Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sonnet XXIV: Bafflement

I am angry with you,
never approving what you say or do.
That's unfair to you.
I do not understand why you do not love what I love doing,
do not want what I want,
wooing with tepid songs and tarnished rings,
and being satisfied with things I abhor.
Yet this existence I chose,
and now that I despise my life,
I hate you for the lies I invented.
a distance alights on me:
I know how great is this injustice--
still I hate.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Honest

You all keep telling me how honest I
am, and I guess it's cute when I unlock
my mouth and truth comes bluntly out. You mock
me, for I am not honest; I would try,
if I were honest, not to cheat or lie,
to say, "Don't bother racing with the clock,
'cause I'm indifferent" and (to his shock?)
"I'd rather read than kiss you, dear; goodbye"

because to be that close to him would be
a lie, and I--so honest!--would be sick
if I were forced to try it. You must see
that I am done. The lovely smile I pick
to wear today--ironic--walks with me
along the aisles of pantomime and brick,

and we are glad to be alone. My place
inside the world--the world itself--conspires
to make me ill. Though part of me desires
to fool you, for I want, in any case,
for you to like me (and I know that's base),
there's part of me revolted by the wires
I pull. I cannot understand how choirs
of people praise me. On my brazen face

was not there written something? In my eyes
could nothing be divined? I have no gift
for lying, as you know, but somehow lies
come through me. Is it acting? If I sift
a wish ("I love you") out and (too unwise?)
repeat it over, might my feelings shift?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Haiku on the Bathroom Floor at 5:30 am

Haiku are poems
with prescribed syllabic form
and themes of nature.

These follow the rules,
but they don’t deal with nature—
they’re not real haiku.

(Why does “ha-i-ku”
take three beats in Japanese,
but in English, two?)

Yesterday it rained.
The sky was strange and lovely.
I stood out in it.

I might have been drunk,
but it’s not a hangover—
I think I’m just sick.

This is the worst pain
my stomach has ever felt.
I wish I would die.

Maybe I’m poisoned.
The salsa Patty brought us
was way too potent.

I’ve not slept enough—
it’s early in the morning;
I sway on my feet.

I lie on my back
in Corpse Pose and breathe deeply.
The floor is so cold!

I try to use it,
to acknowledge, diffuse it,
but I’m distracted.

I have to crunch up
in a seiza or Child’s Pose
for the ache to ease.

I make myself small,
my forehead on the cold floor,
my knees under me.

Too sleepy to think—
at least in cogent phrases—
focus with haiku...

“The gray kitten leapt
on the nearest piece of flesh
and bit ‘til it bled.”

My guts fucking hurt,
and the floor is fucking cold.
What the hell—kittens?!

I will spend today
getting last night’s lost sleep back,
if this pain will stop.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

You'd Think You'd Think Something About It

About that--what do you think?
You'd think you'd think something about it.
It's a word drowning in ink;
it's a stare, and it's a blink:
the dictionary is without it.
About that--what do you think?
So forgiveness on the brink
makes everyone seeing it doubt it.
It's a word drowning in ink.
You can eat, and you can drink,
but only there if you can shout it.
About that--what do you think?
And the child--light blue or pink--
not bleeding, not breathing, so flout it;
it's a word drowning in ink,
and the lies lying in stink
have grown in your lungs. If you scout it,
about that--what do you think?
It's a word drowning in ink.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Alberic the Blond and the Snake Lady (from Vernon Lee)

Luna's princelet opened sleepy eyes on
a rocky island where no man had been.
He was all alone, his sacred prize on
his sunken ship along with all his men.
Lifting up his face from the forgiving
sand, he brushed it from his eyes, from living
and lively yellow curls, and looked around.
A cold, transparent river split the ground
into two and fed the sea. He, bending,
from the unsampled stream took heart and drank.
He followed it along its mossy bank,
wandering for hours through woods and mending
his spirit in the fields through which he passed,
but found no sign of human life. At last,
in the pleasant afternoon, he stumbled
upon a berry patch that scratched the backs
of his gentle hands each time he fumbled
inside it, gathering the reds and blacks
that shone bright as jewels. He persisted:
total victory, to him, consisted
in ignorance of pain. Besides, the prince
did not know what was safe to eat here, since
he had never been allowed to wander
at home among the gardens or been taught
to feed himself on roots. His sword was not
useful for the hunt. He stopped to ponder
his fate and make his plans beneath a tree;
on soft, green grass he slumbered soundlessly.

After days, he came upon a forest,
untouched and denser, darker, tangled more
than the prince had yet seen. Screeching chorused
with croaks of dreadful night-birds when he bore
down on limbs with iron-gloved fists like boulders
and they broke apart. With knees and shoulders
he forced a path; he trampled underbrush;
then roaring as from stripe-skinned tiger plush
or of lions came. He grasped with pity
his two-edged sword and hewed the interlaced
and twisted branches; the resulting waste
filled with sobs as from a vanquished city.
The Knight of Luna asked the wood to stop
its anguish, begged forgiveness with each chop.
"But," the boy insisted, "I continue,
for I must get to Reynold, set him free
from the force that binds him, bone and sinew,
with wild embraces clasp him close to me,
go with him to Sparkling Water Castle,
and her, to whom I am but a vassal,
await with him beside the mossy well.
I will go on, for in this tangled hell
I can sense a fearsome, wondrous power
that surely rules; I'll conquer all his might
as I am surely sworn to do--for I'm a knight--
make him take me home." Our flower,
undaunted, cut his way into the wood.

Behold! Before the prince, a castle stood,
lordly, as if some great Duke might rule it,
upon a plain between two running streams.
Silent rose the portcullis; lights, too, lit
as though by unseen hands. As in his dreams,
the enchanted drawbridge lowered, splintered;
fifes and bugles sounded as he entered,
but nowhere could he see a single wight
to do these things as living humans might.
Alberic went in and found a stable,
storerooms full of arms, and chambers spread
with heavy, velvet covers on each bed.
In the banquet hall, an oaken table
was steaming, savory. A giant chair
stood at the table's head. A cup was there,
full of wine that flushed his pale complexion
the moment that he sipped. A calming voice
called his name with welcoming inflection.
An unseen chorus begged to sing his choice
of motet, and viols played. He quickly
sat, and as he did, the unseen, tickly,
invisible hands filled his plate with sweets,
caressing him. He laughed and swung his feet
from his perch and drank more than was clever.
When he was full, he faced the nearest ghost
and drank the health and fortune of his host.
"I will be your faithful slave forever!"
he swore in fervid gratefulness and laid
his hand upon his sword. He stood and swayed
on his feet, then blushed at his condition
and sought to lie upon the marble floor
in the many carpets. In this mission
he failed; the shining armor that he wore
was unbuckled; pieces of his clothing
were removed. He blushed with guilty loathing
for his unfinished body. Silken robes
were given him. Uncomfortable with probes
from unseen attendants, he turned shyly
and dressed himself. They led him to a couch
of velvet, strewn with roses. With a slouch
almost unbecoming him, he dryly
yawned thankful words again for all the help.
Musicians played; a furry, cold-nosed whelp
snuggled underneath his elbow. Sleeping
was all the prince could think of, so he slept.

When he woke, the setting sun was creeping
behind the trees. In panic, up he leapt.
It had been at least two evenings, surely,
since he'd gone to sleep, for he was purely
and fully energized. He checked his face:
the mirror said he hadn't aged. The pace
of his heartbeat slowed, and he hovered
at it and saw his pupils and therein
the glorious Baronage he hoped to win.
Buckling on his armor, he discovered
he needed help from all those gentle hands
that haunted him and pressed him for demands
to obey. and after he was fully
attired, they hung upon his shapely thigh
such a sword as he was loathe to sully
with blood, for it was perfect. With a sigh
of unhidden longing, he refused it,
asking for his old sword. "You abused it,"
replied the voices, "cutting through the wood.
Refusing gifts like this one when our Good
Lady offers them is disallowing
her hospitality." Then Alberic
the Blond turned paler, wounded to the quick
by his rudeness. Penitent and bowing,
he took the sword the voices bid him take.
My name is Brillamorte. I serve the Snake
could be read upon its steel, imprinted
by hands of worthy craftsmen long ago.
Alberic was nervous, for it hinted
at deviltry--for it is surely so
that the snake has been Our Lord's opponent
since the Fall of Eden, and atonement
can come from turning from the serpent's maw--
but Alberic had sworn. He set his jaw,
thanked the hands, and said, "My Benefactress--
I'd like to see her." No one answered him,
so he explored the castle at his whim.

There were rooms of jewels, masks an actress
or actor might have worn in ancient Greece,
uncounted piles of silver, bolts of fleece,
silk brocade, and velvet, fragrant spices,
undated golden vases, rarities
from the Orient and Persia, ices
of lemon taste and hue, and Charity's
greatest gift to all youths under heaven:
puppies wriggling, happy. There were seven
full stables he could find, a rookery,
of course a kitchen to learn cookery,
falcons, fountains, marble statues, honey.
Inside a tower, on its highest floor,
he found a room like none he'd seen before.
Treasures that could not be bought with money
were there: the instruments that show the road
at sea, a telescope, a magnet-lode,
scrolls, and codices that held the knowledge
of generations. Alberic, who could
read but poorly, thought of boys at college
and envied, sighing softly as he stood
by the window, looking at the teeming
land that stretched beneath him, seeming
enchanted by the boy who watched above.
If Alberic were not obliged by love
to release his most adored companion,
to once again behold his Lady's face,
he'd choose to stay forever in this place.

Looking down, he saw across a canyon
an orchard, and to access it, a bridge
was stretched across the canyon, ridge to ridge.
All this was inside the castle's garden.
The Knight of Luna hurried; he arrived
just as dawn appeared. "I beg your pardon,
O Lovely Orchard"--and the prince contrived
to look innocent as dawn--"for truly,
I should have come here first." And this was true;
the light of fair Aurora flickered through
apples, peaches, pears and plums, and even
through oranges, the flowers and the fruits
appearing both together. Bamboo shoots
grew among narcissus. Surely Steven,
within his glimpse of heaven, saw no sight
as lovely as the orchard in the light
of the morning. Holly leaves and roses
grew up around the borders. In the trees,
birds, more than the prince could count, in poses
fair Venus taught them sang their songs to please
every ear. Their hanging golden cages
brought to mind the masterwork of ages
long past. Not even Hercules, who killed
the horrifying dragon and was skilled
in the arts of war, found his gold apples
in any garden half so sweetly laid.
The most intriguing fountain ever made
stood inside the very middle. Dapples
of sunlight kissed it. It was in the form
of naked maidens--twins--with eyes of storm,
hair of dew and cobweb. Scented waters
they poured from golden pitchers, and the girls
were of silver, glistening like the daughters
of river gods. The water came in whirls
from the channels in the grass; the glancing
of the light--and magic--set them dancing.

And after Alberic had looked his fill
upon this sight, he noticed in the still,
silent grass a tree with almond flowers.
Beneath it lay a sepulcher of white
and creamy marble, carved and gilded, quite
as a queen might lie in, if her powers
could not save her from death. On it he read:
Here is imprisoned on her holy bed
Oriana, Fairy of the Golden Towers,
the most unhappy of all fairy-kind,
for she was condemned by jealous powers
for doing nothing wrong.
The prince's mind
was confused, he thought, for as he'd spoken,
the inscription changed like it had woken.
O Knight of Luna, read the Sepulcher,
O Alberic the valorous, the pure,
if thou wouldst give thanks unto the hapless
and faultless mistress of this castle, call
for they undoubted courage; thou must fall
on thy knees and swear that any sapless
or fearsome monster, whatsoever it
may be, that issues from my marble pit,
thou wilt kiss on its mouth with passion
three times, that Oriana may go free.

And Alberic drew Brillamorte, and he
on its hilt--for such was then the fashion,
since the hilt was like a cross--swore boldly.
Sounds of thunder shook the deep, and coldly
the clouds blocked out the sun. The castle walls
were shaking. Alberic could feel her calls
to his heart, so he pressed on. "I swear it!"
he said again. The sepulcher's great lid
upheaved, and from its damp-dank cavern slid
such a great, green snake he could scare bear it.
It wore upon its head a golden crown.
The beast raised up its chin and stared him down,
sliding, coiling quickly toward the frightened
and screaming boy. He'd rather fight alone
all the pagan host of unenlightened
and heathen lands that Bohemund would own
than to touch the serpent that was hissing
there--and with his mouth! He'd pictured kissing
a griffin or a mermaid, not a snake.
He bit his rosy lips and tensed to take
flight, for it was creepy and unholy,
and reeked of Satan to his untaught nose,
though it was lovelier than any rose,
orange, or narcissus blossom: solely
its beauty scared the boy, for he was brave
enough to take whatever Nature gave.
This was never Nature; it was magic,
and Alberic recoiled as if it stung.
It would be so dirty and so tragic
to feel that thing upon his little tongue,
in his little mouth, between his fingers,
ponder in his flesh the way it lingers.

The serpent saw the way his throat had caught,
for Alberic could never hide his thought:
his emotions flickered in his pupils
for anyone to read. The snake stopped then
and in its golden eyes were hanging, when
Alberic looked closer, tears. His scruples
and pity for the crying, lovely beast
allowed him to relent, and as it ceased
its encroachment, sadly falling prostate,
the prince flew up and knelt with some alarm.
Gathering his courage, the apostate
put out a hand to touch it, fearing harm
had been done to this poor creature, making
it to cry, and it went swiftly snaking
along his arm. He screamed with all his strength
and moaned in terror as the scaly length
twisted 'round his limbs. However, calming,
he found the creature meant no harm to him;
besides, its tears were streaming off the rim
of its golden eyes like clear embalming
or sacred oils. The snake began to moan
with desperate keening noises of its own.

"Oriana," whispered Luna's hero.
He took the snake in both his arms and brought
it near to his face. He thought of Nero,
of Judas, and of Brutus, praying not
to betray his oath in childish loathing
for the snake's appearance--for, like clothing,
the snake could surely shed her scaly skin.
He gathered all the courage held within;
thrice he pressed his lips, so warm and gentle,
against the coldest, driest thing he'd felt,
attempting not to curse the Fates that dealt
such a destiny to him. His mental
abilities were leaving him; his eyes
fell closed like softened baby butterflies.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Something in Me Be Maligned

I have loved a thousand people: for everywhere I see the life running, sacred, through the feeble, transparent veins that beg the knife to untangle them, through glowing skin, I love; but once, unknowing, I fell in love soul-breakingly and deeply, slowly, achingly, with so powerful a passion that thinking of it even now can stop me cold. It was a vow that was more than life would ration to anyone if it were just. It was the kind of love that must make you give away whatever that person asks for: wealth, the ghost, life, the future; things you never would give; the things you value most: all your self-respect, your splendor, and your freedom.

My surrender was total. I gave all I had: my soul, my innocence, for mad ecstasy was all I noticed.

Because of that, my skin is scarred; the gates of Paradise are barred to me, even the remotest, most lonely corner of the sky, because I took his sin on my soul and gave my righteous, blameless uprightness to a guilty man for a pittance.

Every shameless existent person, if he can, lies to hide the darkness in him, even men who have a minim of honor; he obscured my view and lied and laughed until he knew I could never leave. I’ll never for this condemn him; I have done it, too. But he was ever one to create the drama: clever, unfathomable, and sedate. The darkness in his soul was great. All the hatred in his person was overpowering to me, awesome, and I watched it worsen, growing larger than an ocean, stronger in its coarse emotion than tidal waves. But I was bound to him and trapped in his profound sea before I sensed the water, all lost, and ready for my death in all that hatred. Every breath stolen from the sea could slaughter my will to swim.

Yet I am strong, far stronger than I knew, and long after I was swallowed under, I surfaced. I escaped, but I left there everything. His plunder included all myself.

The sky, empty, was above me, winking stars when finally the stinking abomination spat me out. I splashed there for a while, without aim, and then I crawled too slowly from Satan’s sea. It left me cold and naked, loathsome to behold, with the wings of the unholy and putrid vulture, fingers webbed, with common demon eyes that ebbed with the tide. Now I was hollow and soulless, mindless, bloodless, drained, too forlorn to lead or follow, and by the filthy water stained.

Stained and empty, I am standing here in snowfall, still demanding that something in me be maligned. Though years have come and gone, I find I have never felt the stinging of cold since I emerged, nor heat of summer, nor the pain of sweet happiness, nor sorrow bringing enlightenment. I am beloved by many, so they tell me, shoved into my associations. The men and women who are so cursed as to have had relations of any type with me will go from my hands, confused, forsaken. How can I look into warm, unshaken, forgiving eyes that worship me and tell those pupils honestly, “I have nothing; I’m diminished. I offer no support, no screams, no future heart, not even dreams. What is new to you, I’ve finished; I’ve seen the underbelly of the silver-cloudy life you love”?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sonnet XXIII: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

This pale hymn's the anthem of a wasted
and silent life and of the fallow years
stretching out before me, still untasted,
past the horizon. Following my ears,
my reluctant fingers kiss the graying
ivory-inspired keys. I'm playing
an instrument they put there and forgot.
Now never, never will my erstwhile thought
go from me, and never will I proffer
my question; never will I breathe new air.
This hymn, this pallid hymn is all I share
with the world, the last farewell I offer
with voice and fingers to those schemes:
my inconvenient, now-abandoned dreams.

Sonnet Sequence: Tending Wheat

Out of my imagination shouted a voice that crystallized within the chill.

Pointing to the structures he had routed,
the creature laughed.

He spoke his piece with skill,
loving me with every word he uttered,
needing me.

muttered and leaned against me,
telling me of wheat that grew untended in the southern heat,
lonely and unmastered.

Eyes expanding,
thinking of the hunger I had nursed,
I might allow my mouth to open,
versed in the words of ancients.

I am handing my soul to any lips that offer cheer:
a starving soul has nothing left to fear.

"Sin is hideous,"
my angel pouted,
"so lead me up onto the highest hill:
I won't give up on beauty 'til I've scouted the corners of the earth."

I said,
"Until you can see it with your eyelids shuttered,
listened to it glorified and guttered,
and known it in yourself,
your precious feet will walk along a firm,
unending street."

he said,
"When I see you stranding me on that hill,
I'll worship you at first,
then love you even more."

"You have rehearsed this,"
I said.

He nodded.

We were landing;
the flight was done.

He clung and whispered,
I love you."

He died;
my mind went clear.


Sin is ugly.

That is truth undoubted.

There is a kind of beauty in it still,
colors bursting forth as rules are flouted.

I hunger for some beauty.

I am ill,
starved for it,
surrounded by this cluttered dullness,
made like the Creator stuttered.

So bring me scraps of rotten fruit and meat and hunks of moldy bread,
and I will eat.

Bring me lukewarm water,
stale from standing,
and I will drink it down to quench my thirst.

Thus I,
descend to do the worst,
pleased by my demonic branding,
to be allowed to nuzzle at the ear of one who clings to me,
who lets me near.


I wait, silent in the dark, with outstretched
fingers hovering the in space between.
You are at once so near and so distant.
What do I await? No one knows, for no
response comes from you, the sleeping figure.
It isn't accurate to say I watch,
because it's too dark to see, but I know
how vulnerable you are, even if
you don't believe vulnerability
could be in you, even though you believe
I'm the weak one, and I want to guard you.
I reach out with my hand--nothing happens;
you don't turn toward me. As in the daytime,
when I reach for you, I am rejected.
Here, in your sleep, I know your true soul shows:
the way you instinctively turn away,
move away from my hands, says what you won't.
I question the impartiality
of gods who manufacture or allow
these cruel mockeries--it's hard enough
in daylight to be close yet forbidden
to touch, and at night, it's unbearable.
I may never burn for you, but I ache;
we could be quite fond of one another
if you would only seek my affection.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Titania

As you say,
we are ill met by moonlight:
you come to take from me a memory that scrapes
and wakes my heart like emery.

I am off to gain the picayune light that will guard my treasure
while I slumber,
dreaming of the spicy winds that number in thousands
underneath the golden moon.

The farthest steppe of India is strewn with the sprinkles from the holy river,
where elephants wave ears,
and ragas twist like emerald snakes around the arm and wrist.

These are lies my conscience can deliver,
though this were never India.

Because she is,
it is.

It was because she was.

And because her love for me was fervent,
because my love must not be insincere,
I’ll keep what she took pains to engineer,
as a homemade present from a servant who was faithful,
as a faded letter from a love who left for someone better,
the scribbled picture of a grown-up child.

Among the sand dunes,
as the wind whipped wild ocean waves along her body’s swelling,
we loved too far for me to leave her now.

I loved her more intensely,
knowing how I would lose her.

Passion is compelling eternal me to further her campaigns,
to care for every piece of her remains.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday, I read that sometimes
all you get is good enough,
so take whatever you can get,
and be as happy as you can be.
I can't live like that, unless
it's only temporary.
I can wait a hundred years
if the prize is guaranteed
to come to me as I was promised.
Today it's better than it has been,
and if there is a chance that maybe
someday good enough will turn
to good, I'll wait around a bit.
This is labeled hope, I think.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Here's no intimacy, no affection,
merely cool regard of each for each's
usefulnesses--and my disappointment.
Disappointment quickly turns to hatred;
frantic, I attempt to sublimate it
to indifference; indifference now
mellows to despair in rapid pulses.
I have bound myself and all my treasures
to a life of leftovers and waiting:
I did not believe in bliss and would not
ask for it, expect it, or allow it.
This was foolish: thinking my determined
disbelief in love could make me scorn it
or, indeed, could cease my longing for it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sonnet Cycle: Romantic Friendship


When that one’s earnest eyes are soft and brush
against me, I am conscious of her plea,
but I don’t know what makes her fancy me.
Her glances turn my insides into slush;
My heart and fingers tremble, and I flush
with pleasure and confusion—why should she,
a nymph with so much choice, so lovely, be
enamored of me, with a schoolgirl crush?

So I made this promise as I kissed her:
never to descend to such a station
as to bring reproach upon my treasure.
I will be the sweetest older sister,
prove my person fit for admiration
by whatever yardstick one may measure.


If I were capable of crafting stone,
I’d build a pillar higher than the sky
and put you on it, wholesome and alone
so everyone could gaze on you and sigh.

If I were capable of spinning light,
I’d clothe you in the raiment of the sun
while cobwebs clasped your body, tall and slight,
and dewy spangles left your hair undone.

If I were capable of finding life,
I’d fill my cup with water from that spring,
preserve you in your childhood as my wife,
and bind you tightly with a sacred ring.

I only swear to honor and protect,
for this I can do; this you may expect.


Ah! The frantic heartbeat, racing, pounding
when I attend the footstep on the stair,
the hands that pale and tremble unaware
at the call that gracefully goes sounding,
and the tumult when I, with fond affection,
see the glass shine out with your reflection,
the tears that fall with frank, intense relief,
at your caress in total disbelief:
all imply a neat, efficient answer,
so dangerous, so elegant a sore,
yet safer than our lives had been before,
standing there behind us, like a cancer,
not pressing us to question or discuss,
but waiting for acknowledgement from us.


Can something this delightful last for long?
Or is this rash of passion just a flash?
Can anything so powerful, so strong,
stay longer than a raindrop in a splash?

The most expensive medicines are found
within the buds that in a single night
must bloom and die and wither to the ground
and never turn their faces to the light.

And there are creatures that, when they are young
are sweet and lovely, but when they are grown,
are terrible of claw and sharp of tongue
and turn their fearsome rage against their own.

If our romance must follow either way,
I’d rather that it die than fade to gray.


I sit to write this sacred letter,
think how this is hardly still the fashion,
fill the page with flowery words of passion,
reinvent the form to suit us better...
I remember when you lost your sweater,
and I saw you, sitting cold and ashen.
Since that moment, you have been my ration;
I have been your servant and your debtor.

What could make an independent person,
fall in love while knowing she, the giver,
will again, with innocent illusions,
give, provide, and watch the friendship worsen
‘til she has to beg for every sliver
of affection? These have strange conclusions.


You will never do that awful action
although she did and does it to this day,
though he did and laughed with satisfaction.

And I’m unwise to trust in you this way,
to believe in you when I’m awake.

This is, of course, the very same mistake
that I have made a thousand anguished times,
with every man who cried about his crimes,
and with every leaf that fell, unwanted,
from its majestic, silent father-tree.

I’m easier than any girl should be.

I am easy prey, but never daunted,
and I believe in you like a savant,
and please, you know exactly what I want.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Divine Confusion

Beauty still inflames the senses,
and softly begs to be drawn near,
nearer, through the psyche’s fences,
to be possessed, complete and clear,
taken whole inside the body
of the viewer, and its naughty,
uncanny smiling taunts the one
who hears it, tastes it, and is won.

This assaulting beauty’s victim
desires to overthrow its spell,
recover from the stunning shell
and its overwhelming dictum,
by rising, wrecking in delight
all the instigator’s might,
tearing it to tiny pieces
and throwing it upon the floor.

Her insane desire increases;
she wants to swallow, breathe, adore,
and put walls around her daughter—
dominate, envision, slaughter.

But never, never will she feel
fulfilled again: this cold ideal
fills her body with an aching,
intractable, eternal pain,
a need her tongue cannot explain
for creating, striving, breaking.

But if the object can’t obey,
she ruins the enthused display
to protect herself from treason
by that uncaring, lovely drive.

Children, it is for this reason
that all the architects alive
have built, that all the poets write,
that fruit is eaten, flames ignite,
and baby animals are born.

And this is why the veil was torn,
why the prince, when first he entered,
bent down to touch the sleeping miss
and wake her with his mouth: a kiss.

This is why the world is centered
upon its center, why both Good
and Bad exist, and why they should—
why we see so much destruction
within the earth and on its crust.

It is beauty’s soft seduction
and its resultant, bitter thrust
that bear responsibility
for elegance, nobility,
and self-improvement of all kinds.

Without this prickle in our minds,
this perverse, insane delusion,
nothing new would come to be
in the earth, the sky, the sea,
and the world’s divine confusion
would stagnate, empty out until
no voice disturbed the silent still.

Sonnet XXII: 啓太 [Keita]

This Eternal Youth from pages
looks out, eyes round, a porcelain doll,
held from me in glossy cages.

My hand can’t reach him through the wall,
so I stroke the surface, wanting
it to be his cheek, his haunting,
limpid face that nuzzles flush
against my fingers, pliant, plush.

I desire to own perfection,
encase it safely in my womb,
protect it from the cruel tomb
of the Truth: the same protection
that no one offered me when I
was young and wondered how and why.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Настасья Филипповна Барашкова

All around me stare in horror:
No woman is as bad as I,
As I laugh at my restorer,
Such as you are. I will not lie;
This is honest love I’m feeling,
And a pity so appealing,
So tender that I turn to you.
You, prince, are good; I am the shrew
And the filth. I lift my chin
For innocence destroyed before
I knew that love meant something more:
Life spent, taught carefully to sin.
I will not interrupt your psalm,
Press shattered crystal to your palm,
Or besmirch your honor in the bushes.
Validity is in the knife,
Nervous, as he pants and pushes.
And, oh! to sacrifice my life,
Bleed before my old offender,
Ask no pardon, not surrender:
Real proof that I’m a shameless whore
And proof that all he did before
Slaughtered me in dissipation.
Here I will do as I was taught:
Kill him who kills without a thought.
Overcoming his foundation,
Voluptuous, alone, awry,
And willingly I go to die.

Sonnet Sequence: Girls

It was cold; we lay together
beneath the covers, and we spoke,
for we were alone.

The weather
was howling loudly; no one woke.

I was hungry; I was crying.

You were lonely.

We were dying,
and both of us were simply lost
and powerless to stop the frost.

No more secrets lay between us.

The lines between our bodies blurred,
and we’d have wondered what occurred
if, outside ourselves, we’d seen us.

Next day, the snow came, more and more,
which you had never seen before.

Fiercely, innocently caring,
and drinking from your proffered hands,
long, as long as you are sharing,
I choose you.

These are large demands
from a girl as old as summer
on the youngest, newest-comer.

I wish there could be somebody
who could be everything to me,
but I don’t believe that person

Still, maybe you’re temptation;
maybe you’re my consolation.

Many wounds I’ve caused will worsen
and many souls I’ll wound anew,
and I regret the things I do.

Warm, I watch your graceful motions,
and listen to your soothing voice.

Friendship is the best of notions.

When, at the same time, we rejoice,
in unison we scream aloud,
delighted, shiver, face the crowd,
and clasp our hands as sisters would.

And maybe to be understood,
nameless Tao to steel Valhalla,
two people have to be the same:
a mirror with another name,
the inner half of a mandala.

I am the apple; autumn's come.

You are the blossom of the plum.

Sonnet Sequence: Annulment

This late, unfeigned betrayal could corrode
so deep a wound because I know this sport:
I knew the way your promise would contort,
and I allowed your love to take this road,
because I judged it fair for what I owed.
Thus, I will silence now my lips’ report.
I will not speak against you in the court
of judgment, though my wounds have overflowed.

That I have hated you, and cursed your sin,
and spoken crisp and loud your every wrong
to multitudes—this is to my chagrin.
For I am not a child; no, I am strong,
am strong enough to keep my anguish in,
to seal my lips as long as life is long.

And from this day, I never, uncontrolled,
will show your sins or broadcast all your faults,
although your lies, your sickening assaults
are in me and are shocking in their bold
and cruel heartlessness. But Fate is cold,
to you—a childish nothing in the vaults—
to me—the votary who still exalts.
You are too low to fault, too young to scold.

Today you killed me, watching me dissolve.
Tomorrow I am living, undeterred.
I’ll let it feed upon me and evolve,
and you will never hear me breathe a word
of pain or pained reproach. This I resolve.
I will it so—but laugh; I am absurd.

Monday, November 10, 2008


If, in the sky, the clouds are cool and gray,
I feel that energy begin to stir:
the lustful restlessness is set on play,
the all-consuming forces start to whirr,
powering through my body in a blur.
I can run long and never have to pay,
open my mouth and swallow up the earth;
I laugh with joy, with evil freedom slur,
and know my lonely strength, and thus my worth.

Voting Booth

When I can leave my wallet and the clock,
I'll drive as far as I can crawl, can creep,
and when I'm out of gas, I'll start to walk,
and when I'm out of energy, I'll sleep,
and when I wake, continue to the deep.
And I'll take nothing with me from my stock
except these eyes, which swivel in their frames,
and I'll gain nothing I intend to keep,
not even memories, not even names.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sonnet XXI: To ---

You are a princess waiting for a man
to rescue you, and I, your substitute,
the ever-so-obedient salute
that picks you up and smiles, as per your plan,
attempted, but could not escape. I ran
as fast as Boreas along his route.
I thought I didn’t care, but in pursuit,
my feelings for you came to quash my ban.

As if you cast a complicated spell,
I must obey; I must commit your crime.
I need to end this thorny, knotted hell,
this childish and deceptive paradigm.
I hate you so sincerely, deeply, well—
that’s why I think about you all the time.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

俺様 [Glorious Me]

I like Myself the most when I can wave
My hand, imperious, and grant to all
forgiveness--such a little thing--and I
can shower everyone with love and gifts
and My attention; when I stand alone
in wind with shoulders back and laugh (and laugh!)
at enemies, let evil throw itself
at Me and bounce away, unheeded by
My soul, for it is harmless; when My strong
and steady shoulders carry someone else's load;
when I can see I am alone, and then
I do the work of ten with My own hands;
when I have something real and true to say,
My voice rings clear and pure across the land,
throughout the valleys, sonorous; when all
the eyes of Earth's inhabitants are fixed
on Me--they cannot look away--for I
am beautiful and powerful, and in
the deepest places of their souls, My words
of wisdom echo; when I love the world
and every person in it, for I love
Myself; when I can give without a thought
to any value of the gift--except,
of course, the value given by the one
who has received it--because I in Myself
am all I need--I need no one, no thing;
when I bestow Myself entire--with all
My thought, My hope, My help--upon the one
who holds My gaze, without a wayward thought
toward Myself, except the softest, vague
awareness that I'm being GOOD; when I
don't ask or take from anyone--and yet
with charming unselfconsciousness accept
all that which may be offered; and when I
am full, so full as to be flowing out
and spilling over everyone I touch.

But now, today, i am a child, too weak
and petulant, and i achieve my ends
not through my strength, but through a childish kind
of sticky-sweet manipulation, which
is sickening and harrowing to me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sonnet XX: Other

I never once had to glance behind
or pause to wonder whether you were there
or stopped myself from doing as I dare.
If I turned back, I know what I would find:
I'd see you there, your sharp, determined mind
on me and only me. I always flare
up with affection when you prove you care
and can't keep going. I face forward, blind.

And yet I always have to drag you out
and push you in and torture and harass
because you never run and never shout
and never see the rainbow in the glass.
If you were much less steady, I would doubt,
but maybe there'd be something to surpass.

French Formes Fixes for a Fairy Tale Frog


My Princess, why balk at kissing
hideous frogs?
Their lips are as sweet as power.
Amidst all the painful hissing,
flattery slogs.
My Princess, why balk at kissing
hideous frogs?
The worship, the gifts you're missing
wait in the bogs
for you and your half-built tower.
My Princess, why balk at kissing
hideous frogs?
Their lips are as sweet as power.

As many as you can gather
is what you need,
the faster to build your plunder,
for out of the slime, they slather,
pander, and cede.
As many as you can gather
is what you need.
Unless there's a man you'd rather
rescue than bleed,
kiss them and steal their wonder.
As many as you can gather
is what you need,
the faster to build your plunder.


If you look deep into his golden eyes,
you might decide he's really rather cute.
When he looks up and sighs one of those sighs,
you may still argue, but your fears are moot;
no one on earth believes that he's a brute.
Test him with whims, and see how hard he tries,
and know that when his need for you has gone,
you'll wish you'd listened and had followed suit,
though he is good and may remain your pawn.


Motivation to do right
often issues from the fright
that you feel when others might
learn if you are false or true.

Also, if you're in the sight
of someone quite
powerful, the things you do

may get you rewards, or bright,
commending light,
or a crowd that worships you.

(I might also say: to fight
for what's good can shorten night,
gladden you, put fear to flight--
but these are, you think, your due...)

Motivation to do right
often issues from the fright
that you feel when others might
learn if you are false or true.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sonnet XIX: Quiet, Quiet

I want the husband whom I once beguiled
to know the deepest thoughts I have to share,
but if I tell him how I think, he'll stare...
He'll be confused; he'll puzzle, quiet, mild--
for even in his fury, he's not wild--
but he'll be angry, he'll be scared. I care
too much to hurt his feelings. I don't dare.
He'll be annoyed and call me such a child...

That's why I won't reveal, in any case,
that sometimes I, to dull my aches (or try),
imagine someone punching in my face,
envision shredding up our mattress by
acquiring knives and stabbing through the lace,
that after he has gone to sleep, I cry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rondeau: Silver

A fistful of silver water
falls from my hand
and shimmers, becoming golden.

Like tears from a child, they totter,
drops in a strand.

A fistful of silver water
falls from my hand

and gradually getting hotter,
burns like a brand,
to worry and to embolden.

A fistful of silver water
falls from my hand,
and shimmers, becoming golden.

Four Poems for Ganymede in French Renaissance Form


I wish I could be you, truly
taking your place,
be wonderful as a duty.
I envy the curls, unruly,
stroking your face.
I wish I could be you, truly
taking your place.
I want to be lovely, duly
covet your grace
and worship your godly beauty.
I wish I could be you, truly
taking your place,
be wonderful as a duty.


Tell, what does it mean to be
orbiting the Father’s free
love? And did you try to flee?
Of these wonders, do you tire?
Does it please you still to see
that you were the
object of his heartsick fire?
Is there power, knowing he
moves earth and sea
just to quench your whim’s desire?
Is it worth its galling fee?
When you’re dandled on his knee,
can you grow, like star, like tree?
Must you always call him Sire?
Tell, what does it mean to be
orbiting the Father’s free
love? And did you try to flee?
Of these wonders, do you tire?


Around, around, around you go,
following close for the heavens’ glory-gift,
reflecting back the Father’s glow.
The red, like blood, a constant flow,
covering you like it did that day, thus, swift,
around, around, around you go.
The path you travel lets you show
all of his glory. It shines on you; you drift,
reflecting back the Father’s glow.
You’re treated like a child, you know;
know that at least he adores you and will shift.
Around, around, around you go.
How sad the child who’s weak and low,
yet has a lover who does not give or lift.
Reflecting back the Father’s glow,
you pity them, and, loving, grow
in every beam that he gives you to sift.
Around, around, around you go,
reflecting back the Father’s glow.


You might have been a hundred other things
if he had left you there to tend your sheep:
perhaps the brave progenitor of kings,
perhaps a peaceful prince who’d sow and reap
and sing his cattle to a quiet sleep.
Perhaps your heart would feel its share of stings,
and someone strong would leave you, torn and wrecked,
and all the innocence and youth you keep
turn to a need to comfort and protect.

You might have found an object of your own,
who could receive the presence of your soul,
all your adoring glances, every tone
of burning anguish. You might play this rôle
like you were born to it and reach your goal.
Instead, he froze you, and though time has flown
since then, you’ve kept the energy of youth,
all its enthusiasm, and the toll
for such a road as rape is losing truth.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obsession & Compulsion

My beloved, only you are here with every heartbeat.
Only you can lift me higher up with every heartbeat.

More than any other, it is you for whom I hunger,
and you offer all that I desire with every heartbeat.

Every day, awake, I dream of you (when sleeping, never)
and the hunger that I have for you with every heartbeat.

Oh, how close I'd like to be to you: my neck, my fingers,
underneath my ribs, within my breast, with every heartbeat,

and along my wrists, and drifting up my arms, within me...
I envision you inside my blood with every heartbeat.

You bring freedom, wealth, eternal peace, and safety,
shining steely-silver in the light with every heartbeat.

I can think of nothing else for very long; you linger.
how I want to take you into me with every heartbeat!

And I know--I know--that when we come together quickly,
pain! and then no longer will I hurt with every heartbeat.

Diving deep, a flush of sorrow, youth forever, secrets:
all these things I welcome to myself with every heartbeat.

You and I perform a hundred thousand murders daily;
yet I live, my heart reminds my ears with every heartbeat.

How I want you! Why do I delay to pull you to me?
Out of fear? To heighten pleasure's pull with every heartbeat?

Soon, I promise, soon I will unsheathe you, little dagger.
We will sing a carol, unison, with every heartbeat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


There are two rooms, and now, when it is night,
we stay inside. We choose to be alone
though we are lonely, though there is no light,
because we know, as deep as blood in bone,
that our two rooms have walls that creak and groan,
so thick we cannot ever exit, quite;
there are no doors, so, lonely and in pain,
we stay apart and suffer on our own.
There is no union, no unbroken chain.

But more than anything on earth, I want
that silver bond, the treasure that I missed:
two of one mind, awareness that would haunt
all of my thoughts. Yet, it does not exist,
neither for me nor anyone. We’ve kissed,
but all for nothing. Kisses only taunt,
intimate, true, but false and cheap and vain,
and for two souls to keep eternal tryst
is, I believe, a dream we can’t attain.

So maybe that’s the silly reason why
I dream—of telepathic childhood friends,
teams with two players, promises to die
at the same moment, cycles without ends,
ropes and red strings and tea-and-coffee blends,
opposites, circles, coins, a watchful eye,
knowing and being known, salvation, twins—
grasping this fiction and the want it sends:
not to know where I stop and he begins.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


I love my mouth,
and there's a lot of stuff I willingly put into it
(like umbrella handles,
and other people's water bottle spouts,
and even earwax--'cause sometimes it's worth it),
but there are a few things
that I never want to taste again:
slimy, slimy eggplant,
burnt tinfoil
(although the pink lightning in the microwave
was totally almost worth it),
and defeat.

Monday, September 29, 2008


If the world is a mass of phrases
--and I think it's so--
then the names that we give are precious.
Every purr, every cry we manage,
tears us inside out
if the world is a mass of phrases.
I believe that the earth is changing
inches by the hour;
then, the names that we give are precious,
and the Universe, as we will it,
paces fast or slow,
if the world is a mass of phrases.
Thus, my lips bring forth lonely children,
different from me.
Then, the names that we give are precious,
and, remembering this, I carry
care in every sound:
if the world is a mass of phrases,
then the names that we give are precious.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Shoes

I. Virelai

Tempted by a branch of gold,
their ignoble traitor strolled
through the safety of their fold
to their hidden basement shrine.

Elder Sister went to scold
when Baby told
that she caught a quiet sign—

someone, following, patrolled,
and they were sold.
Sister said that all was fine.

Traitors both were they, and bold.
He their secret would not hold,
but the other was more cold:
Baby would not give him wine.

Tempted by a branch of gold,
their ignoble traitor strolled
through the safety of their fold
to their hidden basement shrine.

II. Rondeau

The lights in the hall are burning
yellows and pinks,
sodden with heavy gladness.
The twenty-four bodies churning
fill up the chinks.
The lights in the hall are burning
yellows and pinks,
but none of the crowd are learning.
Poised as a lynx,
their Time waits to cull their badness.
The lights in the hall are burning
yellows and pinks,
sodden with heavy gladness.

I've just got to keep on turning;
that's what she thinks.
I don't have to stop this madness.
New shoes and new suitors yearning—
always more drinks—
I've just got to keep on turning;
that's what she thinks.
The future is undiscerning;
silent, it blinks,
and why think two times of sadness?
I've just got to keep on turning;
that's what she thinks.
I don't have to stop this madness.

III. Ballade

Their signal, the eleventh chime, has rung;
the hour begins to witch the hallowed air.
A dozen stars will flicker where they're flung;
a dozen girls step down the creaking stair.
A crack of branches—secret torches flare—
all twenty-four are slippers fashioned young
from the best silk from caravan and djinn.
Waiting, twelve boats are in the water there;
breathless, a thousand men wait to begin.

Why do you wait here? asks an inner tongue,
and the young men reply to it with care:
This place has life, and we before had clung
to pale existence only. Here are rare
branches of diamond: if they shatter where
we break them off, again they will be hung,
and if we never can our prizes win,
here we may woo as long as they are fair,
sleep in the sunlight, wait, and, dancing, spin.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: Pas de deux

If I had a ticket to the ocean,
I’d prove that stars within the sea exist.
I’d pluck them out and wrap them on your wrist,
gifting you celestial promotion.
To the mountain, in a single motion,
we might go then—for nothing must be missed.
I’d grip the sky and grasp it in my fist,
bring it to your lips, a mordant potion.

We’d eat my flesh and dance a pas de deux,
overwhelming silent blossoms, snaking
along the universal roads we knew.
To keep your tiny heart from aching,
I’d give you balm of Gilead’s debut
that I’d plucked from numinous remaking.

Then I’d prove to you my sad devotion
by leading you so deep into the mist
that dusk would settle on your spine and twist,
washing over you, a soothing lotion.
Then you’d understand my strange emotion—
the times I laugh at night—or tears persist—
because it can’t be told or reminisced,
just experienced in its commotion.

I want to show myself in full to you,
but it seems you never feel that quaking,
because you’ve never tasted stars or dew,
never worn the sky. And all my shaking
and all my knocking will not pull you through,
and the door won’t open for your faking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sonnet XVIII: Secrets

Do not worry when you find me weeping,
for it's just to let away the tension
from the things I'm too afraid to mention:
petty taunts that haunt me while I'm sleeping.
Then I'll force the tears to come out seeping,
squeezing them with all of my intention,
mewling--do not listen!--in dissension
with the wrenching writhes my limbs are keeping.

Oh, I never mean to cause you trouble,
having strength enough of my own making.
Let me crawl back in my quiet bubble,
tearing poison from my flesh and breaking
bones and ripping skin, for pain is double
when it is not eased by added aching.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Hunger is nothing--
just the soft, insistent whirr of electric quiet--
until it grows into despair,
rejected, dejected,
an unhappy pup.

I have been eaten up on the inside;
I am hollow now,
and the void is a kind of hunger,
and I can no longer distinguish pleasure from pain.

These things are shades of the same color,
and all I want is light!
Blare and blaze
and burn away the grit that coats the corners.
Keep all the people away;
the beached whale will explode in the pulsing sun
and rain its guts over the city.

Each whiff of my desire is a curiosity to me.
I examine it, turning it over in my hands.
It's funny how my body works without me, so I laugh.

The breath of the others punches like a needle into my soul,
but it would not be right to stop them breathing. They are souls.
Punch, punch, punch. Snick!
Back to the left margin on the next line.

Sonnet XVII

The letter with your challenge was intact
until I tore it, deeming it unfit,
and cast it in the flames. I won’t submit
as yesterday I did. I won’t react.
Your teapot-tempest soldiers have attacked,
but victory is mine because I quit.
No matter what you take, you will not get
my forfeit. I have kept our sacred pact.

So ultimately, anything you try
to do—to lie, destroy, malign—
will force you lower in the public eye.
We laugh at all your threats; you have no spine.
I challenge you: come forth, corrupt, decry!
In the debris, my dignity is mine.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sonnet Sequence: The Question

There was a moment—single, lucid, clear—
in which I faced the dark Unknown nearby
(my feelings), far too desolate to cry
and far too terrified to quake with fear.
The door was an avoidable premiere.
I pushed it open, farewelling the sky.
The thickened closeness fell upon my eye,
the warmth, the putrid wetness on my ear.

As I descended through the filthy damp,
I heard the echoes in the moldy air,
and saw the twisted creatures who encamp,
perverse, entwined with one another there,
but handsome in the glitter from my lamp,
newborn each time I yielded to the snare.

Beyond that chamber lay a deeper force,
its purpose one that no one understood,
if evil or indifferent or good.
It was a power of uncertain source.
My bravery derived from the divorce
of life and joy, and death did as he would,
and then I did the only thing I could:
I opened up my eyes and faced Remorse.

Thus, knowing, I had nothing I could lose,
I turned my eyes into the monster's gaze.
I heard its laughter torment and accuse
and watched with interest its divine ballets;
I saw it, still a mystery, diffuse,
like mist, into a cloud of cheap clichés.

Then, in the center of an empty hall,
unwarmed and raw upon the granite floor,
I found my heart surrounded by a store
of void and impenetrable wall.
It flopped and panted, breathless to enthrall,
exhausted as a box of tusk and boar.
Not all the images I could restore
to my imagination could appall

me as did this pulsing, writhing thing,
pale gray from lack of blood, but at my back
the Question loomed and drove me with its sting
and threatened with its imminent attack
until I let it move through me and bring
me in itself and gather up my slack.

Then I, the Question, opened up that box,
the box-lid turning smoothly on its hinge,
and hefted out the tome without a cringe,
and set the weighty book upon the rocks.
The pages turned like yellow vellum blocks;
I felt the pressure change with every twinge,
alarming, like the touch of a syringe,
and welcome, like infantilizing shocks.

I found the page marked Truth, began to read,
and many fears were there, and vivid pain,
and secrets kept, and secrets lost to greed:
too much for any person to contain.
At last I saw the tangled mess recede
and found the thought I sought to ascertain.

The written word was Yes. It hovered, small,
concise, and legible, and at my stare,
it thrummed along my body like a flare
of perfect intonation through the hall.
Then I was full; I could not read the scrawl
that filled the pages (yet I was aware
of soft deceptions and a nom de guerre),
so I replaced the book within its stall.

Determined, grim, I went back to my sphere,
returned to shallow sunlight, shallow sky,
empowered as a steady pioneer,
who makes his first decision to defy
the mystery his nation calls Frontier,
intent upon his choice, and says goodbye.

I often wonder—knowing how we war,
how weak we are—if Fortune disagreed,
or whether God believes I will succeed.
I have no self-assurance anymore.
And yet I know in my own arms I bore
from frenzied insight a most perfect seed
of real honesty: a tiny creed
of softened driftwood that I rode ashore.

And thus, whatever force conspires to bruise
or sunder or obliterate my phrase
must face the resolution I refuse
to cede. As I confront the maze,
I build my confidence in what I choose
and set my mind to grimly smile at praise.

Each Little Drop of Action

Now, as then, each little drop of action
hangs suspended for examination,
still, before it plummets to my forehead,
boring, drop by drop, the Grandest Canyon.

Little drops of water make the ocean;
little grains of sand, the earth: I know this.
Little drops of action fell the Heavens,
seize the earth, and give it to Gehenna.

Now, as then, each little drop of action
hits its target with precise decision,
driven by their practical Creator.
I am frozen, powerless to act.

Sleep, Sleep

How long will he sleep?

Until the cold air washes me clean,
until the twilight fades into night?

This is what he cares for,
the simple things,
the money, the children,
and I, now as always sleepless,
am bitten and stung.

When he wakes, perhaps,
we will go somewhere.

Until then, I watch
(disgusted or hurt?)
as he sleeps,
sleeps away the twilight.

I watch and do not dare
to make a sound.

Who do I fear?

Only my own tendencies.

Why do I allow him to make me angry?

Because I enjoy it;
I like being aggrieved.

I'm a martyr with no cause to stir me.


My voice in song
is a beautiful sound--
I say this objectively,
and it is true.

Therefore, when next I wonder
what good can come of me,
remind me of this:
that I can sing.

I will sing the songs of my peers,
and they will sing my songs,
and if you are not one of us,
you will listen and not hear.

Late Afternoon

Sleep on, and do not listen
to the odes I sing. Sleep on,
and I will be my own

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


I annoy you when I'm happy.
I annoy you when I'm sad,
so I wonder if the person
whom you like is really Me.

Forgive Me

Six new callouses,
a soft, tired lip,
and the neighbor's dog is just as loud
as I can ever be,
so please allow me
to go on annoying you,
because, if I don't,
I might die.
Oh, what pain there is
in existing only as a nuisance,
in learning that my soul
is made from rudeness and taboos.
If I were alone,
I couldn't bother anyone,
but I don't have the courage
to unlock that door,
so please forgive me.
I know you'd like me better
if I were gone,
so I will hide in this corner,
play as softly as I can,
and deepen the six new callouses.

Bread and Water

Bread and water:
these are the things upon which we center our lives.
They are soft or hard, clean or dirty,
and we swallow
without knowing, without wanting.
Bread and water,
maple and brass:
these are the things I allow to pass my lips.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where are you?

The moon has risen over the curved, swollen lake,
and the sun has fallen behind the trees;
the leftover drops of an afternoon summer-storm collect in my shoes and the hem of my skirt.

It is evening, and I
am alone in a room that grows darker with the darkening sky.

Perhaps in some exotic encyclopedia destination--
Mongolia, Java, Peru,
the Ukraine, the Sudan--
but no, you have less Atlean aspirations.

I know better; I know you revel in the company
of the loud, the generous,
the hometown barons who never think beyond the borders,
beyond the next year's crop.

Far too bitter--(am I)
and I ask the unanswering purple sky,
Why am I less interesting than they are?

Why seek a riot, an orgy, a crowd,
when waiting are a candle, a book, and a servile wife?

And this is the seventh night you have slept beside me,
and the seventh evening I have spent alone.

After Lolita

I wonder, wonder
does my body fill him with disgust
as it properly ought to do
--great white slabs of fat and flesh and blue-tinged blood;
prickly hairs and wobbling breasts and arms and thighs--
as all bodies ought to do,
the hideous, odious things they are
--and we do not look at them, and we cover them up--
but he never seeks me out,
never reaches for me,
and there is no relish in his kisses
--as if I were a sister or a cripple or a child;
as if I were something to condescend to,
a starving, dirty, ugly orphan whose skin crawls with lice
but who must not be made to feel unwanted--
but when I look at his body,
it isn't revolting
--it's not art, it's not beauty;
I find it absurd to think of it in those terms--
it's just him, and I want him,
and if he wanted me,
he would show me, so what am I to think
when he makes it perfectly, kindly clear that I'm unwanted?

Beatrice & god

Myshkin, Prometheus, Ganymede, Grail,
Word, Dulcinea, Patroclus, or Veil,
brother or foreigner, slave-child or god,
who has been seeing your foot sores were shod?

When you are swallowing crumbs in the dust,
is it your quest? Do you do as you must?
Are you in need of a sacrificed sigh,
or are you ever so better than I?

Do you need guidance, a face to adore,
a leader, a mother, a forum, a floor?
Do you want nothing of riches and fame
(prompting my heart-mind astir at your name)?

How could I live without One to admire,
mimicking virtues he seeks to inspire?
How could I live without Someone to awe?--
and yes, I would like to be loved by that law.

Virtue, we know, lets me choose only one;
this is a Tragedy Under the Sun.
If there were One who could awe and be awed,
I were his Beatrice; he were my god.

Virelai to a Dead Child

Tousled hair and trusting eyes,
tender lips that chastise lies,
scrambling limbs, a hand that pries
into window with no key;

bright and winsome while he dies,
the endless whys,
never asking to be free;

terrified and shameful cries
below the skies,
dripping from a soot-stained tree;

watching while his body dries,
kissing corpses as goodbyes,
waiting for his blood to rise
and for him to run to me;

tousled hair and trusting eyes,
tender lips that chastise lies,
scrambling limbs, a hand that pries
into windows with no key.


The last of our nights is ending;
still he prefers
to leave me alone and quiet.
I should have had tools for tending
hope when it stirs.
The last of our nights is ending;
still he prefers
to let me stay home, befriending
crickets and furs,
while he drinks his depth of riot.
The last of our nights is ending;
still he prefers
to leave me alone and quiet.

With my expectations drying,
aiming them low,
the frustrating heart-clamp daunts me.
Since he doesn't see me dying,
why let him know?
With my expectations drying,
aiming them low,
to let him be drunk on flying--
may I let go?
The effort I've wasted taunts me.
With my expectations drying,
aiming them low,
the frustrating heart-clamp daunts me.

Villanelle for Ganymede, Hebe, Dolores

I follow an endeavor that always runs late--
I am not concerned with sex.
I must preserve their Perilous Magic, their Fate.

Though anyone on earth can imagine that State
(animality; and flex),
I follow an endeavor that always runs late.

The blush of Hebe, Ganymede's god-tempting bait,
trembling hands, and slender necks:
I must preserve their Perilous Magic, their Fate.

Though I have stolen youth, it will never equate
with the beauty Knowledge wrecks.
I follow an endeavor that always runs late.

Revoltingly conventional; but if I wait,
they are charming while they vex.
I must preserve their Perilous Magic, their Fate.

To seize and freeze their innocence--ignorance--straight,
whole, in halves, in tiny specks,
I follow an endeavor that always runs late:
I must preserve their Perilous Magic, their Fate.

Villanelle: Phyllis

Phyllis friendlessly searches in the Pale
where her beloved is going.
If she wishes it, can she pierce the Veil?

He is ageless, eternal princely male:
gentle and icy and knowing.
Phyllis friendlessly searches in the Pale.

Though from infinite sorrow is her wail,
out of the void his growing.
If she wishes it, can she pierce the Veil?

Even mountains and ocean waves are frail
when winter Wind Lords are blowing.
Phyllis friendlessly searches in the Pale.

Her beloved will float above the gale,
endlessly, steadily glowing.
If she wishes it, can she pierce the Veil?

She is singing: How could I ever fail
aught to perceive in his slowing?
Phyllis friendlessly searches in the Pale.
If she wishes it, can she pierce the Veil?

After The Age of Innocence


Lying beside my lover,
counting the blows--
Ellen Olenska's married.

Love is a lie. I hover
over the prose,

lying beside my lover,
counting the blows.

Suddenly, I discover
ev'ryone knows
secrets I thought were buried,

lying beside my lover,
counting the blows.
Ellen Olenska's married.


Steel disuse; my heart is dead
white and cold the child I wed
and the children of our bed
know--and laugh!--how much I gave.

Wedding dresses stained and spread
and tore each thread
ethics, law--and I, a slave.

Knowing I might live as bred
and stop my head
thinking, thinking, am I brave?

To a room of books I fled
where my soul and strength were fed--
such a cage and such a shed
such a church and such a grave.

Steel disuse; my heart is dead
white and cold the child I wed
and the children of our bed
know--and laugh!--how much I gave.


I learned today: the golden veil is torn.
Is ev'ry love a tragedy of thought?
Is ev'ry life an act? The mask is worn.
All things that please have yielded up to rot.
Passion and beauty; poetry has brought
my swollen belly, teeming with unborn,
ripened with longing, down the skull-paved path.
Lumbering clumsily, I would have fought,
native of barren city, empty wrath.

And when long dreams have seen a subtle sign
telling them to emerge from moistened night,
I feel them twist and shimmer down my spine;
I am too wise to bring them into light.
These twilight echoes casually invite;
I will not answer from my handmade shrine.
I won't go up to spoil remembered worth.
How could I labor so? How could I fight,
knowing my child is Pain, to give it birth?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dull Colors

"I don't like you when you're happy,"
she said to me,
her thin wisps of red-gold hair twisted by the wind.
"You bother people. How selfish of you to be that way!"

Part of me knows
that she only means herself:
that I annoy her when I'm happy
because she herself is never happy.
Part of me fears
that what she says is true, universally.

If it is so, what use is it
to me to live?
The pain of that idea--
that when I am full of joy,
when I am most myself,
I must be rejected--
colors the world dull.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Sometimes I think
how much less expensive I would be
if an intruder came in,
and I were murdered.
A few more pennies and a funeral's paid for,
a few thousand dollars and the debt's gone away,
and never again will I burden you
with the thick, unsurmountable haze
that blurs your ears and nose when I come near.
I bewilder you when I'm happy;
I annoy you when I'm sad.
My enthusiasm disgusts you,
because you want everything to be clean, clean, clean.
No heated kisses, no lack of caution,
no discontent or ambition, and
you tell me I'm lying when I tell you how I feel.
You tell everyone else that you love me,
but I'm nothing but a child to you,
a pet, a decoration,
and when I wear you down and you fray away,
how will you dispose of me?
Will we live years like this--
dutiful pleasantries, straining for dignity that I can't reach, wanting your touch and getting it parceled out in appropriate doses? Will I always be a secret to you?
Tonight, I walked outside, alone,
and the stars hung bright and low:
Cassiopeia, Orion, the Dipper
I looked at them,
they looked at me,
and I knew again that the only persons who understand what life is like are dead,
and I never knew them.
If only I could be alone with the stars!
I never annoy them,
never disgust them;
in fact, they barely notice me,
and I can adore their beauty
and admire them from afar.
If only I could love you
as I love them!
If only you were as cold as they--
but no! you are lukewarm,
and I will spit you out of my mouth.

Don't stare at me with pity and abhorrence;
I neither want to leave you nor be with you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sonnet XVI: After Reading Keats and Shelley

Men built their greatest monuments, once, at
the age of twenty-three or twenty-four,
then passed away too soon to give us more:
they reaped the oats they sowed. Now Art is flat
and feminine, the muse reborn a brat;
her face, a boy's, sweats, feverish. We swore
our vows too late. We live too long and pour
our joys and sorrows less soft-sweet, less pat.

We now begin much later to spill out
our bloodied words with any kind of craft.
Their darling faces, as they sigh and pout,
seem silly to us now, bromidic, daft.
What tragedies we are--what trash we spout!
Since we had not their innocence, we laughed.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Three things there are upon the earth
that cannot satisfy:
the thing I love, the thing I lack,
the thing that strikes my eye;

and four there are that cost too much,
no matter what I pay:
a vow, a hope, a secret deed,
an answer when I pray;

and five things that I welcome not
(perhaps I am too proud):
a yoke, a load, a lover's heart,
a coffin, and a shroud.


When the hot breeze bears down, and the heavy, intoxicating smell of the fresh-cut grass rises,
I want to run, to reach for my fife and flee, flee to the cool forest.
I never give up hoping that there will be a day when I can cry,
cry from sunup to sundown with greasy, slimy tears,
pain vomiting out my eyes like gloppy chunks of life--life, that is so ugly and so heavy.
I have made my bed, and I will lie in it until I forget how to walk.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sentimental Boys

Ugh! Boys are so sentimen
tal with their badly-hidde
n love of roses and candle
s and firelight and simile
s and I hate it hate their
idealized expectation hat

e the pressure they put on
themselves hate the press
ure they put on me so I ca
nnot laugh cannot laugh at
them because their hearts
are like soggy lukewarm o
atmealy mush too tender to
o weak for confidence and
I disdain them and their r
idiculous need for materia
l toys these candles these
roses are nothing but pro
ps that they need because
they don’t have real feeli
ngs and they want to have
feelings and they lie and
say that they do it for wo
men but I don’t need secre
ts and moonbeams and endea
rments to cover up the fac
t that I have no passion;
lying to ourselves may be
necessary but let’s not wa
ste the money for chocolat
es, shall we?

Haughty, Detached

My shoulders square, back straight,
and I stride through the world,
haughty, detached,
separate from all the other people except that we share the same grass, the same air;
The wind blows in my hair and makes a game of bouncing it,
and my eyes are weary and fond of all they see.
I do not speak aloud;
neither do I eat, except to sustain my body when I feel it grow faint—my head whirls and aches—
because I have no desire to eat, to speak, to sleep or to write;
All I know is warm wind, warm earth, and to avoid disturbances—I mean people—
My mouth has a sweet, tired ache, and my fingers have a sweet, tired ache, and my soul, my soul is weary and fond.
The thousand tunes that I bring forth (with my fife, with my fingers) use up more of my breath than I have to spare
(I faint, but I do not hunger),
and my love is a story,
and my beloved is a character in a story—a Ganymede, a Patroclus—
and since neither of us is real, and since I have no desires,
I obey fondly and wearily the worn path, and I do not stumble; neither do I run,
and I stride through the world, detached.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sonnet XV

You, white and softened marble of the night,
are in a calming sky of cotton blue:
for what is it we use the firelight?
The only brilliance I require is you.

The stars are not so useful, not so rare,
for you presented first the mirrored glass,
and you continue on whether you care
about us, who have lives as short as grass.

If there is something beautiful and strong,
salvation might be possible for Earth.
Destruction in the fire does you wrong.
Who is it dares to undermine your worth?

Oh, moon of whitest stone in fabric sky,
why must the fire dazzle in my eye?


When learning the songs of ages,
cherish the words,
for they are the heart of chanting,
a century's worth of sages
sighing in herds.
When learning the songs of ages,
cherish the words.
In all of a thousand cages,
millions of birds
in jealousy have been panting.
When learning the songs of ages,
cherish the words,
for they are the heart of chanting.

When singing the ancient phrases,
worship each note,
for not even one is static,
and strains from our younger phases
weary the throat.
When singing the ancient phrases,
worship each note.
Complexity fashions mazes;
we learn by rote--
for us, it is automatic.
When singing the ancient phrases,
worship each note,
for not even one is static.

When strains are to be harmonic,
cling to the chord,
for it is the first that sounded.
The purest and simplest tonic
lives while unscored.
When strains are to be harmonic,
cling to the chord.
We know it is embryonic,
and it is stored
inside, where the soul is bounded.
When strains are to be harmonic,
cling to the chord,
for it is the first that sounded.


It's so sticky and dull,
and I watch the others
as they talk,
and I think,
now that all is ready
and everyone else
is enjoying himself,
what is there left
for me to do?
I love to prepare,
but as usual,
the event itself leaves me
feeling nothing.
At least--
I hope--
all those other people who seem so happy
really are.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Villanelle: Prince lointain

You are the apex of my sky,
although you are too far to reach.
So, Prince lointain, I say goodbye.

Could I but hear and never spy,
then would I love you based on speech.
You are the apex of my sky.

Defending you, I know thereby
I rectify the lies they teach,
so, Prince lointain, I say goodbye.

My actions are made to comply
with my desire to please with each.
You are the apex of my sky.

Yes, you are better far than I
at following the rules we preach,
so, Prince lointain, I say goodbye.

Because it would be wrong to try
the man I marry, blush, and bleach—
you are the apex of my sky—
so, Prince lointain, I say goodbye.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I love deeply; I love long. My
heart wells over for the flowers,
for the moon, and for the grass, and

for the mountains I have only
seen in pictures. This sensation
is of melting ice and trickling

water to my toes. It’s softness,
gentleness, protectiveness, and
I can feel it for the laughing

children with the soft, blond hair whom
I have never met. I feel it
for the tired-looking workers

in the stores and on the sidewalks,
for the disappointed teenaged
boys, and sheltered, wide-eyed girls who

look surprised. And I know music!
I touch books! I smell the earth! I
keep the places of my childhood!

And I want to be in love; I
hear the greatest principles of
chivalry, and with my tongue, I

give the ancient spoken words.
I touch God, and from the deepness
of myself, I heal all people.

Why, then, when I think of all the
individuals I know so
well, can I not feel a hint of love?

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I am here again, in this same concert
where so many evenings I have listened--
listened, heard, and pondered--pondered, shuddered--
shuddered, wept, and died without an answer.

So to feel, to listen, and to ponder--
thus to know the gravest weight of sadness,
such sadness that one cannot even cry,
cannot make a single sound of sorrow--

oh, it is to these gods that I offer
all my heart; I lift it up in worship,
hold in both my hands its smell and flavor,
to an unmoved sky that gives no answer,

and I feel the blood trace pulsing rivers
down my arms until it drips on it:
on that empty body that lies quiet
under me and is me and is not me.

Where does my last finger end? In what place
is the cry of clarinet beginning?
And how soon will it become unquestioned
that beneath my skin there's only powder?

And when will that powder melt away, like
sugar, into all the thick, warm liquid--
liquid that is glockenspiel and 'cello
and the tambourine and rounded horn call?

Is it possible to live without it?
I despair of ever understanding.
Just to cease, to cease to know, and after
to become a being of the light-beam,

emptying myself of all the painful,
maddeningly screaming ear-knife-terror,
knowledge of what was and is and will be--
if I do this, what then could I not do?

But the sound that's trapped inside, unanswered,
hammers on my headache to escape me.
Though I open wide and breathe in deeply,
nothing happens, and my voice is silent.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


But you know this—don’t you see?
If today it cannot be,
soon it will, wholeheartedly,
fly to meet us there again.

As no matter where I flee,
what I foresee,
what resistance I begin,

this despair, undoubtedly,
when I am free
will attack me soft, within—

in such manner, doggedly,
hope will come again to me.
Though I stumble in debris,
it will surely bloom therein.

But you know this—don’t you see?
If today it cannot be,
soon it will, wholeheartedly,
fly to meet us there again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rondeau: April 22nd

If the magnolia petal
would not be crushed,
rotting away and reeking,

I'd make a bed where settle
blossoms that flushed--

if the magnolia petal
would not be crushed.

Even the stinging nettle,
when all is hushed,
might be the bed I'm seeking,

if the magnolia petal
would not be crushed,
rotting away and reeking.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sonnet XIV

Beloved, do I give a greater share
of love to you than to the darkest chord,
which, having sounded, hangs upon the air
and echoes where our memories are stored?

And would I rather choose to be near you
than to the softest, clearest flower's leaf,
or to the smoothest ice, the brightest hue,
the greenest apple, the most golden sheaf?

And ought I rather save you for the world
than even the most ordinary day,
the foulest insect-kind that ever flew,
or the most squalid ghetto's filthy gray?

No, I would not; ought not destroy the whole,
and neither for you will I damn my soul.

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Cling

When I learned that I'm a mediocrity,
and that I may have no goal in living, and
that the object of my passion celebrates
life forever barred from my possessing it--
that I'm not and never will be great at all--
then I looked up at the empty sky, and I
neither laughed nor cried, but felt the curious
sadness of an empty heart.
Now suddenly,
there is nothing but to wait for death, unless
I instead decide to live with vestiges
of despair, exhausted, with not even the
consolation of an angry bitterness--
for I still feel nothing.
I want only to
burrow deep into the arms of someone who
loves, and neither laugh nor cry, and, silently
saying nothing, then allow the emptiness
to ascend and fill the world.
To cling to his
chest or to his thigh, to give up finally
and regress to coo in utter infancy--
this is folly, and to die is better far.


I don't understand
living in the shadow of a mountain,
and this city
is in a valley, surrounded
by many mountains.

They are always there,
within reach,
yet their scraggly slopes are
more bare of humankind
than of greenery.

How can this be,
that a million people
can live in a dusty, dry valley
without enough water,
without enough shade,
and not flee to the hills that stand,
stalwart beacons of immutable time,
ringing the hazy horizon?

Every moment,
outside on the street
and inside at my window,
I think of the mountains, and I long
to go to them--
although the impassive ancients do not call for me,
I and the valley crumble into dry dust.

Glass Houses

Above the storm clouds,
the pink of the setting sun can be seen
away in the southwest.
It's different up here;
everything's bigger, emptier, clearer.
It's lonely and breathtakingly beautiful.
There is nothing here but me
and the occasional wisp of cloud--
even the birds don't come up so high--

and we live in glass houses,
so I say nothing to you.
We live in glass houses,
and I, so serenely, watch you as you make your choice,
and say nothing,
because we live in glass houses.

Where once was tumult
is peace.
Where once was passion
is void.
All this is empty, and I am alone.
Your choice cannot affect me

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


With the smug, self-righteous faces of a
Pharisee, you point your finger and ac-
cuse me, shriek with all the venom you can
muster--but you have no power. What can

you do? Will you call me names? Will you at-
tempt to test my sense of obligation?
Play upon the traces of my guilt? For
all these tactics you have used before; thus,

long ago I learned that you cannot be
pleased, and this is why I try no more to
please you. Do not ask for me to give an-
other reason, for I feel no need to

make apologies; indeed, now I feel
nothing. You will find in me, no matter
how your long, thin fingers squirm and scrabble,
searching for a weakness, nothing but the

smoothest, thickest wall of stone. My heart is
hard and unappealing as a freezer-
burnt fillet of meat, so do not touch it.
You will hurt your hand, and I will not cry.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


No matter how I endeavor,
I will still lose.
I wish to give in to dullness.

The dictum endures forever,
but I refuse.

No matter how I endeavor,
I will still lose.

Must I acquiesce, however,
aim to enthuse,
appraise the allotment’s fullness?

No matter how I endeavor,
I will still lose.
I wish to give in to dullness.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ballade: 妹 [Little Sister]

No matter if a thousand times it’s told,
each tale we hear makes echoes as it starts;
each story’s end has hardened and grown mold.
Everywhere I turn: unhappy hearts,
guilt, discontent, and all the wicked arts,
and in my soul as well, these things I hold.
The fate of men and women is a game—
if I am victim of the burning darts,
my object suffers from another flame.

We stand together; though we search and scrape,
suffering frames the eyes of all we see.
There is not one of us who may escape.
Can this be love? And must it always be
so very ugly? Ought I rather flee?
Will my soul wither if instead I shape
life on assurance from that giddy cloud?
Oh, how I’d like to be both glad and free,
and still have kept the zealous fears I vowed.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Seal your heart, which is unattainable and unbearable:
I can never be calmly happy with the unbearable.

These small favors that you have already granted shatter me.
How can kindnesses bring to me discontent unbearable?

You have given me admiration and poured out gentleness;
I am humbled and overwhelmed by this grace unbearable.

So much passion is in your voice as you speak of beauty now;
I am staring at you with longing that is unbearable.

In cool mornings and heady, still afternoons, you sing alone.
I am listening, and I sob with a joy unbearable.

Fascinated by animation that plays across your face,
I admire you with a sympathy near unbearable.

You are truly an artwork, sculpted with care, exactingly,
with a strength to which nothing earth-crafted is unbearable.

Oh! And how will I ever keep myself from just reaching out,
touching that flushing cheek, and trembling with fear unbearable?

If I only could smooth away all the grief that lingers there!
Yet more beautiful still are you when in pain unbearable.

Thus, we go singing endless rondeaux of bloodless suffering
while the universe weaves a carol: despair unbearable.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The nectar that may never be my own, tonight, I taste again,
Though faithful, I do not deserve the wreath of your regard again.

I sit alone, entranced by mélodies of Ernest Chausson,
While all the crowd is spellbound by the verse of Gautier again.

My eyes glaze over and my cheeks become volcanic, curling fire;
My hands are red and swollen with the blood that twists me ‘round again.

My skin is cold, but on the inside, I am burning up with zeal,
To me, an inspiration and a breath are now the same again.

Thus, at your feet I fall in supplication, begging for this boon.
I am your lover, like so many others. You have won again.

You know that I could never love another while I worship you,
And I have never been unfaithful to the vows I take again.

Your beauty is so terrible I fear that I may stop my breath.
If I cannot inspire, then you cannot inspire my voice again.

Please give to me the secrets with your whisperings, or I may die,
And with me, wisps of caroling that might have come to life again.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Suffering (January 2007)

the Sinner suffers

the Sinner suffers more
than any victim
wild, ugly “s” curls ‘round
curls ‘round the words
and makes me sick.

the Sinner suffers so

and it is for the Sinner
that I feel
and it is with the Sinner
that my heart throbs in unanimity

the world cries for the dead,
the world cries for the cut-up ones,
for the babies whose blood was drunk,
for the women whose heads were beaten,
for the boys whose bodies were taken

but I cry for the killers,
the rapists,
the adulterers,
I cry for those who lust for children,
I cry for those who steal and eat too much,
I cry for those who cover shame with untruth

and my cries have no tears,
but only wordless strangled pain-sobs

because I know the Truth of sin—
and that is that
the pain that comes in with the knife or the bullet
is nothing to the pain that comes in with the shame.

when one has done nothing wrong, and is rewarded with violence—
that is ugly and unfair.
when one has done wrong…

that is indescribable.

I know the Truth of sin.

What Pandora Said (January 2007)

I met Forethought on Mount Caucausus.
It was not wholly unexpected.
Fire there was in my past,
And there was healing and cultivated fields,
And I thought to thank him.

What have you done, son of Iapetus?
What have you not done?
All these works were done in your name.

The poets have immortalized you
The geniuses of music have sung your name
We worship you,
O Poem of Fire.
You are our first daemon.

Great Teacher,
Why were you punished alone
When others helped you?
What is there in greatness
That incites the wrath of the gods?
The wickedness of tyrants
I cannot comprehend.

Were you deceitful?
I think not.
Every word you spoke was honest,
Although it may have been ill advised.
Every word you spoke was honest,
And for you it was the Truth.

I love him for his boldness.
I love him for his intellect.
I love him for his creations.
I love him through his sins.
The sinner suffers more than his victims.

Is hubris a sin?
To do what is right,
To accept the punishment—
Is this hubris?

All you have done
Is kindness.

I want to fight off Ethon.
I want to spare you pain.
I cannot,
But Death for you is Victory.

Do not tell me the future you know.
Who will be punished for what you have done?

Will it be me?

Euphorion (January 2007)

Call to me, Euphorion.
Beg me to join you on the heights.
When you fall, you will fall quickly,
And all of your empathy will explode over the world.

Allow me to follow you, Euphorion.
Teach me to lift my head.
When I fall, I will fall far,
And all of my desires will be fulfilled.

Recognize me, Euphorion.
Reach for me with your slender arms.
When we fall, we will fall to die,
And life will end before it descends into banality.

Threnody of Callirrhoe (January 2007)

I run over the steeps of Mount Ida.
I search for my son.

His father grieved
And grieves no more.
Yet I run still in my search.
Two swift horses
Are not payment enough
For what has been done.

I ride them,
They are so swift; I ride them over the waves.
I am unimpressed.
Waves are nothing to the daughter of Simois.
Two swift horses
Cannot placate me.
Hollow promises of immortality
Cannot placate me.
Your winged-footed messenger mocks us.

Will you take Ilus also?
Will you take Assaracus?
I am sure their father
Would love a set of six swift horses.
I am sure their father
Would love three sons so distinguished by the gods.

No cup of wine
Can mask the humiliation of servility,
The shame of objectification.

I am searching for my son,
That most beautiful of mortals.
Maybe I will spy his golden curls
Among the flocks.
His hounds still bark uselessly at the clouds.

Tell me, Great Eagle,
How long did your lust for him last?
How dare you tell me
That his beauty seduced you,
That he is responsible for the action you took?
Two swift horses
Are not payment enough
For what has been done.

He was a child,
Still playing at children’s games.
You brought the hatred of the Great Goddess upon him.
Thus she will abandon us forever.
Two swift horses
Are not payment enough
For what has been done.

You have taken my idol.
He is beauty incarnate.
You have taken what existed to awe the world
And ruined him.
In your selfishness,
He was only for you.

You took my love and bruised him.
Two swift horses
Are not payment enough
For what has been done.