Eating Them

Sometimes there is armor on the plate
The animal’s armor is there with it
It is nature’s wit
The colors emblazon on a shell
You go crazy with desire
Which protected the creature
Sometimes there are eyes looking up at you
Hunger is what you stare at
From defeat the aqueous eyes stare
Sometimes
You peel the skin back and then decide to eat it
You don’t see hairs in the skin which would be thorns
The skin is deliciously burnt
By desire and calculation
You lick your fingers
Thorns in the sensibility
Of a creature inside you assaying
The lightness of the things you do
The shame of devouring
What ticks off youth’s clock
But flavor is flavor
Flavor is the port of desire
Hunger lies on the plate of the mind
And it is a dead thing
Until it awakes like a snake on the plate
And it sidles between the flowers
That cover the dining table
Who are also dead
And many of the people dining with you
In fact,  those on either side of you at the table
Are also conveniently dead
They bob as if on vessels and they are
Feeding you and feeding on you
Yet you won’t scream
Because you are so hungry
And this is the right place to sit
So much nourishment is speaking here

Keep

Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night.  Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.

Let

Let the hospice in,
they all tell  me.
Death is a group activity now,
like volleyball
or a well-attended book club.
The morphine won’t be like chewing gum,
until it is,
and the body
is just a car in neutral, drifting back.
But that body
is where you came into the earth.
It was the first voice
to talk to you in the cold.
It was your voice
giving shape to you,
helping you compose
the wet trap you call your mind.
And now they want you
to be the voice
to subtract that voice,
her body,
your one door in.
It’s clear you are not neutral
and they want neutrality,
someone to let the vehicle just drift
back into an ocean
where all the parts dissolve,
where the notion of a driver
is just superfluous,
as there will be nothing left
but the ocean
in its salty rhythms
through an imagined vehicle.
It is as simple as the fact
of a house sliding
into the sea,
they promise, they say.
It is a house sliding
into the sea, you say.
The eyes, the oriels
of the soul, will be the last thing
you lose, and ever look
down, for, henceforth,
as even the sea
has a hard time
digesting the lucidity
of love. And she will be
in them, the windows
underneath,
looking back,
always. (Note how
prepositions
and adverbs
increase with grief,
a directionless
thing.) The prepositions
and adverbs
try to hold
and orient
each other
as we are
quantum-spun
somewhere
in between
the pocketed
voids
of someone
being
and not
being
there.

 

 

 

string fourteen

my name
goes behind
your name

*

see     this string’s
an umbilicus
between names

*

here      a conch we found
swimming to a sandbar
one evening,         1971

*

the rosy blush
to its helix
never fades

*

the words
change their shapes
now

*

in your mouth
“blue”
is difficult

*

mouth     moss
other     mother
nature

*

I find you
you find me
the conch

*

when I sleep,   you sleep
under a sandbar
swimming away