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.