Plain American Language

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

Monday, December 9, 2013


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.

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