A perpetual yesterday dressed in ash;
grief, do not whisper but lay hard upon my breast,
and ache, yes, as I reach for my faith.
Death’s sore words are set upon the tongue, but keep her, Lord,
for mercy, yes, and love.
In honor of my mother, who unexpectedly passed April 14/18. And I, in another country, mourn her.
The o’seer of pain dresses in white, his fingers adorned with thorn’d rings, a garland of roses loose around his throat, and he teases a kiss of mercy. Well acquainted, he and I, with his mark purposed to tissue and bone. Look upon him close and his robe is stained, his stance unshamed, his hands filthy from his forge.
Torrent of blood charges the veins
loudly hungry meekly sated
Pulsing wet cheeks, a deliberate choir
of noise from dry-throated angels
Sculpt the air with restless fingers
praise and damn with swollen motions
Flat boxes of fiveses and sixeses
minuteses of sleep
wrapped with gray burlap readies to tear
bound by loopy stringses
We stare at the lines, divided,
you and I stark and misguided,
worn dull by day’s exhausted breath
we move on by hope of certain rest;
by day and by step, with faith our bequest
and by trust, and what it will cost us.
This might as well be Mars, scarred and unrepentant, too distant to glow in heaven.
Our monuments to youth built with hurried hands, then toppled, then covered with sand.
Do you recall the worth of compassion, of rejoicing in our slaked passion?
No more, we say, no more.
And so we study upon the sky with our vainglorious trickster eyes,
our wisdom in cushioned layers, hurling shrill and jagged prayers,
standing alone, bare and barren,
with pleasures unfulfilled, and more monuments to build.
Our November flesh bows
to the wind, we are reflected in a darker light.
Soft resilience of bone and temperament, the
ice bears down and the blankets pile high and you
reach for me for warmth and I will give you
what is left.
The bridge of each moment, still. Glass fragments of breath, of dance, of rest. The silence of fingertips and brief kisses, the warmth of mercy, a peaceable light. The moment, now, and the next begins.
Listen, please listen. You cannot hear my voice; I have none beyond the squelch and repetition that serve as memory. But think back: remember my eyes, my irregular climates, oh, how daring, and oh, how timid, so full of fear and fuck-it, by the drink and the contradictions. You will hear my voice if you listen, if you disregard the inconsequential noise that chokes your ears. If you truly knew, you would tell apart my voice by my pulse points and the wash of gray light upon my lips.
Listen, please listen, and I will be all that you hear.
I dreamed she was Cytherea, with liquid propitious eyes,
But she stared at me too deeply, and I saw myself despised.
She spoke well of her fierce lovers, all strong men of harsh repute,
And those who pledged a longing for her heart of bitterroot.
They cawed like brooding ravens, they craved her fragrant heat,
I knelt before her, unadorned, the shame of my conceit.
Denied of all her ardor, my faith was thus revoked,
I pleaded for compassion, and wept when I awoke.