Monday, May 14, 2012
You had seen the empty bed,
The handless coffee cup,
The rod drawing round its black curtain.
You knew they would be waiting,
Quietly smiled and waiting.
You were aware of the buried codes,
The uselessness of innocence,
The heart leaking blood into the vast swallowing emptiness,
The shimmering of beautiful iridescent lies,
The tyranny of suchness.
So in the end you were bone, immersed at the edge of a barren garden,
Sails collapsed like gossamer kites and blowing along vast, deserted lanes.
Among the colors in early shadows you discerned him.
In the clear pool you spied him,
Charming Death with his boutonniere, lifting you up through the perfumed flowers,
To the dead, the dear, longed for dead.
And there you are now,
Sustained in the power of their affection.
Is this not so, mother?
Can this hard man not imagine for you this final kindness?
This very day, after seeing in his hands your movement,
In his mind the light which once shone from your bright blue eyes?
Famous is embalmed;
Famous is ringed round by a sunami of malignant mirrors;
Famous is insane but every one pretends you’re not;
Famous is main lining false epiphanies;
Famous is gargling a tall glass of your own piss.
Famous is fitted for a suit of historically acceptable megalomanias;
Famous is Vladimir
A Barbie doll for the Russian Chamber of Commerce;
Famous is when they pin medals on your naked chest
But you don’t bleed cause you are dead;
Famous is the nose hook pushed up
And the brains pulled out on the mortician’s tray;
Famous is a dance of corpses where every one claps
But secretly they are horrified.
This is why I want to be famous;
Hungry ghost, stapled stomach,
Rolled out thin on a thousand pound press;
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
On Reading A Translation Of Li Po’s Exile
I find it comfortable here. The arrangements,
Light dying at five each evening; Witchy branches of the poplar trees.
Ground unsnowed and already it’s late November.
Jigsaw puzzle of sticks in the stove.
Pissing outside in the cool air; Smell of woodsmoke.
Long nights floating on a sea of velvet black.
Coyotes singing badly arranged songs,
Burning stars as sharp to the eyes as cold water to the scrotum.
Since we are not continuous beings,
Why pine for the loss of some imaginary state?
What other world, no matter how grand,
Can replace the one right here before our very eyes.
I know a few true poets, greet them with great joy
When we meet on the streets of the old city.
But as for the literati, what can I say?
Whiners, egotistical neurotics.
Nothing is more comical
Than to see them slavering after the latest fashion,
Tongues hanging out like winded dogs.
Twenty years of arse kissing
To publish a volume of boring, moronic poems
And you would think the Prime Minister
Had appointed them ambassador to the Cayman Islands!
Unlike dear Catullus I refuse to end
By slipping on a cloak of pious Roman humility.
I have this to say to sheep huddling together in the corner of the paddock –
Bah as pitifully as you may.
Bat your long lashes ever so fetchingly.
Death will snap you like a dry twig
And cast you off into oblivion anyway.
As for that book of poems –
That can be put to use in the outhouses of the new millennium.
My boss is a pear shaped manikin,
Fiery martian face,
Metal wheels spitting sparks, bits of concrete,
Racing corridors searching out miscreants with her X ray vision.
My boss is a victim of brain fever,
Inflammation of the pancreas;
Evenings she receives messages from distant planets,
Wears chain mail underwear, dresses cut from sheets of aluminum.
Her desk drawers are stuffed with death warrants, charred writs of Habeas Corpus.
Listen up she says,
Swinging a steel hip,
Reconstructed from the pistons of an amputated locomotive;
‘Now hear this!’ she says, chrome fingers flailing titanium armpits.
‘Didn’t I say?’
But she’s in a good mood this morning,
Smile a phalanx of filed incisors.
‘Listen!’ she says,
Milk of human kindness filling her wild red eyes;
‘Listen!’ she says. ‘Let’s be reasonable.’
South all day. Evening north.
Flapping the greenhouse plastic,
Rattling the stovepipe chimney.
Whining. Howling. Scouring the ditches.
Braiding grass into sea witch hair.
Whipping trees, snapping green bones.
I sit by the fire, drinking tea, reading Ovid.
Gruesome murders, sexual betrayal, bloody vengeance.
Almost as bad as the news.
A gust seizes the cabin’s shoulders, shakes it with a savage fury;
Death moans behind the woodshed.
Ghosts clank bones beneath the window.
Bang. Clatter. Creak. Lurch.
Things about to come apart at the seams.
Ovid takes no notice.
Other than a slight grimace at the sweep of Augustus’s shadow,
He is imperturbable.
Polished, succinct, elegant, he sails fluidly on.
On The Birth of My Grandson
Vacuums noodling the spiral arms;
Small hole in the egg;
Sweeping movement of the inaccessible,
Its pendulum tock.
Destruction’s no mistake; rather a necessity.
No jamming the conveyor with the detritus of a fixed creation, please.
Some are born; others die.
Presidents and generals.
Even the cruelest tyrant becomes in the end
A pile of dust and leather paraphenalia.
My dear child welcome to the world.
Welcome to the beginning and welcome to the end.
Silver fish glide over the surface of the blue sea.
White birds alight in a green field.
And you, moving your liquid eye across the surprise of creation,
Have your first birthday,
Above you the happy moons of floating faces,
The hospital ceiling, painted blue.