february 2008

autumnstory

a certain tree rooted

in cracked soil and

a few newspaper filaments

wielding gnarled branches

and cowls of Spanish moss,
in the wind;

there clinging, tenacious,

to a fungi-spotted limb

(and slipping, slightly):

a single leaf:

more determined than its brethren
( less weak, as it were)

but slipping–

sl
i
pping

despite countless efforts to clingtighter,

slip; ing and then–

divested of traction–

f
a
l
l
ing,

plummeting–

into a waiting hand

156

i am quietly cutting away
at my shell, chopping bone
and ripping planks,
peeling back selves
in search of a core;

my nails are splitting–
my hands are caked in entrails
and i am quite tired of digging
(i am no archaeologist)
but i will persist,
for your sake

though i am quite sure by now
that there is nothing underneath.

a song for daemon: saliva

we are on two opposite sides of the table:
my wrist is aching pulled tendons from raking you across the coals–
i’m trying; to make you bleed me.

at least then you’ll remember me.

(eyes
lips

fingertips

hands

palms

nether calm (disturbed);

“i’m sorry.”

“why?”

“you said never to get attached, and here i want your blood

“….i’m attached too.” )

but we never said a word.

c’est mon dada

i saw a butterfly
white,
its wings damp-clung to its spindlebody
like folded linen and i said
“how do you learn to fly, little one?”

he raised his head- focusing thousands of lenses on my image–
and in a withered voice too old for his colors
he whispered “it’s how i was born”, and i nodded:
“but why do you only fly south, little one?”

he attempted to flutter his wings–
flapping sounds like clean laundry, minute (or is it laundry
that sounds like magnified wings, sweeping wind
where the sun cannot reach to dissipate it) and whistled
“it’s the direction in which my mind was made
(as opposed to up)”

i nodded–

— “but little one,” and here he blinked at my voice,
“why don’t you ever fly west, perhaps east,
north for a change? couldn’t you find warmth in any place,
so long as there was shelter?”

the butterly unfolded its wings fully then
and they were resplendent in utter pallor–
bright white sheets of cellcloth
sculpted to fit his sides;

he lifted himself after one two three attempts
with a grunt, fluttered slowly
testing his new ability to land slightly exhausted on my nose.
he looked me in the eye, with all his minieyes
all seriousness,
said
“just what direction do you fly, big one?
how do you know where to go?”

and i replied, “i don’t. my heart decides

and my body follows”

the butterfly scoffed, swept away in a huff
and found himself carried downward by a draft of rain

it’s easier to blame myself

oh, witch eyes.
we could have been an anthology together, you and i;
haiku of silk skin and skeins of dark hair on sheets,
the seventeen-syllable synopsis of sense:
a reflection to the sky of its vastness in ourselves, mirror mirror,
a rhyme to reason, a madness for every method

(and haven’t we enough madness between us,
you with your voices and myself with my moods?)

i shudder to think.

and we might have made them shudder,
might have sent the same thrill down some unknowing reader’s spine
as your fingers and your eyes caused in me, aftershocks violent enough
to register on the Richter scale;

we could have been free verse, our breaths, ideas,
concepts of control and callousness
and such horrid beauty it made the moth on my lips flitter briefly
so his wings seemed invisible enough for my words perhaps
to pass for once (but i am still silent).

we might have been an experiment in sensation,
a lesson in pleasures untold which blacken the proper man’s mind
so he rapes his bedsheets;

we could have been the poet laureate of the world,

the last gilt-paged tome left to treasure
in the wake of the burning books,
for scholars centuries from now to ponder:

who left such feelings behind, they would question–
how could human hearts have held such weights,
such freedoms,
such lofty desires, we–
but no.

we are no poem, but a splatter of ink easily bleached clean in time for work;

you broke the pen, and it was my hand that guided yours.

_________ picking

your wild taste:
exotic berry juice spit
from your berrylips;

i dip my tongue to taste again
the sour sweetness of i love you
from the fount that is your mouth.

is this a kiss,
or am i in some forbidden vineyard
dark under a moonlit nothingness,
stealing wine direct from the hanging vines
and flittering with pounding heart and racing pulse

through the grass home again? are you Dionysus?

are you home?

such wasted words, these.
as if any could ever encompass these moments between us
or fit you neatly into a little drawer like hoarded memories.

(of course, even knowing this I continue to try.)