Plain American Language

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

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.