The expectation of her scream found me
On the third of our two dates. She needed
No protection but the thin lights of a balcony
Overlooking a stream of metal boxes with metal wheels.
She said the noise helped her sleep, carried to unknown
Directions the conclusions of dreams she did not commit.
I believed her false jokes—
They were never mine to judge. What right
Of arbitration did I possess
Within the curls of my cigarette breath?
She left as she had come: with an exclamation
And an unwashed silhouette inside the corners of our house.
She had a mouth constructed for laughter:
Upper dais slightly oblong, ill-fitting
Curve to sister’d step. And what of the black
Nestled within? Barbs stolen from the rose bush—
Edge’s wit mustn’t meld
Amongst company so colored.
She had a mouth constructed for laughter, and perhaps
It had done so once.
But the years had made it small;
She wore now a smile arranged
Only in self-contempt.
The real thing she sold
In the marketplace outside a dream.
Some elements of the prose loosely lifted from previous work.
Even the white of the dying sun
Avoids my bedroom window,
Another Sunday afternoon
Dissolved within a rectangle eight by ten.
The neighbors passed
Away overseas. I saw
The ship’s shadow cast off,
Left beneath a front door
No one thought to disembark: blank, handwritten,
Like the intention of their goodbyes.
I miss their casual violence, the staccato
Of youth unrealized, each cry
Transmuted to fill the hole above my head.
Perhaps I shall visit them, follow starstiched
The longitudes of our deceit.
Companionship’s kiss left all alone
Befriended so long
Thoughts subtle-shaded rose all in black.
Mythological age passed but unsown,
Mortals so mere
False-bidden flung on div-ine track.
Thus king ignoble sat on the throne
Judgement so daft
Satanic refusal broke deviled back.
So gilded god arrived much postponed
Purpose so straight
From side unseen slipped last attack.
Stay a month longer, Jin-dynastied sun…
Too eager you signed unfounding breath.
Greeting came carcass-gifted,
Calamitous cause leaves unsaid?
Enlighten then your parapeted subjects:
Sixty-thousand they stand, suicide-shawled.
Where erred veneration,
When fell celebration?
The horsed horde at our gates know not love
(Their language lacks the rhyme).
At those hands
Are we to be skull-split,
Rent from family and form,
Rent for silver and sex?
It cannot be!
Your claims I disavow, your shapes I abnegate.
To my disciples I say only
Adopt, in final moment,
The butterfly’s art.
I often (re)write poems. A dramatized re-telling of the original.
Hold steadfast First feeling;
Allow not second-rate puppeteer
Capture, once more, the cannonball
Crack of her laughter, in yellow twinkle-toed
Like that jacket you lost, and the mango sorbet
Still stuck beneath her tongue.
Do you remember Last night
In the foreign field of our home,
Where sylvan stars gave birth,
Again and again?
A theater of billions
For a tragedy of two.
The city golden loathes all maps,
Owing existence eternal
To that certain peculiarity of geographical magic:
It cannot be found—
And once found cannot be left. If ever
You find your feet upon its sand,
Stay a lifetime longer; listen evermore
To Celebration’s glass sound, morning lightness;
Marvel until tomorrow’d tomorrow at triplet guardians,
Horizon-erasing waterfalls of stone and lavender marble.
Only that you forget.
There are no visitors in El-Fasaan:
Its language lacks the word.