Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
Are You Hungry? A Poem For Departure
for Karthik, departing
'Who has twisted us like this, so that -
no matter what we do - we have the bearing
of a man going away...so we live,
forever saying farewell.' - Rainer Maria Rilke
out of hearing
the last sense
sing to me now
before ears take
leave and I shall
have no more need
for words, sounds,
even these my sighs
heard as I hear you
dropp the soap in
I imagine you bending
vague in the steam to
find the bar by scent
as you wash away
your own which has
so compelled me
again and again
(so gladly the
Cleave to this
I say aloud
though you may
not hear my plea
from where I sit
multiplied with grief
for leaving all this
chalked now upon
I am caught up in this
vision without glasses
squinting for what is
real or not though you
are faced to mine as I
obediently move my
shaking hand to your
belly, the scar there,
edges still hot
to the touch
Much there is I will
make of this moment,
drying your back as I
have daily done -
began the rite
the towel easily un-
little mouths many
natural in me
with the wiping
I am become
free now of
to this my task
to last, this minute
or two, to linger,
become a touch
I am right now to speak
of this, retrieving the soap
which clings one strand
your hair tangled there,
a cypher I read
with joy grown
long into cleaner
a leaf upon the
blown in through
the night window
I bring it to
you calling to
me from the
as you pack
'Are you hungry? '
As Dew On Grass Sleeves No Longer Stiffening In The Wind - Moments From The Orange World - After Reading Kenneth Patchen
for Bruce and Patti
happily singing in their chains by the sea...
'...do not grieve, therefore, those who are lost to you;
they were ever so to themselves...'
- Kenneth Patchen - from 'There Is One Who Watches'
I've lost my way and wait for signs.
Distant signal fires indicate 'wait here'.
No gate ahead. The iron dogs hungrily await
all who approach edges of the orange world.
Best to settle in, grin at stinking Death who is
sinking into the ground winking at me as if to say,
You will soon sink. You will soon sink.
Who do you think you are or were?
Step forward if you dare.
I've observed how furred things give up without much complaint.
They've grabbed often enough and so Death grabs back.
They sigh or call out in their animal way, Son of a b*tch!
but in the end they relent and they sink leaving only their
pink tongues spread out over the dawn as if to say...as if to say...
I blink in the dark looking at edges distant fire.
I wink back at Death who has left only a bony hand
on the ground where He waits just beneath.
How trite He is but it does the job, conveys His trap clearly.
When dawn tongues awake licking dew from my face,
and my fears, I shall raise both my hands, too,
as if to say...as if to say...
And flaunting these two hands to Death's one, and with flesh,
I shall walk away the way I came having done with burning signs
and a night's work of waiting, my presence taunting the dogs,
Death baiting as if He has forgotten one hand upon the dirt.
We have flirted, Death and me. Not the kind of company
I like to keep preferring furred things to winking bones,
Death's head all teeth and no whistle. But I earn my pay.
I walk away, my own tongue licking.
I can barely contain myself arriving back at camp.
She waits dreaming shyly in our tent, a Bedouin soul bending
gently over the wells in Her keeping on Gentler Hill.
I shall lick Her face then. I shall not tell Her how
I have survived the night with Death at my feet, the taunting
signals over there at the edges, iron dogs alert.
I shall not hurt Her with knowledge of this orange world,
all the dark things within it. I shall not take Her roughly
to me but softly settle beside Her where she breezes as dew
on grass sleeves no longer stiffening against the wind.
I shall bring Her in as a fisherman brings
in his boat softly singing a fisherman's tale,
his throat a song-sore nocturne rocking night waves,
beacons ashore flaring where his Love lies sleeping
awaiting conjectures, his folding, folding into Her
gently suspiring guesses -
'Is my love away at sea, at sea,
dark as wine presses as he will
surely press me?
O drink from the wells I tend -
I earn my pay - and away with
ocean roaming! '
Distant lights demur sure in their beckoning.
Sudden he turns singing boat and heart to shore,
starfish near at hand yearning beyond foam..
Dawn tongues slowly raise up land-sunken houses,
stilled curtains in darkened windows not yet stirring.
Nearing, he shall not shake the dew from his cloak but gather
as much as he can to bathe Her - feet, hands, those parts
Death cannot sink into, but he can. And life will continue on.
As will the other, his lost brother of the inland tent
now gratefully at rest forgetting the ever orange world,
edge fires signaling unseen until dark,
and then the dogs,
and Death's hand,
and then back to work again.
The ground assumes its portent.
The good of the season remains in what is left behind.
It takes what lays down or is laid down upon it.
You'd think it a kind of king of accountants.
You'd sink down an addition of arithmetics,
heartbeats, breaths, footings found and lost,
all the unintended landings of a life.
You'd think it wouldn't stop.
You'd sink down even wide awake in this season.
Such sinking pretends its endings in countless
geometries of folding life down or over
and under sundering fractions apart,
forgetting theorems, all but the final one.
The rest can change or pretend to.
Admit you are no good at numbers.
Admit you can only count to a certain sum,
or down to it. Reverse your life if you want to,
wind it down with a memory. Beef up the end.
Noble or not, you can fake it.
Planning is what counts for indemnity.
You can make it seem to make sense.
You can try a new line on every stranger you meet.
You've only begun to juggle Euclid anew under
white lids painted shut with mortician's abacus.
You know a new counting accounting for fainter signs,
new ground to flick numbers between your teeth.
What's left behind is now wrong.
The good of it is what belongs to the
laying down of lines about what you've
finally done. Recounting your old formulas
gives some lingering warm to nerves on edge.
No hedging now.
The ground assumes its importance.
The season rattles all our leaving
in its cupped hand.
Avoid The Narrows
I am much taken by one long
thumbnail a bright star on dark
water forcing attention toward Nova
so forgive if I minister to,
or try, beside the distant
thigh and mine, thumbs on
various skins stretched tight
as if such stretched-ness is
the purpose of rivers for a
night in wet summer chaste
as I am (of currents made)
breathing into what attention
means back in the small space
the small of the back imagining
thumbnail's trace an ancient
script in darkness as is the
other darkness dark as dark
waves spray the bow
blow upon me
now I beg keep
bless the wound
the thigh where
is this pressing
just the thing
to talk of stars
baby seals play
or sun on gray
my head tucks
in a stone niche
ages old to warm
to press the thigh
mine, there too
that impress of
such are the living
I am not new to such need
I am not immune to the worry
upon my chaste return, sunburned,
churned by the Atlantic, I will have
discovered a haunting sound again,
an animal music of the air, the lungs,
screams really, gulls falling by arrows
of blue which, blue, saturate sky and sea
to learn the heart again
avoid the narrows
at the island's end
where feet are easily
mistaken for doves
there large currents