variations on a mottled theme

a tree stands lone
against the sun and with lone leaf stares
from its cracked ground

morning knuckles creak; hill-hide ripples golden
mat of fur about to rise, about to rise and growl

you said, sometimes i think the trees are hairs erumpent
from follicles of some vast beast whose skin we prowl

i said, i cannot watch too long the stars or i would stay
the night in keening

iris-glitter dulls within the memory mausoleum

gone the crevices of your voice
gone the nights our tongues dueled
the old sea beating bitter
threnody

the sand crabs have not vanished nor the tread-trace
upon the shells, sea urchins denuded to pink intricacy

bones too abide in subterranean precincts
the skull shuttered to withstand meaning-gales
as yet, the sky has not been singed

doing the jive with Pierrot Lunaire

i
El Greco chose just the right greys and browns to muddle Christ’s face with quietude and death.
For the blood of cherries is sweet.
And by the rivers of blahblah I sat down and wept.

ii
Somber glowworms lumber in hedgerows.
I could not undo the hopes I had birthed in you.
Dandelions chuckle on suckling fields.
Desiccated leaves scritch scratch moonstabbed sidewalks.
Vast moths curtain the iron sun.
All my cells are thirsty.

iii
Supernal nuts draw squirrels up trees.
Church spirals rife with breeze.
My garden. My grapevines. My house.
Stray radishes fester. Rotting roses float on the purple sea.

iv
The mug was cheap but it had held your wine, felt the innards of your palms, and in this way its existence had taken on legitimacy.
And it was right to chase the dreams of the toads with our fingers.
And it was right to listen to the tarantula path of voices across the skin of the slightly heaving house.
It was right to observe the trajectories of nocturnal rodents.

v
Even the moon is musky.
What a beautiful skull. We’ll all look good. An eater of your dead whoreson body is all water.

A professor once said, “Poets make terrible philosophers.” We were studying one who wrote a brief bit of theory claiming that words have their attractions, their affinities. That they find each other, draw each other, wish upon, evoke each other; that they set themselves to tune and as surely as F# wants G, words have their trajectories, their longings. The professor said, “In terms of a philosophy of language, this is nonsense. Though perhaps as a poet it’s helpful.”

Maugre the laws of logicians of language, words like to flirt. Some make eye contact across a crowded room and slowly circle to meet as though by accident, but before the night is over they will have planned to meet again and before the week is up they will have raced to bed. I say writing is a mere marking of the love lives of words, their friendships and feuds, their animosities, their tittering gossip – transcriptions of the soap opera of conceptual spheres.

 

fiat

let there be sun spittle upon woods
opulent steam from night gutters
constellations upon waters

let stuttering sheep harmonize thunder
and starlings snore under voracious spires
be there thistles along precise fields
and light tumbling from plump fires

the puppy runs
and the alchemist sun
turns iron silver
chaffy weeds gold
dull grass emerald

the puppy runs
and the breezes follow
the west wind’s mirth flirts
with the whimsy of the north

the breezes sing siren tales
the very mud is full and bright

sing for the unchronicled loves of the daffodil
for the forgotten fires that blaze the pansies’ noons
for the gnawing hopes of the dandelion
sing for the lazy splendour of goldenrod
and the impudence of the moaning fir

the puppy runs
under an alchemist sun
and the very mud is full and bright