Sunday, May 13, 2007

52-Pick Up May - Week 3

Reading Backwards, Pilgrims Happen Upon The Secret Map

This is how we read. Divining the miscreant,
slipping the knots of chronology. There and there—
in conversations with the dead
in sparks of bolt and wrench
above a moon keel-hauled by thievish company,
we dally. Become turncoats to order as a leaf falls
where it will. Long ago, we killed the navigators
of precise means and let caprice, the backward ghost
of slant, gather in the seams. As seer, it tells us,
tell us stories in bits and strings, gives us
tooth and tumbler, the wild figuring of sing.
So our caravan travels happily with the masked
bandits of sense. Cartographers affix small
dots of worship and pilgrims follow, discover far-
flung continents of pĂȘche, orchards of bloom—a man
sobbing at the flicks. We lead him. We lead him right
to left. We sing him to the peach.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

52 Pick-Up May - Week 2


I’ve been inhabited, spooked and haunted many
times. I know it when I walk the boardwalk
in the fog. Late at night. And see a white
rose, which I was given by those who came
before me, by the silent audience restless
in row seats at The Swan. They say it is an
echo. They said it is not yours. That you are a night
princess in your tiara—a little tyrant primping
before you sleep. As soon as you pluck a stem,
the blood beads on your finger. This slight pain.
It’s only the light. It’s only the light dribbling
at your feet. It’s only the plastic
chrysanthemums left in your dressing room—
a late sashay under the flashbulb of the moon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Now We Sleep in Double Beds

Even the Thin Man in dapper robe leered
at his wife from his twin bed. We imagine

him getting up in the night and crossing over,
crossing this great divide dotted in bed

slippers. Nora, Nora, he would pipe, you
are far away and the moon rises, champagne

chills on the nightstand.
She is coy. And we
only imagine the unbuttoning, the layers

of frothy negligee disappearing off screen.
We grew up in black and white, separated

from our father’s desires, our mother’s
cloaked sighs. Her apron was spotless all

day. Each night she posed before her mirrored
armoire. A mock rehearsal. Brushing, brushing

—one hundred strokes until her hair shone like Troy’s
Helen. But he lay an aisle away and knew her tresses

were a trick, that he would not transgress.
Her hand, as always, hovers on the lamp

switch. Good night, she says. There is everlastingly
The Kiss. A quick fumble, the camera’s pan.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Letters to One Who May or May Not Be in Jiangsu Province

Henrys, Margarets and Sophias, one grave
marked Theodore. Before the noisy rustle,
a fall in choral suite, I did not know this rasp.
How my voice would go as you have gone. So soon.

Or where, which latitude—or was it north
to south? Now excavating, my planchettes
—a shovel, a brush and pen—point
east to China seas. Through the core,

I dig. Exhume ash and old woods petrified.
Along the banks of Qin Huai the forests
grow lush though blue amid a hapless stirring.
My trowel brushes a desiccated

onion, a skin. I quarry the red heart
and spade toward this or another day.
Kneeling low, feet almost shy and propped
in tidy furrows, I write of famine—

on the page’s throat, on a parched fold.
When you see the mulch crumble in the light, look
for the mute who bears a foot, a palm, a conch
as offering. Like the woman in Jiangsu who listens,

an ear to the earth, this shell holds the other
chamber, where green sounds shush east and west.
Between, the lines criss-cross, invigilate
which way, on what meridian we rest.

52 Pick-Up May - Week 1

Blindfolded into Sleep

Consider Lady Jane, how Delaroche painted her
with eyes bound in white silk. In a white
dress, with so much gloss upon her, she shines.
She shines like an optic blight. Cover your eyes.
Morning comes with shots, with blows.

The black hood the executioner wears at beheadings,
the mumbled petition for forgiveness,
the fall of the axe— whose eyes, face, lip in its down
turning should be masked? At dawn,

they line up spies, blindfold and tie them to a post,
as if their eyes would capture the report. Smoke-
blurred, the faces of the firing squad fix on first light's
mark. Like a daguerreotype, the dead reflect the faces
of their executioners. As I slip silk over my eyes to blot

out the leaking brightness— all gleam, all stars, the moon,
its glimmer— I wonder

what hood goes on what head.
How death has so many protocols.
How the victim's eyes staring into the barrel
bend bullets into the air. Or so it seems.

52 Pick - up

Recently I participated in NaPo. I found that forcing myself to write so quickly freed me in many respects from worrying about the audience. You know those pesky birds that seem to perch on your shoulder like the devil and block you from writing.

In keeping with that experience, I intend to continue to write often by writing and posting at least one poem a week. 52 weeks, 52 poems! I will be removing the poems as I sub them as editors are getting very persnickety: if they google and find your poem, they may not publish it.

Nic, Julie and Scavella are up to no good with a different kind of writing twisty. Write 1000 lines in IP!