Wednesday, February 28, 2007

For Papa

The way to the Cathedral
is full of people that pass
their thoughts ahead; minds full
unaware of the drizzle that falls
making their coats glisten on the way to mass

the dull sound of my feet
beating the ground is covered
by the cars that pass
my mind behind, vacant
rain speckles my spectacles
as I enter the nave's northern door

Inside the grey stone walls
I light a small blue candle grasping
for a half remembered mumbled
prayer to your memory
as the stones encircle me
collecting my words in their crevices
mortar for God's house

But somewhere in the holy air
that fills this empty, austere place
on a grey stone arch my God sits
unmoved by the moving of my lips
unable as a cause to comprehend consequence

I watch the little flam dance
marking the day like an inverted birthday cake
it occurs to me
You would rather I eat a Boston cream doughnut
with a cup of tea (2 sugars, milk please)
then wait for this stale piece of bread
and light a 75 cent candle you'll never see
because you're four years dead

Ashes to ashes, the time passes
an old Irish man with starched white collar
puts his wrinkled tissue paper hands in black
and marks me with his faith

oily and pungent
cool on my skin

his hands swim in my vision
reverently, I bow my head
the salty holy water leaving my eyes
rains splashes baptizes the floor

four years gone
and if I close my eyes
and listen

I can still hear you breathe

Last Words

These are the last words I have for you
no longer will you haunt my sentences
hiding between the letters and sneaking
into the dots of my Is

There are many differences between us
I spell savior without u
when we kissed your lips
held no Eucharist
only the stale taste of old Guinness
and the lingering smoke of your cigarette
I just didn't know it at the time

I hope you never read the words I left you
Because I didn't mean to give them to you
That little peice of paper covered in ink
heart beating lips dry hands sweating I dared
to leave with a sleepy man you work for
after knocking on a window and disturbing the peace
of my mind
was meant to be shared, not taken.

Those words (and these) though written for you
do not belong to you
they belong to me.
And you stole them with your silence.

I hope that little peice of paper was lost
amongst the napkins behind the bar
or on the floor beneath some old woman's heels
covered in spilt red wine or mud
that would blur the words and tear the paper

because dirt would be better for them
dust and neglect, in ignorance
would be better than your knowing silence
that rings louder than the flat line
of blood that rushes through the capillaries
of my ears

I'd prefer that you hate me
than ignore my invitations to poetry slams
or for a shared pint with yours and mine
or cared enough to call and say it was just me
instead of a callous and cowardly text message

Rather that when you saw me at the bar
you were so overcome that you would have to leave
turning on your black heels, pulling
your leather jacket over your shoulder, scowling.

Than be peferctly able to wave a half hearted hello hello
share a dance where our eyes won't meet
and spend the rest of the night twirling about
with a woman who moves better than I ever could
and places her hands without shame on your backside

But that's the way of things, isn't it?

Words. Words. Words.
Empty syllables resound in my head
I should have interrupted you
saying that I'm a girl who doesn't kiss
after a first impression
Who doesn't spend the night
on the first date, or fall in love
with someone, a stranger, a dancer, a Canadian
with a heart of stone and teeming with apathy
who could disregard a girl who's willing
to wear her heart on her sleeve
and bare her soul in her poetry

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Rainy Monday Morning

Drops of water drizzle down the buildings
pooling in alleyways between the concrete
collecting on the hem of my old blue jeans
a litmus test of morning

Sleepily wandering through the maze of stone
I can still taste the trail
of last night's beer on my tongue
stainging my mouth with its
dull yeasty weight

I can pick and choose my recollections
half remembered and half drunk
the fuzzy pictures traverse in my head
but I tune out before the credits begin
distracted by the horn of a blue Volkswagen
that tried to touch my body with its bumper

An old woman in a green rain slicker
passes a cursory and judgemental eye
as I curse the driver in
a sonorous stream of obscenities
that a whole bottle of Dawn
couldn't wash away

and with a flourish of my jacket
return to my sordid memories and place
my back to the roar of traffic
trudging through the raindrenched streets

Friday, February 16, 2007

For Posterity

hullo, molly ringworm, if that is your real name,here's a couple of schmoleys for your delectation and skullduggeration,as promised an essay on blake, followed by a pom that sips a little fromthe master's cup so to speak, no doubt you spent all night in a sweatdrench frenzy, trying to arm yourself with a couple of rhythmic ripostesin anticipation of our televised literary vendetta, due to take place overthe next ten years (ending in your death), later critics will compare theto and fro to that of a honey bear toying with a lame and incontinentbadger-dog of some kind, but never mind, at least you'll make thefootnotes dave

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Roofer

thrashing branches shriek streaking
into the grey stone stormy sky
rain crashes into the wet
earth foaming in galleys like rabid dogs

high above the ground on a roof
made of shiney silver tin
the Roofer raises a hammer
into the furious and ferocious wind

Heavens rumble and growl
threatening the horizon with
jagged clouds and streaks
of sharp white fire

One nail for a nickel
and children to be fed
One nail for a nickel
and then struck dead

Years after the rain
when above the bed it's dark
footsteps sound from the ceiling
and loud beating of your heart

through the corner of your eye
a figure on the veranda
raises his spectral hammer to the sky
and fire eyes stare straight
as you die

Dying is an Art

Looking out of wire squares
That frame the world
Water tocks as it trickles
Over glass
Somewhere a distant creak
Voices muffled through plaster

Stolen time, shadow time
Silly feeling sullen so
Breaths and gasps echo
Breaking the buzz of silence

Give it to her good, man.
If I must hear your bodies slam
At the vertex
At least make it worth hearing

Sylvia Plath said that Dying is an art
Like everything else
I do it exceptionally well

Three hours have passed since
The hollow ring of a dial tone
Heart heavy my eyes
Leaking framing the
Pallor of my putrid face
I realized that a cup of tea isn’t enough
And forever isn’t always for partners
For lovers, that is.

The death has taken hold of me
And tonight the reaper is out
Having a drink with my friends
Grinning with a plastic red cup in hand
Winking at strangers who might make her breakfast
While I write poetry

And listen to Bruce trying to
Cleave the poor Scottish girl
In half with the dull blade that hangs
Between his legs
But she sounds like she likes it
Another notch on the bedpost for Uncle Sam

Monday, February 12, 2007

Words. Words. Words.

there is no word to describe
the feeling after I've put my
fist through the porch window
and dripping red and shining
with shards of glass
I wave it at my ashen faced brother

Savage? Not enough.

There is no word for the place
beneath your chin
that I wish to press my face to
and inhale the scent of your
black macaroni hair

at least not in the (English-Irish-Spanish-French-German) five languages
we aren't speaking

There is no word to describe
gathering (take a breath)
the bleeding heart courage
required to leave you
the words I had fired
in my mental furnace
until they shown like diamonds
and then you reply
I want to be friends

Disappointment? Too clean.

What could would capture
the glorious silence
following the last note
echoing off rafters and balcony
as the conductor shows all his teeth
forgetting professionalism and saying
not too quietly
fuck. yes.


These phonemes and morphemes
vowels consonants sounds
leaving my mouth
weaving invisibly across the tainted
air stained with my breath
mingling on currents
and entering you

are absolutely meaningless.

The Words, I mean.

There's nothing we can do.
His 70 year old heart is worn
withered beneath his weathered skin
and it's the end of your shift
so you're going home to eat your wife's porkchops
instead of doublechecking the stitches

Your Mother and I are going to court.
sit stiffly in the middle of
a hard wooden bench and ask you
questions about memories you aren't
even sure are real
How did that leg break? Who gave you that black eye?
What's that scar from on your cheek?

I love you.
I'll put my lips to your forehead
and make you tea with 2 spoons
of sugar and a dollop of milk
in the green cup
without you even asking.

I hate you.
walking past you
there's a weight in my stomach
and my ears ring and my face gets red
ashamed and angry and hot

Words. Sounds.
Nothing said.
Everything done.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Rumi - Like This

If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,
Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
Like this.

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God’s fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
Like this.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don’t try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn’t believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like this.

When lovers moan,
they’re telling our story.
Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.
Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
Like this.

How did Joseph’s scent come to Jacob?

How did Jacob’s sight return?

A little wind cleans the eyes.
Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he’ll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us
Like this.


The Basque Nose

I may as well be invisible
when Curtis says to Idoia his wife
That Basque nose
Let me touch that nose
and she lets him
and I’m surprised I don’t
repeat him: Let me touch that nose
even though I’ve thought more often
of her chin— what I would abandon
to touch the line along
the muscle of her neck
to the small ridge below her ear —
a place which has no simple word
even in the half dozen languages
we choose not to speak in that room

Curtis—one of the most benign
men I know except for one
New Year’s when he got drunk and vaulted
his six-foot-four Iowa-farmboy frame
over the dinner table to stomp
the gum out of some brute
pushing up on Idoia
But do you blame him?
The brute I mean
for blabbing anything
the liquor—he mistook
for muse—inspired him to say
just to hear Idoia speak—her vowels
thin cool and round as céntimos
dropped in a beggar’s hand

I smoke on their front patio
Idoia stops in the kitchen
And I hold my cigarette
to the window between us—how (for a moment)
she purses
her mouth near the glass
a mock gesture too much
like a kiss for me to ignore

After dinner Curtis Idoia and I drink
wine which gives me courage
to practice my Spanish I think about
the difference between saber and conocer
conjugating each verb beginning
in first person New Jersey familiar
So when Curtis gets drunk
and kisses his wife’s shoulders
they both close their eyes and I’m still
muttering I know... You know... He knows...
Patrick Rosal

found it!

Twenty Billion Light Years of Lonliness

Mankind on a little globe
Sleeps, awakes, and works
Wishing at times to be friends with Mars.

Martians on a little globe
Are probably doing something; I don't know what
(Maybe sleep-sleeping, wear-wearing, or fret-fretting)
While wishing at times to be friends with Earth
This is a fact I'm sure of.

This thing called universal gravitation
Is the power of loneliness pulling together.

This univerise is distorted
So all join in desire.

The universe goes on expanding
So all feel uneasy.

At the lonliness of twenty billion light years
Without thinking, I sneeze.

Shuntaro Tanikawa

Thursday, February 08, 2007

So. Good.

"Uncommon Denominators"

I add up the times I’ve fantasized about
women I’ve seen but never spoken to
and divide that by the hoursI drive past cemeteries and add again
the weight of breath in your mouth
measured in the ancient Tagalog word for yes
— but the number always comes out the same

So I subtract the moonand the smell of incense on Good Friday
trying to connect Planck’s Constant
to the quantum moment between a candlelit flick and the back of your neck
setting aside my 7 dreams of having sex once
with Tyra Banks who tells me God
You Filipino guys know
how to make love to a woman and even if I tally the 10,069
channels launched by satelliteswhich have an asymptotic relationship
to the count of stones cast
from a sinner’s fist raised
to the power of eight million punch-clockstiffs heading home late
still the number comes out the same
and when a beggar pirouettes along an expressway’s center lane
swearing this won’t be his last
cigarette (smoke rising fromthe rust in his moustache ) I suddenly know
the acceleration of a falling body
has little to do with slippinga mother into the ground or
a whole greater than the sum of its parts

And if you ask what I’m doing
with 7 loaves and 4 fish multiplied
by the root of a dried tamarind tree
or the coefficient of friction
of a bullet on the brink of a rib
or the number of clips emptied
into an unarmed Guinean man
on a dark Bronx stoop I’ll tell you
I’m looking for the exact
coordinates of falling in love plus or minus
the width of a single finger
lost along the axis of your lips

Patrick Rosal

Just because I finally found it (it's fun to read aloud)

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.

Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze, in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.
Thomas Hardy

More Pablo for my mood.

"I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You"

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

Pablo Neruda

Sums up my mood.

"Tonight I can write the saddest lines"

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example,'The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before.
Her void. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Interrupt Me If I'm Wrong

Interrupt me if I'm wrong

Roaring voices straining to speak
above the saturated air
silently my eyes travel
the solid black horizon of your shoulder
and rest on your chin
as accidentally I brush your arm
with Guinness courage given

dizzy drunk dancing
circles around a dark haired man
eyes shine lips smile
he knows Hello Hello
and takes me to an alcove
that smells of cigarettes
where our faces press
against each other

Interrupt me if I'm wrong

shillouetted by the firelight
eyes trace the lines
of your face and rest
in the shadow of your bright eyes
I envy the syllables that roll off your tongue
and through your lips

I wish I was bolder
to reach across this card checkered table
saying that I've won four games and my prize
is to go take your hand and press
it softly against my cheek

Interrupt me if I'm wrong

beneath the emblem of your home and native land
alight with a blue glow
timbres and tongues tangling
marble white bodies bare
what the fuck was that
I don't care because it was us

the sun streams through
lights floor beams as
lazily let my eye I
linger on you
rising and falling softly
but it's goodbye

Interrupt me if I'm wrong

but I don't want to belong to you
and I may not be long with you
but there's something here
I'm not wrong for you

These are my intentions

to make you my world famous pancakes
to swap CDs with songs that speak for me
to exchange books so we can learn
and watch you make shadow puppets
that all look the same (but I'll never tell)

I don't want to keep you
I just want to know you
while I can
and enjoy the random acts and events
that caused an american girl with dimples and a bad sense of balance
to collide with a canadian man who sings and dances as he cooks dinner