Friday, January 30, 2009

Sonnet XXVII: Restless

Say, what shall I do tomorrow?
Shall I explore? Or shall I die?
Shall I live, drink deep on sorrow,
pass out, exhausted, where I lie?
Shall I wander through Earth’s corners,
flushed and jostling all the mourners
around the Unmoved Mover’s grave,
and ask them for the truth he gave?
Or shall I give birth, elated,
and love upon the baby’s blood,
before I bathe him with a flood
of saliva I created?
What shall I do today? Forgive?
Shall I encircle? Shall I live?


I. Rondeau

She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
so faithful and so unknowing,
and she doesn't see she's dying
(hasn't she been?).
She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
but I know that I'm not lying
(are we but men?)
when taking her hand and showing.
She's panting and softly crying
(do it again),
so faithful and so unknowing.

II. Virelai

Beautiful, exciting, dead:
pangs of hunger, pangs of dread,
when I think pollute my head
with the things I think I did

when I pinned her to the bed--
the way she pled
for the secrets that I hid

on her body; when I said
how I have bled
in the darkness; when I rid

all my soul of words that sped,
understood by her; I led
her to warmth, and then I fed
on her heart as I was bid.

Beautiful, exciting, dead:
pangs of hunger, pangs of dread,
when I think pollute my head
with the things I think I did.

III. Ballade

I do not know what violence to do
to ever pay for all that I have done.
I cannot speak; I could not punish you
as I exposed my secrets to the sun,
running as far as ever I could run.
Shall I cut deeply, splitting into two?
Shall I expose my heart and hands to pain?
I have lost everything that I have won;
now I must offer everything I gain.

Sonnet XXVI: My Anthropology

My weary brain was frustrated by rules,
Yet suddenly I found in all I own:
A subject is a universe alone,
Not linked, a game that uses its own tools.
This world and that world and their separate schools
Have different logics laid upon the throne,
Returning each the unconnected drone
Of sacrifice to unacquainted ghouls.
Perhaps all worlds are thus--they intersect
On points but do not intermingle. I
L'istesso tempo play each piece anew,
Overtly speak its laws, each game perfect,
Go on as it requires. I see the lie,
Yet hold their contradictions all as true.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sonnet Cycle


There is a rugged apex where one turns
from gazing at a withheld thing with lust
to finding that it fills one with disgust.
The tongue is bitten hard; the stomach churns.
And I have been too hungry with concerns
for far too long; I’ve learned to stay robust
by eating only atmosphere and dust.
I marvel as the flesh no longer burns.

For I no longer wish to share my soul
with you or any other I revile,
and I no longer wish to desecrate
myself by knowing you in part or whole.
So your forlorn attempt to reconcile
is simply meaningless; it comes too late.


I’m sickened by my own debauchery,
but I must never stop allowing drink
to pass my sated lips, must never think,
for pain is in my eyelids, and I see
that glee and self-indulgent revelry
are opiates that keep me from the brink
of memory and tutor me to blink
when bitterness becomes too real to me.

If manufactured meaninglessness roils
around me in a sleepless, soothing balm,
then everything that wants to hurt my heart—
that outside meaninglessness that despoils
my sanity—can’t get me. Never calm,
I tear another fiction-world apart.


You may laugh your laughter of derision
at my well-constructed affectation
of dependent, yielding adoration—
when the time is full, whose cold decision
tells you to go home, girl, with a vision
toward protecting your untainted station,
warning you to take your sweet elation
and get out with terrible precision?

I’m the one who keeps the midnight watches,
half an eye turned toward the unseen Bible,
tempering my joyfulness, critiquing
any peg that slips too many notches,
guarding well my charge against their libel.
See—I know the enemy is seeking.


I trust nobody with my soul, for none
who cares for me is strong enough to fight—
here only I am strong, and my poor might
is far too weak to see the task is done.
The heated onslaught has again begun
before our souls were ready, and despite
my efforts to protect our souls last night,
the enemy inside us almost won.

So rest and I are strangers as I do
what no one else around me ever can:
protect your heart and mine until they’re gone.
And all the while I long to run to you,
to hide inside your arms, to let you span
that distance—but you’re weaker; I go on.


I know what I am doing very well—
exactly what I’m doing—that is why
I pull my hand away, define, deny.
She knows the motions, the advance, the swell,
instinctively as far as I can tell,
but meanings are a mystery; they sigh
and whisper in her ear the ancient lie:
there is no danger—but I know; I fell.

Although I long to throw my knowledge down
and follow as she leads into the dark,
descending with delight into the myrrh
of newborn joy, I will resist her frown
and pull my hand away and not embark,
because I am, in truth, in love with her.

I do not think my husband really heard
when I confessed my feelings for my friend.
I was unclear—I don’t think I intend
for him to ever know—because I’m blurred
by wonder, half-enraptured by a word
of secret joy. Enamored, I transcend
the earth, and telling anyone would end
the secret, make my love absurd.

Besides, I didn’t know if I should stress
the guilt (I’m married, and the girl is young)
or innocence, because it’s not my fault,
entirely, anyway, for my distress
was great, and I was powerless among
the soft effusions of her fierce assault.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Two moments will live forever:
art and the grave.
I long to preserve your beauty,
to freeze it in whatsoever
form I can save.
Two moments will live forever,
art and the grave:
my brush and my knife's endeavor.
Now is your wave
of apex. I know my duty.
Two moments will live forever:
art and the grave.
I long to preserve your beauty.

Sonnet XXV: Try It

Well, how d’you know you won’t enjoy it then?
I asked. You’ve never tried it. And he said,
I’ve never aimed a bullet at my head—
I know I wouldn’t like that, either, when
my brain blew out in pieces. No amen
could I attempt to volunteer; instead
I closed my mouth. He might as well be dead
as think that—could I make him live again?

How wrong! How is it possible to know
one wouldn’t like a new thing? To refrain
from newness proves one weak and childish; though
I’ve cowered many times from foreign grain
and meat, it is my hope soon to outgrow
all fear—to laugh with joy while learning pain.