The Last Time I Saw You Sleeping

You slept that night, promised
to die- an offering, offering.

You're two eyes swimming
further, further back like

a perishing flower failing
the vine, a fish desperately

pulling bright-white string
out to terrible, distant seas-

reeled in finally.

Sweet weight, seizure,
slipping away, a ship from

its moor, moves carefully
like sun on a low-lying hill;

this born-again quiet,
this laced, silver film.

How strange, your mouth
lying against a blue, satin pillow-

unlatched and dreaming
and dreaming.



The book is a critic. "Like you",
he said, " better left un-opened".

You can use a knife to peel
an orange, though easier done

with your teeth; a scraping tool
is death, the irony of discovery.

Living, then, is a hazelnut,
smooth-skinned, unpenetrated,

natural as a grove choked by
brush, where mouse-birds nest

like lightbulbs of a chandelier
powdered in fine, brown dust.

The only freedom is light
outside its room, lost-

no layers or skein, just
wide, thoughtless shining.


When the Moon Becomes a Mouth

When I was sixteen
all day I'd stay awake,
a venus-trap waiting
for flies, honey-ed
mouth, a young moon
gathering clouds.

In my twenties,
a vibrant angel trolling
for stars; I could never
name the constellations
but I wanted to be one,
a cluster of one.

Thirty four... I gave up
prowling the nightskies,
settled my sights on the uneven
ground, learned to see
in the dark like an owl-
a large, slow bird.

Forty-some years, my ears
grown accustomed to voices,
faint as footsteps walking
in slippers, soft as touching
winter fur. Over and over,
they whispered: "listen closer".

Sixy-five hours draw nearer,
wrinkled wrists, furrowed lines,
worried brow. Weighted down
like fruit on its stem, a depressed
clown, the body is tested,
the mysterious, damaged.

Eighty seven, the moon
becomes a mouth, honey
sets on the tip of my tongue
and flies, so desired when
I was young, gather


Neither Wood nor Lyre

A bold-blue reflection
when the face turns

white is a sign
of suffering.

In another country
rain beats down

on poplar trees
bleeding purple;

my weary eyes
explain the sallow

skin of fading light.

All morning, sun
a crimson flower

cries blood into
a million hungry

iris; obliterates
the violet canopy-

neither wood
nor lyre will revive

the tattered dying.


Completely Rimbaud

He wrote about angels,
the rise and rumbling noise
of heavenly highways;

unharnessed the darker
savage shades of injurious
misfortunes to prey upon

the christian children.

Can a man be saved
if he cultivates duplicity?

Did God create the good
and evil, the summer

and its ravaged storms?

He drew a chain, a pirate's
rope and hung the masked
and poisoned souls like flags

he raised them to the sky;

the winds, his deep benevolent
pride snapped and whirling madly
cried: what precious weathervanes!

House Arrest

You were, yourself, a girl
when I was water's bud
drowning in your blood cells-

the way light evaporates
in a cave's cool, dark mouth.

We're separate now, though
often you forget that stones
were made for throwing

not holding things down
in place of gravity.

The temple is a body
disemboweled by its own
violent alchemy; priestess,

you taught me about expulsion,
the cutting away of heart

from its head. You're older now,
I am not far behind, not hidden
inside the silent house, the sleeping

pelvis that hangs like a single,
empty sock on the clothesline.


So the world wraps itself
in everything you knew,

there are seeds more
fallow than your flowering-


If all be told, if all
the meaning grew,

then sea and all
its tributary streams

would move, will achingly
spring forth undetoured,

overjoyed, extremed.

Now the river widowed
banks overflow the bridge,

the mastered long-boned
shoulders of earth turned

to gold, to rust, to love...

in an instant, dizzy rush
beautiful becomes a poet.