A single match isn’t worth shit
and she knows it. Is everyone
really ignoring her or is she
just feeling sorry for herself?
You can’t tell me she goes
unnoticed: a girl on the boulevard
half dressed. Someone out here
is into that kind of thing, but
what advice do we have for her,
ladies? What about fair trade
and quiet acquiescence?
Think Cinderella, Snow White
or any number of dolls who held
their wares aloft like flaming cakes.
Call it a modern day fairy tale:
A girl on a street corner,
a couple of matches to her name,
a holy host of magazines plying
her with pithy asides and makeup
application tricks: You, too, can have
this couch, this fire, this tree, this man,
all you have to do is freeze.
Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind
A single match isn’t worth shit
Decisive, divisive, deceptive,
the lack of room to breathe
fully, what context blooms
to meaning, the walls only fogged
remembrance. Rain spokes
from trees, clops on roof,
tinks at window. Mold stink sifts
from sills and rotting porch.
Bone swallow, blue hollow.
The flat clouds are a façade
of clouds, collapsed into
a comic book,
a sky that always
promises a cropping
(if given enough water)
and lunch on a park bench
because even strangers
I descend into other parts
of the morning
the skies partly cloudy
along the beaches—
by midday the gloom
will linger inland like fatty tumors
along the spine of low mountains
I can’t avoid the sky,
its ethos of haze or fog—
between allies of pavement,
the sea somehow
maintains its scent, always
this smack of salt
Both of us gray enough to pass for blue,
the great heron and I, in the tall cordgrass
inspecting the silt for silver to sustain us.
I want to stilt with her through the mud
and glasswort, tidal and flat, our salt circling
the cracks in the cries we use to code infinity.
alone, now, you rose up,
held in humus milk,
caterwauled to the cacophony
of fluid strewn with silage—
with a coronet of frozen dark
and sequined stars held to
your head perched low,
Blue pickerel weeds snarled
glossy leaves into your hands,
caught in the swath of dragonflies
and great crested newts—
an almost brooding sound,
less wind-swayed in its journey
around the mist-rinsed pond,
bayed a rustle fainter than earth
over your skin: a pelt of wiggles-
suckled, algae surfaced, delicate light
hatched in tapestry of perennial
sandy loam, gilded with bare bones
of your city that went underwater—
A herd flees,
fords the river’s sun-bright passage—
A white incised line follows a bone burin—
To accentuate the counterpoint,
a sudden turn to adagio—
A gesture preserved, a gesture alive in the act of making a mark—
Every father is
at some point
Saul with a fist
full of javelins.
Both of you stop this.
Stop hitting yourselves
with tennis rackets.
A vacuum balloons in
my chest. Presented with pricks, I
kick. A pilum lets fly,
skids on concrete in a comet
of sparks. My autoharp falls
dumb. Outside, meteors, metaphors.
Each fallen god looms larger just as
the windmill blade on a flatbed seems
taller than the windmill and the bough
the gale cracked off, wet and black on the
ground, is tree enough and more and
the Ding an Sich is not for you; you get
only one of its narrow dendrites, filament-thin,
reaching high, hungry for signal.
All things are under the wings of doubt—
cattle and the fruits of the earth,
men and women,
the menstrual flux, the flow of milk
Between her legs,
with her hands, she summons her health
as if it were flowing from the knife,
the foundation of loss.
Some men came to a stream.
One of them took off his clothes
and went into the stream
and tasted it and declared that it was true.
Without words, action is secret.
Out of the water,
the man’s hand suddenly burned.
Under the threshold of the door,
the bones of a name said
I have my own hands, and a little hole,
unknown to touch or look.
I have seen the fields, the air,
and been within the year to prove this.
They shit too much,
the swallows nest
above the mail box
with black eyeliner
or wings on the eyes
of Elizabeth Taylor
who would be jealous
of their blue brilliant as a
bought jewel from the
mouth of Richard Burton.
They strike in dips
and ignore the beautiful
women who catch them
and use their forked
tails to pencil in eyebrows.