Even Charon on the grift –
pennies in the eyes to die
were fool's gold –
no more scrimping off deadbeats,
no hustling poor-mouth shades
in their scarecrow burial suits:
The Lethe now full Disney,
theme park’d thrills and chills –
the Daredevil, the Hellfire, the Screamer –
"Look ma! No hands!"
Folks can't get enough.
Grab a BeelzeBurgerTM with cheese.
One more time, pretty please?
Lucifer's Crash Cars, the Dirt Nap Fun House –
"Step right up!" – midway shooting galleries
with rapid-fire, drop clip nightclubs –
and over here: nine-layer Inferno Sundaes,
sno-cones cold and blue as lips.
When night falls, take the River Ride.
Premium death wishes
and first class cabins on the boat,
or just fly over private jet –
enjoy casket-strength bourbon
chilled with whisky bones.
Oh Miyata, Miyata my love,
you can't take it with you, no.
I've called for your car,
and filled your marble suite with roses.
Your chauffeur holds his cap out
for a tip.
I'm so sorry, your purse is empty –
the white one you never used
from the bottom dresser drawer.
The driver will take a kiss in lieu –
Your mouth, a burnt offering.
Your eyes, payment in ash.
Throwing a clay
is how you stick your
in the world's muddy
Yeah, smash it down
grind it in and let the earth
you're a weird little angry
There you go, that feels
now right? Scrap it all and start
just like poems, better luck next
So here goes: I pound it
and scrape in a gyre of
with my unclipped finger
welcome now please the
to drop its beak down a record
and caw, claw us all back
to kingdom come
Trio for Cello
(Musician Conspicuously Absent)
The Bow I am high-strung of horsehair, racehorse-quivering, all nerves in the gate, this quarter-horse no quarter nor quarter note but eighth, sixteenth, thirty-second, galloping sixty-fourths furlong over furlong into a split finish – curry me with favor or I will buck and whinny across your course of notes The Strings Yes, yes, I hear you say catgut is passé, yet you want purr and yowl, and when plucked hear a lion provoked – then lay your finger lightly on my neck, grimalkin vibrato or black cat magic might be yours, become a familiar – would you trade your soul for this taut beauty? The Cello My ribs were bent in heat on hard forms, my chest carved spruce as if the jackknife of lovers on my bark were not enough, love's idea chiseled by steel deeper and rounder until you say this shape will carry song, this will make a moan for two lying under the branches
She said to me: "your ode to the moon is a bird pecking frantically at light in a dirty puddle – futile but for its shit on the pavement, which was at least warmer and brighter, than anything you had to say." And I turned the words over in my hand – what I had imagined was a sparrow – was indeed without life, its fluttering not a heartbeat nor untested wings, but the wind blowing scraps of fortune cookie tropes from the empty nest of my pages. The terrible sound that followed – like endless boxcars empty of thought rattling across the plains – the sky a million points of darkness as locusts of Haiku descended, ravaging and leaving only stubble in their wake.
Fun Facts in today's paper,
an obituary from 125 years ago –
one Lottie Porte , 21,
"for whom the Angel of Death
has brought her spirit welcome release."
I think yes, that is it, exactly,
no soft "passing" –
when I go, leave me to a winged avenger
with her flaming sword,
my mortal coil severed at a stroke.
Do not then write about me gently –
leave my shadow spiked
on the sharp hands of midnight,
my last hours and minutes
spear tips pointed to the sky.
Thank you Lottie, may you rest in peace,
you lead me to the gate
where a language of dying swings –
leave me now to mourn and grieve
Spring – what a comedian! warms up on stage, daffodils crack like a joke through gaps in the pavement. We wait for it – but today's punch line a slagging, obscene wind – the crowd boos. Gardens are a three-ring spectacle – clown cars of tulips fill the planters, roses snap their whips in hoops of flame. Soon the flying trapeze and magic act of Summer – 'til then I rest my head in the jaws of tiger lilies.
Narrator: qbit, yours truly, marking his morning rounds of the salt marsh Chorus: A pair of steel-rimmed spectacles Lightning cracks one hundred years of sky – The faraway docks of Gothenburg are made of stone, made of stone its boats are moored to iron rings So lightning goes to ground comes around, comes around and ground returns to lightning Finally then at sea, mornings among the deck hands calling back and forth, back and forth Gulls suspended off the bow where you stood, fly neither forward nor back, waves are waves are waves are waves A century's wind holding them in place – over the harbor I watch them marking time neither sky nor water have that answer I turn from the ocean to a path of hard bounty – stone and sand held out to you, simple dirt floor of the world this was known, this was known Poems in your journal untranslatable, yet I carry them with me still, and mine, a stranger has put to wind of foreign tongues Iceland come, Croatia come, Kurdistan come, and on to the East, to the West, North wind, the Southerlies Heirloom flowers that grow from gristle and tendon blow like seeds, blow like seeds from across the ocean Could you have known then, Could you have known one day my hands would be so cold?
it doesn't work that way unless you grab the lead gull's beak and pull until a thousand wings unzip the sky, thin air parted from blue waves split along a conga flight-line of birds from shore to shore their haka gull cries like Māori stamping and line dancing on the beach, horizon halved, snaps of winter's coat popping open, the flocked velvet of our flight so new that down glistens from sun breaking on the surface of the water we don't know what to say to each other just watch the sky unfold like two great wings of blue lifting us higher as line after line of gulls keep coming, line after line of white hyphens with black commas at the tips of their wings pulling toward some vista of summer and home that beckons but never arrives was never meant to arrive just keeps us moving towards the distance you and I holding hands still amazed
|If I were a lamb||cha-cha-cha|
in a lion’s tooth coat
|If I were a fish||suited to sharkskin,|
rhumba ’til dawn
|If I were a sparrow||in cowboy falcon boots,|
shaking the floorboards
over the heads of mice
|I contain dualities,|
of toast and coffee,
oatmeal and eggs
|when I look in the mirror||I need a shave|
|the glass will not shatter|
if my dark wing
|touches the light|
Poetry is made in bed like love
Its unmade sheets are the dawn of things
On The Road To San Romano
by André Breton (tr. Charles Simic & Michael Benedikt)
By gracious way of Charley over at Portofino