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tearing the rag off the bush again
Kitchen (4 Poems) PDF E-mail


How I break my head against checkered tile

I love on your kitchen floor

break again my ribs your rocks

my surf your shore

the very words on your illiterate

shoes there as I crawl happy

see your own head taped an old

vase I broke in indifference

of my childhood self my love

makes me careless of

The Man in the Bear Suit

In here my vision folded and sewn

shut at the edges the sun fills

my whole broadside eye and I am

half blind and through the other

everything fallen golden

as this sweaty hide I wear

this misery there is some breaking

beauty between the land and sky

but I am stumbling zipped and stitched

anonymous glad of it

Outer Darkness

After Borges

Driving the yellow truck home across Crescent

City like the moon beneath the feet of the virgin

my head was filled with all the things we’ve made

our world, the stuff and nonsense born in talk

but realized as a single thing that forms the third

part of us, that keeps our eyes lock-stepped,

our voices soft: Florescent monkeys and coincidence,

seawalls, lakeside levees, the continent of North America

with all its coffee shops and bars and beers, all things

resplendent; insects, quetzals, tard frogs. The places

you laugh and think I’m a fool; in music, math, my cups,

the Russians. And I of you; women, chastity, lies,

more kindness to strangers than yourself. Faulkner, Rulfo,

Vonnegut, angler fishes attached each to each,

the males becoming vestigial, testicular bodies on a host

with common circulation. Your twin, our city

and our spot above the town, a rental car, wingtips,

stitches in jeans, absinthe. Hotsprings, the language,

looks, and touch of love, a smell, no smell at all,

the fragile flower of jealousy blooming again and again

then crushed down, desire in me as in the city

a dangerous street to walk and in you some mystery.

Mystery itself, springrolls, ginger ale, conspiracy,

animals with mouths full of animals, falling

and being caught again and again. The anatomy

of the past: coral, stars, oceans. The presence of

the moment: a kiss deferred again, drunkenness,

sobriety, lists, silence and speaking at once.

The nourishment of the future; plans, revisions, memory.

All this we have made and lived through language.

All this has made a place in me as between us,

and still I cannot write your poem

On Elysian Fields Avenue

Where the live oaks make a tunnel

of the boulevard tonight storm wind

stirs the branches extended long

and twisted like your hair.

I’m coming home from a session with

your absence, writing a letter

in a coffee shop. The truck catches a gust

of wind and as if some will were pushing

I’m ready to fly up into those

branches, tangle there and hang,

let the double barrel of the avenue

weigh the roots below while I

wave bound above in branchings

past choosing tied in knots.

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