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POEMS 1989-1991

2012 Pteris Cedri

Chausson writes: Not that my taste for nature is diminishing, but I am seeking something other than the object itself.

I read on the record jacket: this eternal swooning before one tree, or two trees which form a bouquet, or three trees which form the beginning of a forest, irritates...

something other than the object itself. Not the start of some woods, not the borders of a material world.

Robert Kelly, A Romantic Revival. The Mill of Particulars, 1973.

This part is mine when love is only license to see things in a certain light,

ask the lover to interpret his other loves in lesser light your entire body is amulet milk & rose to touch whose incomprehensible body in a nameless town at night riddled with flags?

Again forgiven into the city walls, beltway any landlocked city builds to bind its outskirts aglow.

Whose hard-won contract love parts, of the body the light plays on, skirts death.

in arduous order you are becoming amorous metals in flows the light leafs through

strip verdure pall oyster vellum

lieu labia lavender fingered gash lucent hand, holed light

come down from the opened porch to the marrow

feeding arduous light through the damaged rose lavishes a body moored to meaning

no heart no good they called beast fact heard as I clear low branches slung hell from transaction that is a face passes for the underworld

She fears india figures in the fevered mirror (had mirrors tides at flesh-lost frailty to infest) Flow of riverine murk as we return along the vly road Flesh-pots in the not bedimmed but muddy light Possible to toss your shade into the flesh-pots, to cast your shadow up against Nu Had her belly slimed, as darkens

That there sky in the water & that shadow cast into sky or merely hid in homey skin Or gaze past the Reshd dead sun into clots of newfound clarity, sky buttermilk & blood Reshd flesh-clouds of fealty, a high fidelity

The sun full in the womb or a moon can pass through anything the cabinetry of her fair mind, or the desire of nothing but the body for the body

A moon transpires in the flesh-pots, coitus in the oubliette

the city, the vapid girls for a sentence or two, a short of thick time the little Church of the Transfiguration, its tiny garden everywhere the little beauties well up, a bed of stiff white tulips, conga drums, the ferry ride the full moon in its wake

white half-men & their brown bottles, supporting themselves on the cars they beg from & the lanky Chinese who has her bag cut open in broad daylight! trying to mug me in broad daylight! Piles of still living

soft shell crabs, squid & snapper, plastic bags of cloves still gummy & strong faces! the face! counterfeit watches, childrens toys manipulated by dreary holes for the money, the shell game, Kelipah

but this I lay at your nymphadidic body in the hotel room confusing birds over the street given itself to this? the trees catch gold light & your body

strives into the street, its heart

suburban) so no alleys but drainage pussy willows burgeon nightly dirty moon properties stretch to the river external monogamies extend beyond \ high-pitched torchlight his face covered with fire fumbles in the waxy leaves \ but he is after all someone or we wouldnt feel him so \ come down to us in a new mask his old mask holds dear flamboyant house stark empty of spirits so only we \ inhabit this we yellow like pairs \ we whittled roots of white trees would feel his heart & be moved

loves & fishes netted by the rest of us we suffer sweetly birch innards red & a queenly green \ we rabble in the other but he dives into his own \ papery skull & poppy smell withdrawn particulars riverbottom stones & shorn mica it seems the sun is on (where we are permitted we see \ the gauds depend

attention, slow as your skin

forces basil to grow from the pot

as for her

performances, she would take a black magic marker

scrawl a bolt of lightning on her forehead

as you are a bolt of durable silk

because immensity violated appetite drunk even after feeling the liver crowd the other organs

& still have a kind of life, Cancellarius, the towns engulfed by cities breed phantoms for the famished wall t.p.d the trees, festooned the elms survived so it is grotesque for a night

but it rains or even snows several years on Halloween the buntings fungal snotty, leukorrheic mystery

[after Keats]

there is no water in California & this flow into darkling worlds Scardanelli sits over his letters the morning turning Santa Anas in the organs

& because he is no more a man the god grows cold licks his eyes & turns up in human language

[after Hlderlin]


for Harvey Bialy

Henrika transported) tacta in outback a sleep sleep, adjectives rent Youre it, youre it using its eyes to wild life. For girls do anything since sense, flapping in the night sky. Family cars derange even a virgin scape, rampant In conceivable matter. car lieder slimed snatch is radios song Henrika evacuated sleeps. With the union dead, the ring fingers gone cold, the cat dead in the definite gorge using its eyes to see downstream in the hard dark carcass, to the falls for wonderful work, for marvelous body, ur Ra Sleeps undisturbed.

[after Rimbaud]


the stone this wane long luminous

little lead man, space man, figure out of the asylum eyes

a dark she-dionysus scourged with hair is marrying words, tenebrous, rare


Muttering spells in the terminal, the bags under his eyes stuffed with stones, carbons of old letters, portraits of old flames dear detritus, where the will is out are possessions even a sorcerer can say are not his own, whose fingerprints say they are oily to mean they are not, what little death has on the surface say they are oiled to probe Es eye of Hoor, the dream calls itself . to itself, empurpled, shot through with corpse-light like a colander lamp, a colander firmament. Tracer fire over Baghdad. On the TV more old flames, sorties of a sorcerous swindler,

& hearing Enochian what might be a man approaches, to find out if he is foreign & if he is, to make sure he is seeing her, what is beyond the shadow of doubt the greatest country in the world, afraid he will not see her here, or on a bus hurtling through the newly darkened valleys to the high school, the murky driver whistling at girls tittering picking up hitchhikers before the underpass, before the amazed

& maybe through the tinted windows where it rides in silence unsettling like settled mountains, such an one is still possible, sustenant, drinks to himself before boarding & wakes, elsewhere, but still himself


a book of hours) working for no mass or withhold song as no song moves me or matter moves her to slip easily through either in the slight lush hours) for no

silk hooded somnivore at the family still

getting into her crepuscule after her turbid body vespers shudder her chest tumulose my hands salvage what limpid spills


for Annie

own up to the maiden image steamed up the estuary flung, alcoolise, at the limit desire returns to the hands


flood it with light under the ash shadows cool enough for wool, outside the day


woundy constance, indifferent light

to suffer several generations natural light until the night vision is restored

dull silver turned up in the soul

only the porch unshuttered, umber by the covered pool

the pendulum grazes the ground glass

a naked melanochro lets the animals into the light


Jews gather on the nothing about the island had a child in another world

turn down the bed & let it out to dark permanence as her subtle body struggles toward you in the flesh


The numbers in light flow from the glass into copper wires the mind the names their glamour deeper than the wires

Down time, the body in runes, twenty-six, offering

Her body as final emblem out of mesc light housing beneath muscled Hummel figurines

Sweet fire in the terminal


where peasants slither in her bed as bread lukewarm riot fish silver out of a love be alone again, desiring is nothing intends, or she will

tho alone is no again & pain de pays an ah so haughty in her sleigh

she put in an appearance

& the pleasant privacy her body affords deep water that at that time she was religious in all the places she could be seen as cognizant body

space, the frontier as final waits for fire, hopes for a sweet fire

h, as Lebensraum, even as cryptic intimacy

hopes in the dark for a sign of use, the men & languages she picked up, weatherbeaten, touching at mass the wrack of her at others, & somewhere in that heart of hers the driver

(picking up the little piles of dust in the City of the Pyramids)


nights of an only alien beauty, house of the birds

fleet chimerae with cleft feet like splintered cloves waste heliotrope, siamese orphics, mocking gales a discovery of sleep

as faint milk in the storm-green scopes traces offspring in the far-off head for the house of the birds to head the huge head the emperor declaims


to walk even as far as the Sawkill am opossum, smashed at dawn

what do you know of person clarity of death who is less person than prism monkey figures hushed into operation or cooperation

a catechism answered by white noise


to you surcease of sorrow

sleep fish fly from the misshapen ardent aquarium bread darkens in the closet our closest friends dream things fall from their hands to farmhands sleeping in soft tar paper pear-shaped ruins

in the last cold nights of spring in silk contraptions false vegetables afloat in oil eggs up pot. whisky down for you to sundry lovers 104 miles south or begin to be ended by night

the wet weeds high dusky electric eyes of the tower & from under crossed branches a crow flies straight into the sky

this isnt abandoned I never said it was the mountains indigo with tufts of argent-vive

only the green tower on Whaleback is unsheathed

hortus wet to the waist


past the still empty migrant shacks by the post road, avoiding the ivy

& then we bathe together the birds given white oyster shells as grit the dark ones containing too much lead

bird book & alphabet soup, mild argument & sleep

closing the windows to protect the birds


the leaf when she takes it outside oxidizes as she says gold will never

I take into myself, the death I take myself to be, somber jive celerity & lissom veils her cunnus passing strange this adolescent afterworld, patchouli genitalia concealed & revealed it is only this world after all


Ponck Hockie)

dreams describe this circle down her her calves in blurry light, nowhere Ive been, weathers the girl streaming under the sheet ice or approaching Easter squats in the holocene backwater in bright sun, void, phane being used at last to field houses past the high school wall shorts, halters & shifts the weather allows

such time in her, shell out rare creatures in a vacant lot, pineal shells with sinuous flukes nuts? I draw an eye, keine Sandkunst mehr, a kind Jugendstil draws near, a prehistoric one in dark attire, slender violins slimed with pale silt play with themselves, afire, spare swing

tire vertical in vair murk I follow as far as I can with my sleep

[This poem first appeared in Sulfur 29, ed. Clayton Eshleman]


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