every running blood, ferment & strew,
how the world punishes, croons wait,
croons deny, sings it foul then praises
dirt for its truth. Else, breathe, crazy one,
wake, blink, call this your world,
prison bars branching beautifully to
the sky, electric lights guarding against
too much blind thought. Wake, blink,
breathe, crazy one. Ferment, strew,
in that disappearing glare wails some other
universe. Here flesh watches, closer, feels yon,
nobody sure utters why yet instructions
for every fenceless path, each new
molten press. No way on but dis-illusion,
escape from pockets, through walls
to other walls, cross a bridge of glass
& ask: new sweet juice in hard leap out
or in another thousand, ignorant, pounding,
hopeful steps? Learn it: nothing salves
the closest wounds, however flesh becks
pretty & hearts heat fine. Ferment, strew.
Breath, crazy one. Oneness rises in both
I & we. Yearn a print in deepest soil.
Dust stirs up a new one even as another,
unspent, passes back through.
lx. Creatures Dreaming
Creatures dreaming tonight between
the drifts, what of? what for?
Dreams of grain, of warmth, of union,
what of? what for? Winter's cold, &
colder still in a few hours, creatures
dreaming, drifts cross the road,
how few new answers collect & stay.
Little salves the closest wounds but
still flesh becks pretty & hearts heat fine.
Creatures dreaming, many musics,
the way is dis-illusion, the way breaks
simple to green songs, what shakes pink
& new. Touch the world again & hear
it moan, hear it sigh, want is
trigger, want is release. Creatures
dreaming, come the fog & ice,
signals gone, everything gone, why chase
the next song? New stroke, new push,
new tighten, & all explodes new.
Creatures dreaming nigh the clearer
hours, turn another side, blood warms
blood, by science & faith. Til dawn
everything dreaming, everything closer,
what will be the morrow? What comes?
Creatures dreaming to the last, still
rutless of time's stone idea, still
the world a feeding plain & golden nuzzling
rest, still life need not explain, what's
struck or carried off tonight will fuel
another day's fruit, another mewling babe.
Within walls, men combat for bread &
mercy, ask, take, contrive truths in
tomes to bear the nameless, conjure a
way to play out well, fall in hope.
Dream too, in finer hours, croon worlds
together. Close, dear, let us croon together.