Monday, January 31, 2011

We Are All Waiting for Intermission

The angel starts, the angel stops.
It is said that music paints brighter
faces but music doesn’t paint.
Sing, sing,
shut-eyed hear them
playing the strings of time with their toes.

Joy is the breath of a man who died once.
Joy is the breath of a man who lives.

I heard the angel start and I heard him stop.
Heard silence like we see
pure in its echo of lesser things,
echoing never speaking a lesser thing:
I saw the white silence and I knew His voice,
knew Him when the angel was silent.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"By day and by night he moved among distorted images of the outer world."

Full of the black bent lines of hundreds
of pages and the sounds that their twisting and their standing
straight make, I prayed

and they unlocked their vicious chaotic embraces,
rising like steam,
dissipating like steam.

And a sound came

wispy like the feather
or tail of some creature

a single sound full of one
conversation’s crumb, like the invisible hook flung from a door closing
on two friends in a dim room:

Your voice, and like in a dream I knew it and its being
about me,
you and the slick toothy shadow
beside you, being about me, and I saw you
and the closing door and your voice
more true to my eyes than the sounds spelled
out in my hand, and I heard you say something
lovely and simple about me.

Deuteronomy 4:19

And I saw you, the brightening.
Clouds came crashing like dead metaphors
pregnant with passion and all
the wrath of love turned little, and all
rain. Mostly it was just rain.
But I stood there in the field of my being
and turned my eyes up to the sun and the moon,
which are my eyes,
and turned them up and saw reflected in the very face
of the sun (which was not the sun but my left eye)
your face,
and seeing it seen made me ashamed,
made me very ashamed, hot and very ashamed.

Do not repeat yourself; it is not interesting.
Do not repeat. You are not interesting.

It seeps through the flesh of me like rain
rejected by dry soil and flung up, this tangle of sound.
Tangled I am and full of sound.
I see your face; I dig a hole

in the dry ground and I spit dead water at the sun
and at the moon I spit dead water.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Psalm 91

Here, ah! the soft hands of home, my back
held by the chair-back, sitting on sitting
man-like legs standing on flat wooden hands
held out together, a valley of palms.

calm. Finally held! not

flung, my mind whirs, soul sleeps,
will wills thin fingers through a shell of smooth
impermeable fear. I am warm here,
warm and true, and open, and white.

John 15:3

Soul groans. I see the light
twisting and dancing in your face but the inside
of me is gray and damp; I cannot reach
you I am trying weakly, lifting a weak arm.

Why do you say the rooms in me are lit?

Someone lodged a thumb upside
down in my stomach, through the spot
my belly was once fed.

My mouth is dry.
My mouth is dry.
My mouth is

Monday, January 10, 2011


They were very hungry and squabbled
with one another about who should have remembered
to buy date cakes or figs from Jerusalem
before they left but a sharp-and-low Men!
and a pointed finger
made the hot night freeze
and they, breathless, and finally silenced,
in shadows covering their long-
awaited, high-rumored, light-blazoned king
found a child.

I saw a crown
the shape of America in my mind
and said, Yes, this is right.

What’s “right”? my neighbor asked
and I saw him too, gold lining his body
like light; before I could answer,

men and women walking
and sitting past him started glowing
metallic—some crowns

stretched wider over heads, or hands;
some were silver, many fixed
with precious jewels, some plain;

he started talking
about the intolerance
of being right

and the goodness of Machiavelli
and Rousseau
when combined

by an American,
but I could barely hear, caught
in chains gold singing Glory.

Capernaum near glittered
and the sea smelled like home, but his mind
still sat on the question, Why—
At the local tax booth Matthew’s surrogate
was calling for coins, but the cries
landed mute at mechanical feet,
moving a mind whirring, Why do they call me—
At the shore he looked out and breathed in
and almost felt alone there and turned his face
and asked Why don’t they do what I— two men
touched him from behind, old men
he knew from the synagogue’s doorway,
pleading for a Roman who loved
the old men, their God, and his servant
nearing death. He agreed, started walking,
but halfway to the house the Roman
shocked him and showed him

She Gasped

And when his heart opened
Palestine gasped. It was a wall broken,
two long lines of strangers, neighbors,
stunned eye to stunned eye,
sharp awed wonder before the dull
constant continuing ache of war.

Otherwise We Will Be Scattered Over the Face of the Whole Earth

It took me a long time (too)
to see we speak, you and I, into two tongues.
The honey on mine crystallized and cut your throat;
you swallowed yours;
it went to your head.

It's not

the right time, the right rhythm.
I could point out certain high places
in the current of ideas; why would I? This stream
is cold it is rushing. I am sorry to
bring you to this desert, where only
hard words, deep-rooted, survive. But see
how beautiful the stark sky not reflects
but reaches like a hand reaching for a loved hand in.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I have three email accounts and two phones

Coupon Susan wants me to know that something
surprising is happening on her website, she is yelling at me
about vegetables. Thanks Suzy but I have some potatoes
already and they have only just begun to sprout.
And my couch is green. I consider asking her
about what the weather is supposed to be like tomorrow
but she’s not real. Before the show comes back
I am in the kitchen, the window made mirror by night
showing me shocked, robe creeping down shoulder, dry hair
and pale face and the lights of other kitchens
across the street, all I wanted was a cookie. I’m back and
apparently it’s Victoria's secret semi-annual sale,
I’ve got to be there, if not to meet the little girls with big eyes
and no clothes, to buy favorite panties I’ve never seen
and can’t afford. Sorry, I'm sick and respectfully
decline. The way I’m telling my night
you might think I live in some fetish fantasy or democratic
dream (imagination is about three-quarters horror) and I’m sure
there’s some way to say this more in keeping with social
science but the point is it’s dark and so quiet
at night.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

At Least

Loneliness is fierce tonight. I had not
expected him to be as hungry as he is, but of course
I would be too were I ignored
for months.
I almost wish he were not mine. He feeds
on things that must be done

and rent checks. Guilty for forgetting,
I pet and serenade him, singing slow songs
and wishing secretly for the sun’s strong hand.

At least
this dark creature biting my elbow is faithful
and mine.