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 is buried – leave me now to mourn and grieve the loss.
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
"I chalk my hands with Icarus ash, the vault and rings of heaven before me" – qbit "I saw you dip seagulls in blackest ink for crow words" – qbit's wife I am spray can, graffiti hearted shake shake shake you awake, that metal ball in your chest rattles and rolls, rocks and tolls, mixes me up I paint the dog fierce tiger stripes, line the lion with the lamb your fizzy-fuzzy thoughts, your vaporized fog of war on words mixybest trixytest krylon onomotopaint liquitex rust-oleum, rust's proof of the rainbow please, godsend of snow, a sleet primer
Gentle reader – I walked again the beach this morning for inspiration, for the cold to cut off my nose in spite of everything Where the muttering sea has deeded seals, deer, shoes, and an aviatrix or two – winter provisions for me to thaw and saw and see their way into poems Today there was a piano – seaweed in many keys and colors – high and low tangled strings pitched overboard, vibrating in the felt hammer of wind Fishing nets, with notes caught up from operatic sardines, clams arpeggiated in scallop flats You ask me how to get to Carnegie Hall and I say "Practice" but it is many miles to row and chase the whaled Manhattan armed with harpoons of vaccine Will we return to the abandonded city we fled with toilet paper flapping out the windows of our car like unspooled rolls from a player piano, like flags of surrender?
As she bent to answer the conch telephone – hold it to her ear and take a call from the bottom of the sea – my wife found a sandal washed ashore. Green with algae and black with mold, the uppers were split, its sole flapping. Some sturdy glue holds together what remains, stitching no shipwreck could undo. It is the color of broccoli, charred with oil, cracked pepper, and sea salt that I learned to cook in sheet pans this year. A flapping soul – how could it be otherwise? Were we always these gulls returning to land?
pawprints of feral cats snowprance around the dead seal where winter licks its wounds – hungry sex kittens doing lap dances, their warm tongues in the bullet hole that killed him – strippers all, teeth ripping seal meat into g-stringed ribbons of fur naughty muse, naughty muse, you've caught me in your vice – we are after all but peeping Toms and Thomasinas two bull-neck males bark threats from out in the waves – warnings, grief, hunger – they keep watch over their own like bouncers – there will be no more grave robbing for me today