Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This is in Antonia Torres Aguero

Hay una falla en el centro
una fruta podrida al fondo del canasto
un rostro quemado por los agentes del horror
un rastro que supura bajo las vendas.

Hay un error en todo esto.
Una piedra en el engranaje
un mecanismo desaceitado.

Son objetos, cartas, llaves perdidas bajo la alfombra
basura, quebradas que esconden cuerpos bajo la cal.

No hay sagrado corazón que redima.
No hay oración que enmiende ni explique.

Hay un pinchazo por donde se cuela el aliento
un desastre por donde hace agua la embarcación.

Hay una grieta
una trizadura en el centro

Allí chorrea la comprensión
el alquitrán ardiente de la palabra

Monday, December 9, 2013

Love Poem to Hannah

Pie and your countenance on my birthday, your hand slightly bristling
from the contrast of cold inside the bathroom against the heat of your body temperature
after sitting next to an open oven for so long, listening
to the flames wrought and cinder and caress and singe and melt.
It is almost glistening to think of how you will look at me
after I take one bite, after I will taste the apple that you’ve baked for me
inside a crust so luscious with butter my stomach ache will sing gravely and loudly
of the benefits and drawbacks of sugar--it will be glorious: you
will be glorious. You with your simple hair that leans back and forth
when you tilt your head forward and back, kissing me with
the eyes of your tongue, that bright red lipstick I love,
you are my birthday present. The crescent of your laugh, the chatter you bring
to the table and the bedroom, a sudden and gentle touch
on my shoulder that bewilders then calms then huddles everything close.
Do you bring this much into the world as you give? Bake crusts
that envelope an apple like organ music? The hair on your sweater twists
and falls onto the carpet every single day. I’ve seen pieces of it twirl,

curls of butter on a hot pan called air. What other pieces of you can I steal for myself tomorrow?


Grief like cloves mistaken for honey, like a
ship inside of a bottle, like bottled molasses,
like the sudden sharp knife of February,
like December, like March in mud season, like seasons
like the rapid vaporization of liquid iron
that seeps into the vein that marches on like militaries,
like militaries, like edges of quilts that
stack upon the smallness of the body of you,
like a million and one bricks smoldered onto one shoulder,
like one shoulder, like one initial tatooed
onto your eye, like an eye, like the iris that quivers
like cadavers when the morgue shakes with rage,
like the numbers of millions that moan
into the mouth of slavery, like mouths, like the mouths of babes,
like the equivocation in the voice
when language is underdeveloped, like unfathomable
illnesses that scratch at the belly
at the rocks that empty out onto the toes
like broken windows, broken books, broken doorbells
unanswered mail, cacophonies that
do not dispel the sadness, the road that elegies walk on,
the yellow and dusty dirt that etches
an ink mark down the troughs of muscles
on the bodies of crying mothers, like blue and blackness,
like the emptying out of rivers, like the movement
of time on the body, like grown arms
and legs and lips and speech, like a pencil
or bell that both echo like footsteps.
In the ecology of personal suffering, the world
passes by like a bi-plane, turns and gyrates and gives and gives,
thirsty like a philanthropist for its giving.
There is love and there is the hand that trembles like piano wire when the hammer strikes it, there is memory faded and there is memory that is a permanency, grafted onto the skin, a kindness like a beautiful body. Once I woke
and thought you had gained your body,
but if that were true, your hands would not be whispers
nor your whispers and smile drips of water on the edges of my eye.
This grief like a cushion I rest on, like a bread I dig into when I am thirsty,
edges away, returns and leaves.
There is no distinct reason why a memory is like a caged crocodile,
but there it is: silent, motionless, mouth
agape, breathing.

Today the world is bright,
is drier than most other days: it is fifty degrees
in February, almost fourty eight in the shade--
the cool breath of the wind
so thoughtful on most days in springtime
whispers in haiku syllables
five, then seven, then five accounts of how
global warming will not end, that we will suffer,
and the glaciers will melt
and I will die and everyone will die
but we will be warm, and our shoes will sink
into the loving earth that cushions us,
cradles our bodies as we lie onto it,
breathing in the breath of eternal summer
and honeysuckles and disappearing bees
and bears kept in museums and poetry
kept in museums, locked in glass cases like
so much fruit in the grocery stores
and the grocery stores filled with bright, beautiful
yellows, pinks, purples and oranges,
vegetables and leaves will forever be green
and green will be the flag because there will
be no nations, there will only be earth
and water and the few people
who populate this world,
as we dangle our shoes over the edge
trying to remember what winter
used to mean when it took us over in February.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On the Bed, On Vacation

Sometimes I would rather not begin
by stating the situation in which I sit,
neck bent. Nightly, instead,
I will go to the pool hall
and play half-silently, admiring
broken fans that,
perhaps, cooled a great number of players,
cues in hand, important, blue chalk dusting off their shoulders
like drifting children; they tumble down
covertly, ethereal near the construction site
Oh construction site, in the town in which I was born,
you light up the as if you
were hosting a Hawaiian barbecue,
or perhaps celebrating Channukah,
though that is slightly troubling
as your candles are innumerable and scald
a fantastic after-glow
on the dashboard, dirt piles
and football stadium, drifting children. So, then,
the problem: light, being.
Beams beg for walking upon and
you are months from completion--
no night-watcher will touch
a foot on you, blue-black whale whose mouth glazes
open like candle wax,
except in the future when
children roll their fingers on your cavernous walls.

Trains (completely unfinished)

Opening wide the mouth of night
light is not an oracular ghost,
rather factual: stiff as military starch,
a lampost
trips the dark.
Morning you are woken with
clouds bombastic and purple night
a healed blister
a wisp of cold aluminum
drifting downward from the sky.
A loud breath, the throat tightens
as the whip of an opposite train goes by.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not Really

Driven like a nail through brick
stick dark as unstuck mud
on the boot left cleaved on the basement rug
a knife poking through a pumpkin
something like breath, a drachma unearthed
by a four year old, cloaked,
shivering: hexagonal,
seemingly gorgeous, a dream--

the picture of horse, the faint upward motion
of coin bounced on the pocket's
inside, it climbs without bearing
right or left, thumb coolly caressing
its image for more than ten years--
time passes, as a pear.
In the thinning, subconscious night
light enters the room like a horse's canter.