Accumulations of Present

semblance of order in anyone’s head
or chaos, elsewhere, instead.
a rising weightless dust,
burdened by tiers of earthen trust.

change assimilated, the shifting
of visible something, of sensible lifting.

but through what bundle of troubled mass
does the wave of terror make its pass?
to quake the organs just enough
to force a motion, breathless laugh?


Your Allegiances Lie

Settled on the wrong surface
Pulsating base, spiraling middle,
Where to rest?

To stop you with a contortion of face
With eyelids thinner, lower, more diaphanous.
A trace of capillary, twitching, asymmetrically weary.

Drift back and close up all the beginnings.
Against my interest in you, against.

Where is Mona?


Walking past the tallest edifice in town—having listened to a song and gained from it the kind of exhilaration one feels when thinking a certain gesture is dedicated to them personally, from an important other—she looked at her feet (clean), up the legs (lavender shorts), further up to the torso (sheer fabric). The whole lot of it more worthless than what could be found in her neighbor’s trash.

On the way to the basement, then inside, the sounds earlier coming from the speakers in her room up top now coming out of headphones hugged to his skull, a faint note of it reaching her, now sitting on a couch directly across from him, feet raised over a stool, tiny and strung in by wiry sandals with bad soles. His face framed between them, Ryan’s loud voice blurting some compliment on the side, and all around shimmer of an invisible kind, a result of the dedication now brought nearer, staring it in the face, lifted by the pretense of the elation, creating the very bond needed to support the emotion. The emotion, now the one and true source of its own life, sat in the dark, an ingenious body out of its mind.

And a door was concretely unlocked for her, by his bad use of daytime, so she could lie on another couch and move his vertebra with her eyes from behind as he fiddled with keys—metal ones, computer ones—and she with paper and cloth—a book, a pillow—and then melt into a creature between the two, cloth and paper, a limb hanging on air for him to cover with something of his and slowly introduce him to the softer world of rest and letters (not violently pressed, lushly gazed at, rivers leading to a dream—to the desire for a break). For him to break, for his will to drown in that live river, for him to melt, too, between cloth and paper.

What he summoned was something of the secret night that revealed itself only to the late-looker in front of another’s eyelids as they closed. He captured this in the direct instant the other’s lashes met, and threaded it into his manner so that when she saw him she could not help but detect a figment of something she always almost grasped, but which was as soon stolen—and better so, as she could not capture it, frozen into unconscious paralysis.

Thieving ways that rightly belonged to the one who was rare enough to capture it. If it eluded everyone else’s waking life, he serviced it by not letting it go unknown, unlived. And she, a mere recorder of what he was recording. How many times removed from the context; how very capable of lending word to his deed.

His deed, though, was always in his word, nothing done by him that was not embellished to be retold through a process for which she had no respect, but which she nonetheless revered as we all do alleged mysteries, or those things we can’t ourselves reach and don’t firsthand know.

Writing is excavation into the unspoken. It is then the invention of what she supposes exists. It’s a search for something which she as readily creates. The bringing into being of what can be recovered from passage, revision, transmutation, death. Modified truth being the truest way to speak the vanquished moment.

The sensing of a sort of femininity holed by an acerbic inner chemistry, a self having lost its own essence. The near-tear-jerk as they embraced, the denunciation of his own sensitivity. Small-jawed, tight, bright little effeminate faces: you all torture me so.


A Lifetime

Where’s the creative jolt, Bab? All there is to my right is a green wire basket of marbles. They say the elderly (like babies) are drawn to shiny things, don’t they? Because they lose sense acuity, or something of that sort? Infants are just developing it…good to see things roll right back–full marble–to their nascency.

But I’m neither child nor senior–not in my lying presence. If truth be told, I am very much both and nothing in-between. It’s as though I was born ancient and began to exhaust that epoch in my childhood, and, as soon as adolescence thought it could creep in, childhood raised its head, having been smothered all its proper time by some sage-like caution and “maturity.”


To Be Held By the Horns Now

It matters who sits next to whom,

and what I think of the arrangement in the dark

as arrangements get obscured and imagination comes down

to make up for weak sense data.

There’s an awkward push, I can tell you’re trying,

using your hands that way—

without the mindless automaticity of one

not deliberating basic motion.

Something in your face is askew,

breath collapses body,

a superficial sink into unruliness, and settling feels to be

a lopsided deal.

“The Now is just this: to be no more

just when it is.”

Still one last farmhouse of feeling (but how tiny)*

Blacken what I see of my landscape and spill

yourself in every last dream.

Smile with your head against a wall, or with my head,

placed on your body with precision.


Smile with different faces:

bland, brooding, then blind—the topography changes.


Only a change of category could persuade me out of bed,

and there your faces were

together, repugnant

their points and the selfish coins in your pockets

the nasty eyes

the invisible claws of your derision.


One’s quick to offer; one’s quick to trust.


And to crawl,

knees to chin, orifices plugged, having won this one.


*credit to Rilke

A Wealth of Tea in the Kitchen


The way I moved my feet was improper,

something was too close to something else,

I tripped on my own momentum.


Other people’s cheeks are covered in rouge and in fur

ours press together, hairs sensing pulse–

soft, slow, powdery moves.


By now you have ceased breathing and your eyes

have settled in their sockets, floating in their own moisture.


Stampeding through your mind I find stillness,

hear only my own steps thudding

on the floor of a white dream.


What color sugar did they spin your brain out of?

What stems and leaves crunch below my soles?


I break the chastity spell,

the kettle’s whistle the silence:


The last thing to break must be me, on your mental floor,

or in the space between your arm and the door.