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—
alone, now, you rose up,
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.
Because he tapped me on my shoulder in the PC Bang and said, Do you want to go to ping pong room tomorrow? Because in the ping pong room we talked over instant coffee, and played Beatles music together. Because he asked, Do you want to go to Amen Church with me? And because I said yes and I sat with him in the chapel pews with his Korean-English bible, reciting Korean. Because he introduced me to his friends, culture, and way of life. Because he gave me hope on Sundays when I was alone. Because one night he said, Duck, let’s eat, and I said yes because I never had duck in another country, or soju to wash it down with. Because he slapped my back when a bone was caught in my throat and we watched it fling in front of us like it a slingshot. Because we couldn’t stop laughing about that. Because he showed me pictures of his son and daughter who are married and have their own families in Seoul. Because he’s a proud father and he inspired me to be like him, except perhaps with a little less of the late-night gambling, soju, and cigarettes at the PC Bang. Because I hugged him before I left South Korea. And, because it’s hard to hug people these days.
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.
The Company of Wolves, “The Story of Grandmother”
All the pretty girls in their bright red hoods, against forest green, blizzard white, diamond mine, pure flame. Each her beast of cunning oncoming, filthy blast of desire, lostness of love. The dance behind everything a stumble through the woods, strut down a narrow path, fumble at the door. Behind it, always, grandma in grandma drag, rocking, knitting, humming a pop song, cuddling her Bible, cradling her shotgun. The guts in jugs on shelves, ferocious tease of teenage nipple, the cunt you never see. Everything turns from cartoon to feast of horror and back again, looping forever, origin story to grind of endtimes, sacraments of warning, damnation, redemption, salvation. The woodsman who comes chops everything up and stacks it in neat piles smeared with granny, the wolf, the girl. That he himself escapes is never in doubt. She forever puzzling over path of pins, path of needles, he confirmed and solemnized in path of axe.
They told me to leave town and take the Russian with me. She had a penchant for
pearl strings and ring tattoos on her fingers and toes.
It was suicidal not to comply. We barricaded the glass door of my house with chairs and mirrors, pulled the blinds down, ate caviar on buttered bread and drank champagne straight from the bottle while wearing nothing but gun holsters: in hers—the Desert Eagle, and in mine—Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Revolver. I cocked my gun half a dozen times. In the morning, the stars faded, the neighbors ran away, three black limos arrived, and ten guys with AK-47s fanned out.
The Russian came out from the bathroom with a toothbrush in her hand.
“I hope they brought caviar,” she said. “We are running low.”
hiked skirt, alert
atoll, coral lace bleached to pieces
blasted to patches of cover, duck
under the fabric of safe damask
hidden features of the past
spiked earth coerced
from circle to interrupted girth,
fetish of flash, of fried fish
spurted to Piscean heights
ceilings of an active sex
dispersed. She was a pretty young thing,