Earlier this year I mailed out a manuscript

Earlier this year I mailed out a manuscript.
Since then,
The days have lined up
Like criminals fronting
A fusillade of faces
And half thoughts,
rapid fire logic
And a monument of loneliness
who is god in the crushing blow
Of night
upon
crushing
night.

In the morning I remember your mouth
And the lines I can never capture
In nascent sketches,
Crumbled in fist
Or thought.

In the day I remember a laugh,
Behind palms.
Sometimes too slow
And so
I see it anyway The slight overbite You try to hide
(I remember mine too)

In the distance, we cast our plans
Onto pale mountains, And every hour a step, Every minute a breath, Tiny movements.

From the valley here,
I look toward further pastures
And always beyond
the mountains,
Pale blue and beyond

In my dreams you are the garden.
I come from behind,
A patter of dogs behind us both.
Around the shed
a soft earth grows green,
Certain as your hands.

Here the nights are large and I breathe in the void,
I remember every curve of your back
that twists,
Dips and falls
from your flanks into
frenzy.
The fervor of your
femininity has tamed me and I
fall to shake in your shadow.
I wait for words to reach me from pale mountains
from gardens that fledge from your fingers:

Here your hands do not
Move to cover
A damn thing.

On heartache and the loss of home

Just before the first freeze of the season
I stood outside the bleak building where I worked,
Where I had just resolved to leave my mother’s home.

It was not really her home and she would soon after leave too.

She would have to bring down the mirrors
that lined the hallways.
Mirrors that would,
with the movement of one’s body,
Stir shadows in the furthest
reaches of the home.
She would come to paint the walls white again.
Walls that had been green and then maroon and then green again.
The candleholders she would place in boxes and the picture frames in black trash bags.
My father would come to box and carry away the home he had created,
To move it only
a few miles north.
My mother would grow tired of the struggle against a great machine.
She would grow tired of the tyranny of bureaucracy,
Of being held against the will of a woman and her clipboard
And the long claws of the government

And so she too would come to leave her home.
But that night was not about
the oppressive nature of government tenements. And this is not about a burgeoning, a blossoming
Out through the cracks of some grey bureaucracy.

I stood dumb and felt the cold all around me.
I was not thinking of my mother or home.

In that moment I was deafened by music,
Pushed around by a rush of people,
They smiled at me.
I watched the day settle into itself.
It grew old and tired and dark grey.
Wrapped itself in clouds.
Prepared itself too
For the cold to come.
I did not move.

I remember you asked me to let it go when I felt it to be done.
(I asked the same of you)

At once,
The snow began to fall.
The cold reached bone,
my eyes were hot.

Oh moon-eyed one!
Brown like clay,
Made for my fingers,
It was then I needed you most.

It was then I needed to hold you
Like mud to mold you,
Wet as you get
Running down my own flesh,
I needed your scent,
then.

At once,
Everywhere white.
(How long did I stand there?)
White and no part of me moved,
White and everyone a stranger,
White and burning eyes,
White and nothing new.
I needed your scent,
then.

Oh you whose eyes are soft pearls!
Do you know how much I ached in that moment?
I felt you fleeing.

At once,
Everywhere white.
(What should I have done?)
The cold was in my bones.
The sky was dark, heavy
Closing in on my head.

At once,
The crushing realization.
I needed your scent,
then.
I needed your lips, soft as a
Fresh peach.
My mind was on fire.
The snow and the cold and the dark did nothing to extinguish it.
I needed your fire, then.
Always greater than my own.
Your fire I could fight,
Mine consumes me,
Love.
I needed you to wrap yourself around me like you do
Like a flame to strangle the doubt that plagues me.
Has always plagued me,
Love.

At once,
Everywhere white.
(What should I have done?)
White and I did not move,
White and you waiting alone in a parking lot,
White and my head aflame,
White and in my mind you are criminal-I do not know why-
White and shadows stir in the furthest reaches of my
mind.

In short,
I was afraid.

At once,
The crushing realization.
I needed your scent, then.

My chest was ice and my breath stilled in the air.
There were no more people walking by.

(I can’t remember if anything moved.)

In you I found the flora!
Tangles of greenery for my fingers
And I shuddered in the embrace
of your vine.
In you I found the bread!
Buried in the magic of your legs,
I ate of the bread,
Soft in my saliva.
In you I found the spring!
Drenched in you,
I drank deep,
I swallowed you whole.
In you I found the din!
Great sound flowed from you,
I listened to survive,
to escape myself.
I sustained myself in you.

It was cold.
The sky was night.
Nothing to fight the fire,
I followed it to the end,
everytime.
It consumes me,
Love.

Forsaken one, my clay,
I looked for you in that second,
In the endless white,
In the crystal of my breath,
In the darkness that hung above my head,
I looked for your tangles on my fingertips.

I needed you scent,
then.

What was I to know of love’s bittersweet embrace,
That it too can grow cold like a warm breath?

What were you thinking in that second,
Sitting alone in your car as I stood dumb, trembling
(I had begun to tremble).

Everything at once is how it happens-
The trembling and the snow,
The thought of you alone in a parking lot,
Waiting.
Burning eyes,
The sky crushing me beneath the weight of itself.
(It was closing in on my head)
At once,
I begin to move.
The trembling and the snow,
At once.
When I got into the car, you were silent.
(What did I do with my hands?)

Everything around us was empty except in the center where we sat.

Ekphrasis on the poet

The poet
Having performed her words
Settled into a chair
To be seen
Heard

To give her view on writing.
She reads manuscripts
Has been published in the New York Times.

O to bear witness to her gesticulations!

She was to teach us how to write
How to circle the unknowable and
battle the silence in white.

I learned that maybe I
misunderstood it all. How to
break a line or catch
a thought.

“I’m falling behind.”
You said as we walked to our vehicles
And we both agreed
We weren’t sure which race we were losing
Or had even begun.

But she made us feel that way.
She boasted about tossing out manuscripts
Entire dreams in
Trash bins for the misuse of a word
or ending a line in some way unacceptable.

She told a story of her mother
And we felt her vulnerability,
She is not without talent.
She told us of a marble statue, of a picture
And the poem she had written about it all.
Connections made in her Electric mind.
She talked about being
published in the New York Times
A poem about her mother,
in her own words
“acrostic”.

Tonight

I can hear the moon
languish its light into every room.
It rustles the blinds
Shadows are alive in every doorway.

There are echoes here of words never uttered,
Syllables are hanging dead on doorframes.

The first word spoken never imagined
that in the infinite wake of its sound
there would be voids.
I lived in those voids.

I used them like armor.
You laid bare like the pit of a peach
And dug yourself into the voids.

Love,
These words now will always seek you
And if you’ll have them you’ll have me too.
I stare at spaces and in them I feel your air,
still.

Love,
I pulled eternity into me to fill these spaces.
But I can feel all the universe colliding in my heart tonight.
They say
time can
mend love
can mend love
time can mend love
But there is no more
time.

I hardly sleep anymore.
There is a space here
all the stars cannot fill
The sun cannot fill
There is a space next to me that
time will not fill.

When I close my eyes not even my mind can find peace.
When I dream not even my heart can find peace.
In these dreams I am alone and empty, like a shed or a tunnel.
In these dreams I see only the back of your head.
Through your hair I can hear only tears.
In these dreams there is always a tree out of reach
In these dreams I cannot taste a single peach
That hangs on branches bruised and sweet.
I cannot find their pits.

And if one day You are without me

And if one day
You are without me,
Meandering the dream of waking life-
An idle cloud blown by a breeze
On the cobalt palette of sky-
And you have left me behind
Because our love is dissipated,
Then
You should not look for me
In the prism of morning.
I will not be on the crest of any mountain,
Nor in the whispered weeps of the willow tree.
The latent waters of desire will not ripple with the stone of my memory.

But if the vines of uncertainty
Have gripped
And grounded you,
And you find yourself
Taking root,
And if I sit in the back of your mind-
Decomposing as leaves do and dark bark,
As the unhurried death of autumn does,
Then dig yourself into me,
Plant yourself in me.
And we will spring forth from the loam
Of our undying love.

You will not forget me so easily.

An Open Prayer

May I be pulled or chosen
from the clay, molded into
Something different.
I don’t remember
The last time I said his name.
Salt phantoms, air phantoms
Phantoms of the sun, of my
Father and the holy phantom.

My father’s ghosts wander my head
Stories of idyllic pastures
Of ditches brim, rifles slung
Endless walking into horizons.

Here my shadow leaves impressions
On the cushion, I never leave the
Comfort of my mind. I do battle
With head heroes
The heroes of my father,
All sun baked
Made mad with work
Maddening work
My father’s hands are cracked
And they bleed.
The chemicals too rough on the skin.

I inherited these legs from my mother
Ceaseless in rapport with the ground.
Her tales are never in open pastures
They retreat into bathroom stalls.

Here my shadow leaves no trace
Of belonging. I never leave the
Comfort of my mind. I do battle
With my mother’s head ghosts
Mother’s phantoms
All loving
Made mad with worry
Maddening mind
My mother chewed through her cuticles
And she bleeds
The stress is too rough on the mind.

I think of it now

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
When I was thrown about
And floating away,
Like driftwood caught
in the push
and
pull of the sea.
I prayed
To the monument of loneliness
I thought was sanctuary,
I thought was truth and beauty.
I dragged myself further from shore,
Further from the lights and sound
Of the city,
Further from the hearth of home.

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
When my heart knew, more than me,
That I would one day be buried
In the deep earth of your body,
In the profound night of your mouth
In the ineffable ocean of your breaking
eyes.

I think of it now,
Before the revelation of you.
How every line I wrote drew me,
Even then, closer
To the sanctuary of you.

Against All My Odds

What is it about the lull of the night
that draws
on the Senses?

Many people say that they do their best writing after midnight. After the cacophony of the mundane has settled back into itself, then the silent tendriIs of the night will scour the scenes of your Senses.

I submit myself to them. To be ravaged for my obscenities, for my secret sermons, for my sacred medicine, to be drawn up by the night against all my odds.