If (et tu?)
If high was not enough, no sunrise again
salmon & a calm, no touch what inner
deity wishes, if the green could not salve
by seed or shade, if music dissolve
by its own seductive sugar, if
dream tonight could best offer a
coffin & a forgetting, what remain wild &
unseen & laughing, blue & raw with bliss?
Death somewhat depart again, & here is
love arrived past my break, from sing to
careen to sing anew, raise the magick
root & spread it high & long, a thousand
words to ask why the universe, why desire.
Thousand thousand & little through the
window, more leaves for the resistance,
more drums for the dance. None love
the fist of war but few hark the kiss of
peace, & I sit here tonight within elixir's
farther reach, falling to dream of our
carriage & a path seductive with brighter trembles.
Lean my arms til heart burst,
call it birth of a cry long borne,
smear it pain across the night,
hark new sparkle in sky & soil.
Break the binary, highs forever rave
through the universe on broken, bloody
feet. She flushes berry as we vine
& moan, love's music the world's oldest growl.
What answers yet untold to sore yearn
in flesh, leaves, summer's brittle buzz,
biting snowy dusks? How deep the inhale
of world's breath, how far heard its beat,
how great its song? Love she preys
on my hoary want, new thrills my
roots, thicks my fruits' honey. Worst
careen yet came, & I nearly fell.
What held, universe? What held?
Strange too, heart burst not my own,
its cry carried through me & along
the brown surf, riddles of gaunt fields, &
follow with blood's believing grit, something
matters & I do too, something matters & you
do too, fear the old bones a greening world
feeds. Dream tonight like a new universe
aborning. Love tomorrow & tomorrow til the most
rubbled face sheens with surprise & new want.
Raw sky flicks within & remember,
many streets then & high among the threads,
the one-legged prophet in his crown of sage,
redbearded antichrist roaring through trash,
his touch jarring soft, his long tattooed
lover with dripping brush & fell gone
melodies, shops & cities unknown histories,
how the hours recline & diminish.
Lost it hurts but sudden moments of miracle,
left glints, right caresses, shaking wild
the web, what's this face, why those words?
What the surface, which the dream?
Countless carriages, countless love, call it
all a freak's happy ride tonight & swing on,
your home no longer a from but a to.
He told me what matters in blind purple
rants, she sundanced out his rhythms with
flaming ropes, how the hours rise & play
blood better, lost when home no longer a where
but a why, tonight every tree & alley
sparkle with hunger to give & give & teach
What matters is when they bite you hard
you bite back harder. When the days taste
poison you spit them out & stop swallowing.
When love crushes, you crawl away fast.
When love flares again, you cackle & praise.
What matters is that you never look into
your glass & think: "shit." What matters
is if you do, scorch the world & raise anew.
Call it dreamlinger, tapped darkness within,
how teeth & claws snaggle private song, drag it
near, the tearing face, biting wings, wait
til it sleeps, wait til it sleeps. Monster's fade,
lift loose & gone, cling lastly to life's bastard hope,
when you flew between trees, conjure hands & go:
Hope calls two stones together a foundation.
Hope recks highest moon its true companion.
Now wake: let it follow your day, still
sleeping, let it near, no fade, no fear.
Face of torches rub you feline, urge you
hard, move you off a step, another.
Push back. Give it night's furious breath
from your depthless golden sack. Seize your song:
Spark up worlds unseen again & call it Art.
Remember wherefrom with spiking's rhythms of dignity.
Day's long grapple how it cuts at dream's
lingering vein, mocks by blind feeding
wire & clownish trade. How the faces bleat
quietly til a brightly goatish laugh & the day
shivers with brittle awe. What now, what next?
Life's fidelities seem much a brutish scatter:
But wailing swerve the golden crumble & neon bite.
Caterwaul prayer beyond jagged houses of habit.
Dusk spread by patches with a rust's creep,
by puddles with a ghostly prowl, come wilderland
of truths to city & ville alike. Shaped metal
bumped back by conflagrations of wood & rhythm.
Every flesh is lightning, ready for the wild
swing out & breach new the space within:
Now break it wide with want's raging torque.
Now the old mystery is anew: water & how you came to be.
Endless nocturne of abandoned roads &
trackless sky, collecting fragments of
God, heart bearing its scarves of hope,
tending to where mercy hoards & what pity
forgives. Wavering hands & leafless trees &
raw fear of the cage & grave too:
Dream leans you toward what leans toward you.
What's rising will bear you along until you learn how.
Path from I to we, through vines & sea,
through masques & blend, loud shows & Zen,
from I to we, sugar to ease, mutts
& dollies, freaks & lollies, neon umber
to petal rose, higher & higher, cliffs
& does, papers that blare, badges that sin,
what the exit out? Love's long fall within.
From I to we & again, grace both
neither & whole, the waking in kindness,
the blackout of cruel, small tails,
small hands, famous eyes, herds of
play--great men smile & climb lower, What
rests lightest is wisdom & spends just like sunshine.
Blue taxi blows green sparkles at my
low shamble, cold rains cut the night wide.
Again I am in love & know how to hang on despite.
Nocturnal music traces through neon & then oak.
I'm finding selves old & new within, again.
I am in love & ten men could not beat it off me.
Roads go nowhere til someone takes a new
step, nods, & a next one. I am in love
& can't tell my oldest brothers, they fall apart
in many of my dreams & urge nothing anymore.
As dogs we ran, chasing scent, calling
it song as men do. Where that scent now?
Raise it, that grace within your chest,
up, up now! Let it out. World howls truths
everywhere. Let it out! I am in love & trust you will do well.
High Road Over Water
These nights through my heart toward
older nights, starry clouds churning up song
among them. We still bloom, the stars
& books & wants & I, still careen the long
trails of hope on slow dank carriages,
watching wasted fences & men's fears aflame.
Still bloom, conjure scarlet fancies for maiden's
sigh. Still bloom, without root to worship
or demise yet known. Streetlights low on
highways accelerating press by huts of
half-dead souls, soon dream of what's gone.
These nights befriend without counsel, &
daylight come, secret fellowship dispersed.
What Bend, What Break
They brought him for powers he carried,
an odd human magick to shape words &
move souls. They crowded toward his hands,
offered their sugar & their sex, wished
also to see up, over, & through like him.
He inquired no names. At winter solstice
he punished the village by his absence.
By spring few remembered their older
sturdy days. Midnight bonfires devolved
to ritual, orgies fewer, mere ceremony.
Will crushed by devotion, old trees halved
for passing furies, birds & wolves gone
but the fullest moon. "You must believe!"
he cried through the cracks & the blood.
Eventually, nothing remained but the net.
Elusive sweet, seeds on a fading breeze,
what lips touched upon its highest hour &
still long keep, love in strong wood before
the first cut, what old clowns reign the
heart, what pines for our pining, how faces
seen at rest are going blurs of yearn, slaves to
what? Cries in the leaves wish but do not explain.
Fingers vibrate toward dusking night,
eyes less glaring, melodies cherry up again,
the long scar of years gentles to a pocked scroll,
my beloved turns to me in the crimson air
between us, hand to my face, heart to my yearn,
moon to my inner tide, roots to my new day's high.
Hand's shaking spoon raises the sweet,
his brown shoes gleam, his memories
warm with a secret day's kiss, the oils
smooth along her crevasses, flesh turns
to dust & feeds the world anew, spirit
pocks & breaks it a little more, whatever
god does creation's work smoothly between them.
His face a scarred bib tales of his many
raw hours. His bowl of leaves quell what
shaking loose within, a taste of water, still
hungry for a new friend. I want to tell him
no hour waits without mystery. My love
sups upon this feast without a passing word.
A few hours, a few faces, what blows
back in dreams, & again, some tavern's
thrashing joy, how love awled a crimson
scar, & another, remember in ink but
the prettiest notes still bear life's frail
stink, deepest rhythms will never undo,
today will join those days in dust & last forever.
Wilds in the travelled heart, where foul
from old dreams sunk in pitch, where growth
most ferocious no steady patch to stand—
Love become a fine sweet roaring, her touch
true sky to roots, danger to sadness remain,
stir to power within, prayer the universe may yield.
World boils in broken blood, put a coin
in his hand, merchants wrap the stench &
call it a prize to the morning crowds, kings
sober to its many centuries while assure
to the steady thump within, musicians find
its potent a knot with rhythms to wrestle,
melodies to lure rawer lovers into high
moon's dance. Put a coin in to his hand,
you have never lived before, your gestures
are your own, drive on harder tonight,
say no more to broken blood, begin there
on Pine Street by way of hope's insist you will,
a coin in his hand, a hand upon his side,
tap the light softly, perhaps its petals will
undo, world boils in broken blood, nod &
desist. Further along Pine Street another &
not turn away. Not again. Not for coins,
not for anything. Beggar what possible & reveal what else.
Sunk in flesh among hours, its snarls & mews,
watch two pups hurry in rhyme to a master's click,
I pass hungry for meat & tired of truth.
Flesh not dreaming of mountain or high book,
pink & green torrid for this sniffing, swallowing,
moment, trailing raindrops on a labia bloom,
three fingers against a cheek's shadow, moan
it harder, flesh for spiced fruit & jumpy
bourbon colored skies, sans a rule or a wrong,
only knots of blood remain to trace & call
history, flesh isn't listening & you blow wide again
Most hours a blunder toward suck or sup,
pass of dirty floors & wrecked hulls, & a
hundred dull eyes patter down & move by.
Then a causeless slip into the hidden sugar
of creation, what danced first & will shine last,
wings arc through amber skies & tangerine leaves--
Some face turns near or away. Brute flesh
raises corona of cries, howls from the war &
bed's empty dreaming. Blink, roar. Crumble & submit.
Beasts herd into boxes of knives & there is
no why but hunger & meat.
Long piss toward the far ether,
good greeting from the grass & passing
bodies, hot arc of years caterwaul
choiceless cling to this globe, nights
sweet when sips of spark & blooms,
foul when skin withdraws to olden soil--
when little difference seen between what
sings out one end & shits from the other.
Mending continues in the morning cold &
light, by drop by drop world accumulates
& exhausts. Roads crack by noon, burn, cities
follow. Kings & ways. Empty dusk instills the
desperate vigor of loss. She mixes berries with
moonlight & we eat--on night's lovely indifferent shores.
Raise it up again in your sweat & rags,
more of the olden song, still pushing
out the green buds & biting pink fruit.
Call it blood's deep thrash & no way out.
No way on. No way at all. Reck dusky light
curling round spurting leaves, the world's, your own:
One hand bids cross. The other blinks cease.
Yours yet to rouse up the third, & swing it hard.
What new earth dreaming nearer tonight?
What restless among babes & blossoms,
signals by oaks & across seas, who
expires grasping the extra word needed?
Nets in the sheen & veins high toward
explain, which rhythm brings us nigh?
Who born tonight knowing both war & its resolve?
A Fierce Wash of Clouds
"Where was I hiding out,
where did I bury myself?"
"May 16, 1973," 1993.
The hardest strums through the heart
came first, echoes running alien wild
through later years, strange melodic worlds
born of old hurt, forgot rails, a violet
hairbrush, & brutal indecision. Even now,
these nights of blowing crimson blossoms.
Hardest strums came first & reck their
echoes tonight, rain through a lover's
window feeding brightly where another hour's
like fang to flesh. Raw crowds in the
high moon leap toward them, dark nut of
deep forest burst with a thousand groping cries.
Hardest strums through neon desert cities
strange as chocolate, most visible from
afar, we heave, fall back, then another
morning, we break to fragments, liquid
to light to aching chalices of blood,
no explain better than memory's brutal freight.
Strum, strum hardest, bear the danger
within how you will, its endless question,
ceaseless yearn, bodiless laugh & yet
a fragrant promise in your passing
flesh, scrawled with scant instructions:
here comes the echo, here comes the strum.
Here you are still, not dead, finished, nor much begun.
The mesmer of dreamless yearn, a hand
relaxes in mellow light, no result but continue.
I am wishful of friends in the long terrestrial night.
Marry her touch of adore
to thoughts of least & less,
& call next moment by its truth:
a mystery, a vein brutal with flow.
The war first came when one man leaned
on another man's breath. Share the air or
seek its rule? Every hour newly decide.
Desire the fruit of heat, love sets
all alight. The trinkets governing
the streets boneless to a soft, hard, first kiss.
Each day sheds its hours like none before
nor any to come, this grass lord of all
green, that sky a god to all wishing
crimson's true glow, stars secret sheen.
New with breast unstroked, fruit just now
falling, egg's hatch, & hark that first new song!
Strums of fingers to moonlight's
window falling. A hand where a
heart needs it most. Where the break must heal.
By day I waste among coins & crowds,
become a freak's charnel of whiffing wishes,
fed to sunshine by toothed branches & burs--
By night I fall wide, slow & sudden
the pink flash, new fuel tumbles in,
hope's great careen, music's lawless surge--
yet what by morn remains of dream's brilliant harass?
The world's fleshly cage or a more primitive
spark the foul tether? Lawless wilds of
desire or the trail of crimson blooms unto
the straight costumed fury of settled men?
What skylines would blithe let burn for
another hour among violet shadows & wordless books?
Desire flutters in the shadow of a branch,
where a hand unnoticed reaches, less inches,
my nods between our words when I decide
(& decide again to be sure),
how walking together more we than astride,
& I don’t know where from or why,
from a linger to a lasting, a billow to a tide.
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