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.

Translation (January 2007)

Words pour through my ears and out my mouth
rushing, gushing, through and through
And soon they cease to have meaning
and are only

Come to me, sounds,
Teach me your exotic merry-go-rounds
Dance tasselled boots in the campfire snow

Kashi, kashi,
na tsorashi,
Kashi, kashi
nu a ni.

Kashi, kashi,
na tsorashi,
Kashi, nu a ni.

Na tsoretsa
nu ai schi,
Pa umsidyets

Kashi, kashi
na tsorashi,
Kashi, nu a ni.

Tasselled boots in the campfire snow.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Puer Aeternus

Oh, let me be the Anima that you forget!
Puer Aeternus, show the Self that you forget!

Your smile will not be mine—I know and am resigned,
but my desire is for the secrets you forget.

You know your own perfection and attractiveness,
and yet, your own eternal spirit you forget.

You are the soft assassin who can harshly laugh
while blood pours through the gentle fingers you forget.

A thousand half-dead bodies writhe before your feet.
They issue from my heart: the heart that you forget.

A hundred thousand times, you have refused to love;
I come to you again with pleas that you forget.

Were you to love me, I might understand the whole;
your soul’s mandala ever spins, which you forget.

Reality is cruel and garish: you escape.
Thus, I will cry the shrieks of sorrow you forget.

When ancient, prudent Senex glances to the side,
then come to me by bitter pathways you forget.

As I would be Sophia, be my graceful Guide.
Go singing from the famous carol you forget.

Sonnets XII & XIII


It seems as though, in some kinds of despair,
each little thing that people do or say
is one more symptom of the human flair
for petty evil, driving Truth away,

And when despair is of a type more rare,
the tiny details seem to small to pay
attention: hopeless, pointless. I don't care
to notice them; my mind is prone to stray.

No matter what I do, I seem to bear
this heavy grief. I'm garish moral gray,
the very evil I despise. An air
of failure swirls, demanding that I stay.

Like tasteless food, the worthless oaths I swear
can have no consequence. I weep and pray.


I fall in reverence at Hebe’s feet!
The nectar and ambrosia revealed
by her so unattainable conceit
are reasons that my awe is unconcealed.

Thus I, her fearless cupbearer, compete
to be her knight, into her morning-wheeled,
bright chariot to lift her, to complete
the child that gossamer and cobweb healed.

I fear among the chaff will fall the wheat:
the world seems poised to overthrow this field,
to drag her virtue through the muddy street,
to use true lies to bare what is concealed.

If I were not affected by deceit!
If only I could be that sturdy shield!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ballade: Chicago

I am so dizzy, and my forehead aches,
and I remember that I did not eat.
Why did I not feel hunger pains and quakes?
What is the reason for this cold, white heat?
Why can't I sleep? I count the hours as fleet
time goes on, watching as the city wakes,
moving again. My body feels no pain
rising. My head is heavy, and I long to meet
smudges of faces I cannot attain.

Helpless, I watch as, full, my feeling breaks:
I try to kiss the strangers in the street.
Please let me give to anyone who takes,
or fill my mouth with winter's snow and sleet.
I am afraid I'll lie and steal and cheat
if I can't find an answer to what makes
tremors run through my body and my brain.
Surely this quest, this question, makes life sweet,
but I am left exhausted by the strain.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Formes Fixes


I sing in praise of unrequited love.
It brings about all good things love can build
without the shame of censure from above.
Glory to my beloved's name is willed,
and any faults are recognized and killed,
every glance descending like a dove,
every touch, each word a thrilling thorn.
Sinless, the pain with which the soul is filled
is not too overwhelming to be borne.


I sing of love unrequited:
glory in pain,
a hapless and vain endeavor,

a wound that must not be righted.
Torment is gain.

I sing of love unrequited:
glory in pain,

and still I am hurt when slighted,
knowing his reign
of iron will last forever.

I sing of love unrequited:
glory in pain,
a hapless and vain endeavor.


Unrequited love I sing.
To its sorrows, I will cling,
revel in its sudden sting,
struggle on its sharpened hook.

I will gasp and let it fling
each gift I bring.
I will read it like a book,

fly along, as if on wing,
upon its swing,
falling on the earth it shook.

All the world's a spinning sling,
as I pierce the fairy ring,
gazing on my noble king,
worshiping his gentle look.

Unrequited love I sing.
To its sorrows, I will cling,
revel in its sudden sting,
struggle on its sharpened hook.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Formes Fixes


Of all the things I treasure,
best are your eyes.
Could anyone chart their ranges?

A different kind of measure
reason applies.

Of all the things I treasure,
best are your eyes.

Although it would be a pleasure,
learning their sighs,
there still would be subtle changes.

Of all the things I treasure,
best are your eyes.
Could anyone chart their ranges?


I knew the depths of terror in a man
tormented by the heart within his chest.
It came along, no matter where he ran:
there was no place that he could find to rest.
Finally, on a mountain in the west,
he took a thousand swords, and he began
driving them in. He flung away his heart.
Floating upon the sea, it seemed a jest,
for as it left his hands, he died, apart.

I felt an envy far more biting than
any I've known: oblivion seemed best.
But I know peace; I weep now, when I can,
for his cessation, his abandoned quest.
He is no longer writhing in that test,
for he is nothing, safely in the clan
of this content and guarded from the dart,
striving no more, in Paradise, and blessed.
He has surrendered! It must always smart.

Torment within my soul has woven an
acid of terror. How could I have guessed?
Agony has these finger-claws to span
over my face. But, oh! I have confessed;
I may invite sweet torture as a guest.
Desperate, I may nullify the ban.
I am not strong, nor can I hope to start
battling this. Though I am sorely pressed,
without such pain, I cannot think of Art.


I've been crying in my sleep
from desire sharp and deep:
more than anything, I keep
wishing happiness for you.

I do nothing else but weep,
except to creep
on my knees and pray anew.

The things I've wanted are a heap,
enduring, steep,
of my sins, forgotten, too,

with the vain rewards I'll reap,
lost within my prayer. I'd leap
with a joy profound and cheap
if your happiness were true.

I've been crying in my sleep
from desire sharp and deep:
more than anything, I keep
wishing happiness for you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sonnet XI: How Rare a Thing

How rare a thing is love that tends two hearts
toward each other, simultaneous,
with no contrivance, no mechanic parts,
uncultivated, full spontaneous.

How lovely is the conflict when one rides
to war, expecting pain to be endured,
and finds instead the battle has no sides,
and victory already is secured.

And how delightful it must be to find
by one's own garden stream a shady tree,
untended, extant since before our kind.
How rare! How precious such a thing must be!

I marvel at such futile treasures; yet,
for you, I will protect, forget, regret.

Sonnet X: In Like a Lion

I'm bigger on the inside than the out:
if I don't find an outlet of some kind,
the force will be too much--I have no doubt--
and I'll explode. My skin will split, unwind:

my heart will rise to satisfy my thirst;
the clouds will part, receive it; and my blood,
like any fountain, from my chest will burst,
and bathe the earth--an overwhelming flood.

The first warm wind of spring has come today.
I smell the dampness of the sacred earth.
The world is calling me to run away,
and all within me screams from searing mirth.

Today, I know if I could just escape
my body, I could fly to my true shape.