a Journal of Poetry and the Arts
I know something crazy's going on I don't know what
but when I'm an apple
when I'm imagining a fountain of jewels pouring out
of the wax loopholes of this night
and nothing relaxes my nerves which sing like cornsilk
and the man I am leaves me: I
am a bell pepper, I am a quince,
I am the gold leaves
blackening and beginning to ache and a rainbow
silently appears in the sky
suddenly you look up, What heard it? I can't count
the bone hours until I am black
until my skin sings with the wings of gulls and air
all I know is this redeeming voice
this jewel this ruby this sapphire this emerald this
gold skull ring
around human fingers which dissolve into a haunting river.
I wrap myself in the candle of her arm
and hold close to her warm breath
I let myself begin to hum, as the night
closes around me like a cat: and I listen hard---
the walls are gone, the planets are circling our earth for a reason
they circle our sun but they circle our earth
I watch them arc in the sky each night
Venus, Jupiter, Mars and the moon pared so thin
I am amazed---rubies swirl in gold rivers
pouring from loopholes in the night, which fall
into the quivering pool: the waterfall made a gash
in the ferns the foam mixed
with what churns in my nerves, her hair floated, was moss
the salamander smiled on the rockface of the skull
the Phantom wore on his finger: I picked the vine out of
I tested it, it was strong, it was rooted
in the earth, I pulled up and swung off
I selected another in mid-air, I was my father
dreaming of Tarzan when he was a boy
(I had a ring with a secret in it---
(a light) I crawled under the house where the ashgray dirt
I heard my mother creaking the floor over my head
I heard my bones crack
I heard the clock tick
I heard the gun cock
I heard the stitches rip
I heard the cobwebs tear placentas and my ring was broken
from the chain, I seached among the ashes for it,
I picked up a string of molecules which led through a
dead bird's neck,
I followed it like a rosary, a necklace of jeweled
DNA beads, I climbed into the attic, I crept
I slid, I continued to urge
myself through my wounds, the hatred, the kerosene
mixed with urine and sold for whiskey...
I step on tiny mice feet I walk like sparks
which ignite the ground with heartbeats I twinkle
I am not alone, the night sings to me of the teeth
which reveal blood during the day: during the day the haze
lulls the city; I descend into the Velvet Turtle,
a womb bar, and sit in the soft naugehyde animal;
dicecups popping against the bar are riot sticks against
someone's head, clacketing horses running down strikers,
violent laughter, click click
this is the sound of the counter in the man's hand
as people go out of the museum
Why? Why? my son asks and that is
because the leaves unfurl again in the tormenting clear
the white rainwashed eucalyptus against blue sky
the blackbird's purple and green iridescence, the red eyes
of black coots with white beaks, the swan
I walked up to disrespectfully raised
its cobra neck and snorted a warning
don't mess with big birds)
This is the time for jewels, this is the time for swords
this is the time for bows and arrows and leather thongs
this is the time for horses and apples this is the time
for light to ring from the ropes of water thrown with a
thud into the dust
this is the time for thundering hooves
muffled in the dust the turmoil of skin and bones
strung on the testicles of night this
is the time when people begin to lie down and dream of the
they have killed for in which they sleep
this is the time
when wheels click and turn and bells
ring and elevators open
and people drop money into the coke machine
and this is the time when a woman smiles at a man
and this is the time when that man is working on the
which powers the computers which process your check
and he drops a wrench
and blue and yellow sparks weld him into silver forever.
Now everyone is working intimately with flashlights.
This is the time to send out for pizza, this is the time
to get closer, to notice someone
next to you you've worked with for two years
because bombs are falling outside this is the time the
from the boy's belly in the surf
because our bananas cost lives and this is King Kong's
pink mouth opening in the night sky dreamed of
by lonely men who create their own loneliness
following a woman inside them they can't touch, this is
Ulysses went on and that I go on
this is the Quest For The Holy Grail, this is the fingering
of the bloody robe of Chirst, this is the putting on of the
and the ruby and diamond ring of the pimp---
this is the sable around the neck of the Eskimo woman
who lives in the snow, the woman who chews leather
all day and makes clothes so the man can hunt
seals and skin whales and this is when he feels the blue
of an oil pipe slide beneath his fingers replacing the
this is the story of the grandpa who walked
and walked and walked because his wife was in love with her
this is the story of two men emasculated by their wives'
and who let their gift for language go
who lost the dream their mother gave them: this is
me and I'm walking along dreaming of what I finger:
This is the rosary they prayed for the conversion of Russia
which clicked tickertape from the stock market
but was the DNA chain: nucleotides floated
in the warm oceans of my cells: ribosomes opened
to receive amino acids according to the tender voice which
along the silver bloodwire of the endoplasmic
reticulum: the zipper twisted apart and black strings
the spider off the mirror and two cells
ruby cytosine, sapphire quanine, emerald thymine, diamond
adenine, each found its mate
in the snow which fell
silently around the Eskimo couple on top of the world.
The sky is blue
dreams are given to color and everything tells itself
The things we have to get used to are not supposed to ever
be gotten used to. I don't want to get used to blood
which pours from the snows of my forehead, in the form of
I don't want to get used to the eye of the man
napalmed by accident on the last day of the war
whose eye tilted like a fish eye, a specific fish eye
which I killed, a six foot sailfish which fed the pigs.
I won't ever get used to this blood and shit
I don't believe death is senseless. Those planets
orbit our sun for a reason and that reason
is this harmony of skin, it contains power in music
and we are shutting off the music in the pipes.
I know a man who has lost and I know I have lost.
I won't get used to the catastrophe of killing stars
by making sparks against a person's skin
which ends up like the lady addicted to shock therapy.
The lion's eyes are rubies
in the night sky they are voices of dead poets
they are my ancestors their bones are jewels and
they speak to me tonight. A meteor
averaged a diamond every thirty square inches: a hunk of
full of diamonds fell out of the night sky. Why?
The Shock of War
This is "peace." Forklift fumes
warm the skin with suffocating moisture.
The lungs gag. Ears hurt.
Iron wobbles on concrete
aluminum blackens the hands
sharp poisons from the urinals pierce the nostrils
you are worthless shit.
The exhibitors are tended to,
as they are fleeced.
They put up with it,
hoping to fleece others. Nobody is really
useful, or doing anything beyond himself.
A small street sweeper drives in the
door: FMC on the hood: the largest maker of track vehicles
during the Vietnam war. The GI's are rolling carpets now, those that still have arms.
The ring of fire
around Jim Wiley
him with only a forty-five, surrounded
To escape is your chance to shape
the world's prison. There is nothing to do.
We wait. The clouds cover the sun.
The air is poison, the heart jubilant
at a drop of dew.
My two hands. Aching to build
the new world. They're still strong.
I can still do something. That drop of dew,
that drop of dew like a miracle, a simple lens.
It turns the world upside down.
We can put our minds together
by lying on the grass and looking through it
But we've only got fifteen minutes to do it.