Friday, April 28, 2017

appearances

she was beautiful,
though a boy.
i can only speak of my ambivalence
about that.

she wanted to be a poet
“because poets know about words
and how they mean.”
i’m not so sure about that.

there are always gaps
between intention and perception.

“poetry is like dancing,”
she says. then again,
you never know who you’re getting
as a partner.

she likes to go dancing.
she mostly goes alone.

she likes to go dancing.
it is the only time she feels beautiful.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

how often we say

we’ve had ten thousand
conversations, you and I,
and still you refuse to change.

are these whispers or prayers?
how often we say flesh.
how often we say spirit.

the arguments keep piling up,
the excuses forming walls.
accusations are flung from the towers.

we need more watchmen on the walls.
hand them trumpets and torches,
let them hail strangers and guard the gates.

we have invited guests carelessly.
i have no idea whose side they’re on.
something sniffs around your door.

i tell you the room is haunted.
you tell me you speak with ghosts.
i no longer recognize these voices.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

soap opera

let me tell you about the gods.
with their petty jealousies.
their sense of entitlement.
their utter disdain.

or not. so easily swayed,
and frail despite their power.
all that scheming –
the soap opera of divinity.

*

1.
so you slayed the lion,
its skin now a shield.
then they kept you
outside the gates.

2.
you entered a cave
with sword and torch.
you gathered the blood,
saved it for a rainy day.

3.
you kept moving;
you ran for a year.
how long will a man run
to find forgiveness?

4.
you were assigned a task,
so you met with a friend
to plan and drink wine.
then killed your friend. maybe.

5.
you found yourself deep in shit.
you asked for a tithe,
your efforts and time.
the courts were kind.

6.
be careful when planning to kill something.
determine to whom it is sacred.
try standing your ground and scaring it away first.
make as much noise as you can.

7.
you wrestled it to the ground,
rendered it unconscious.
so much wasted meat.
and still rejected.

8.
your unnatural appetites.
every breath like flame.
you fill your belly,
your kisses bridled.

9.
you thought it was all going so well.
you fought hard and long for every attention.
she was ready to give you her belt.
i think that’s a metaphor.

10.
how much you labour!
and that labour so often fruitless.
or tedious. you defeat your enemies.
you use so many poisoned arrows.

11.
you have grown tired of apples.
they are arbitrary symbols.
too easily shaped to other uses.
yet you still yearn for the garden.

12.
you knew you required more preparation;
you were not ready. death visits us all:
hierophants, initiates, contemplatives.
you hold it or it holds you.

*

you sought guidance
from the gods
and received a jest.

when I told you that
every labour is a gift,
you hid your face.

over and over,
it was never enough.
until it was. until you
confronted them with death.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

until its burden has been exhausted

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until its burden has been exhausted.

Monday, April 24, 2017

it matters where

it matters where you put words
on the page. it matters when

you put words on the page.
how much breathing

room a word needs.
how much space.

it matters where you put words.
how you speak them. it matters

how they make a home
in the skin. on the tongue.

with murmur and whisper,
entreaty and shouting and song.

some words are seeds,
others are hammers.

some are dry as sand, or
wet as kisses.

all these things matter.
this is how you make a mark.

this is how you write
a poem. or begin one.