December 11, 2016 · poetry

You Drew Runes from Your Breast

POET you are,
stinking and mad,
a sinner made from sin.
Will there be no
reckoning, no bearing,
a bared breast thrust into the ether
to succor me?
Will you lay unlanguished long
waiting for the sun?
A period trod best
waited for the light,
curling in the night,
fleshed and unfleshed and raw,
waiting for the stallion moon to rise.

Bared breast

Raided deep that thought night
arranged and cuddled you, drew so near,
a naked atom your whole length through,
evidence called to you
lost in stillness.
You feathered a dull bird
and sent it out to peck,
jested some of the time,
other times bent serious over your bosom,
tenderflowers alight,
alert in the dark night.
Part and parcel of you:
elderbrush of stones,
striding through the street,
boots clacking on the cobbles.
You stripped away night and there
was nothing left,
decrepit cloudy day
massed in hemisphere
too heavy for the sun.

And once there you drew runes from your breast,
jaded simply in the ruins,
cycling back and forth up the crowded street.
You saw familiar pain:
creatures holed up and fled.
You, yes, you,
a barbed-wire vision come clanging
through wide and empty streets.
Let fly the gauntlet of the sun,
a red moth breast
declare you've won,
pincered through the chest
down some stone steps and under
to a crypt where mammoth dwells,
a swelling eerie sacrifice.

Tall raping blinds
sick staggered to the street
and fainted, sprawled on stones,
a gentle arborist's rattle,
scared behind the bricks of babble.
Gentle gentrified eliots
come about and bray to you, wild about the saddle,
and wander sadly across the
broken desert sky.

Traipsing past
a bloom in full flower,
make full-flowered room
for bayonets and castanets,
gesture between the roes,
fall scheming on the swordpoints.
Makes quite a clatter.
Heavenly we rattle, gently,
scatter in the leaves.
I made you a broom of twigs
and you swept with it.
Swept everything away,
a cord of agony the tree wavering,
shot through the breast
and pierced no further.
When will the day come
when lichens settle in our dells,
and convoluted silence is the fashion?
Working late silent at a lonely spot,
gate all but closed,
penny-fierce the knock:
crack the rock of ages
set it calmly on its edge
spread its blessing into silence.

Rock sits on its edge

We came and we went,
sat coolly and left,
paraded out the gate
and admired the tombstone's cassock.
It gave a grim cry
pleading for an alibi,
but we passed it by in silence.
Sitting locked we sort of saw the key,
which disappeared deluged in coffee
and streaked the lonely rafters
on its way to the sky.
A serious repast lay waiting
for when the service ended.

We are ingots of gold,
concise in ourselves,
looking fat and heartened by
the scowling of the moon,
loosening our rusted parts and
making for heaven.
A dull red glow at our backs --
we'll never make it, down we go
and the green grass will settle around.
Fine fare a fathom's thumb
sheets of metal stripped together
with bolts of ivory and copper-lashed steel,
we rock and we rock
till the oceans they roll
and fish come in, blustering,
padding big and lumber-footed
down a dark gray path to the tavern of the waves.
Somewhere this cockamamie sea
saw its promise ungained,
radishes unslain,
death-wrapped as shark bait
and waiting for a sun shorn from
the endless scow of waves,
a gentle dicking gerry
a gentlewoman's tongue
ready to lap up salt.

Ocean Under White Skies

We wandered down the sand
flinging pebbles to the crabs
till the ocean rose up and vomited on us
the congealed mass of millions,
seabirds' stomachs, rat-bone tongs,
thin slow saws of poison.
We put up our hands to flee
and found that we were dead
floating over the rubbish of days,
floating stark beneath a plate-gray sky.

The canyons released us
and we tumbled down their walls,
heartsick to wander far,
and dusty sand rose and clung to us
when we brushed it away,
its soft sewing came back.
We ate a meal we didn't want
and set off for the heavens.
B-sides met us
partway, and we listened
to their dark music crying,
the muses in skulls and tatters
surrounded one by one the pancreas of the night
sinister and worn,
magnus left adrift a-dwelling in mist
when we went farther than we came;
a gentle sough often
came to us sighing,
but we had no arms to hold.
There nightmare intervened,
caught on the horrid coast
where cliffs rose all about us,
and the sandy devils roared
challenge to the rusty sea.
We picked up gingerly
our pieces and went
silent, broken,
over the cliffs and into the air
where there was silence everywhere,
and cousin to the dark.

Wandering breastfed through the mist
we courted danger,
heroes in our skins,
waved and rambled till we found
a place to plant ourselves in sinking sand,
and there we stayed till our bones washed clean.
Our debts were forgiven
and the wind went on sighing,
trusting us with our embrace.
We took it all in and let it out again,
waved languidly to the stars, the sea,
the coast.
The sand was on us
and the sand was fine.

Many years later our wombs stirred
and bore into the light
sand and water that rose and carried the cliffs,
rose and buried us
entombed in our age and will.
With nowhere else to go,
we settled down at last
and petrified.
Ages and ages hence
seabirds perched on our heads
eroded through the sand.

Cliffs by water

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