LITTLE THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
I was thinking of you, or of the crease where half-light folds back the lake.
Of how we feel it is stupid to be surprised. How each night:………….moss
windscuff……..vapour………the reeds rearrange each given thing and each
day wakes to a window blushing through morning’s odd fog. Odd, yet the
same. Your humiliation is not contagious, however fashionable to think so.
You want a poem tiny enough to enclose a world of heartbreak. Instead you
listen to Patsy Cline, to the lake’s drowsy static at song’s frayed edge, its
refrain I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know: each time a surprise. When in
this poem did you become I? Nevermind how lately each morning I think
only surprise sings, how through the window the lake unfolds, how once I
couldn’t think anything but you. Now the poems I love go on too long.
Now it’s evening. Now morning. Now there was something I wanted to
say, or even sing, and now it is a long time ago, in the twentieth century, and
in the next room the telephone rings.
POEM BEGINNING AND ENDING WITH A LINE BY MORRISSEY
All the streets are crammed with things eager to be held—–if just by someone’s eyes,
just by someone’s fleet dream. Take that impossible boy clinched by a t-shirt
so blue it shakes. Take the torn-up light that he leans clean into until he feels
each nerve like a word. Take the rail bridge where, in a fever, someone has
remembered to spray today’s caption—–
ALL YOUR HEART
Last night I stayed up late and alone taking pictures of myself and deleting
them. In this one I front the weather in the window. In this one I make
strange in a fake leather jacket. This one I’d cringe to describe in a poem but
in this one I’m young and know how to hurt you. O light, music, poetry,
plague: in a time to come who will remember us? for whom the only right
word seems faggot, mean mutt with the tenderest spark in its snarl, you
faggot, here by yourself in your room tonight while all the streets are crammed
with things eager to be held.
B L U E
Good morning breathing, good morning motion of the heart, time to wake
descent of food from the stomach, get up now swallowing, hello coughing,
you too yawning, hi there lust and other appetites of the body, and when you
turn, blue, to the boy in bed beside you you think my heart is a jet of blood, run
into the shape of a bird you think when I was fourteen the only gay man I knew of came
home to a town, population 1,213, to be wrapped in his family’s shame lined fierce with
love and thin down to spittle and die you think the glass on the nightstand shivers at me
you think the news of the men I wanted to become came to me as obituaries you think
each day mourning for a future I couldn’t imagine and would never now know you think I
fell in love with a dead boy, I fell in love with a dead boy, I fell in love with a dead boy
over and over with dead boys you think I fell in love with a dead boy a dead boy a
dead boy a dead boy.
In each shell of his torso you crawl to sleep.
So was it funny that you skulked in the stacks at the public library reading
‘Please Master,’ horrified and hard.
So the New York Times thinks gay marriage is good for the economy.
So the radio told your mother you were born this way and she believes it.
So Gertrude Stein says it takes time to make queer people.
So the air itself is one vast library
and each poem a reconstruction
of an accident that hasn’t happened to you yet
and in which you met your death.
Beside the Library Lions
The bed is an island is a page is a blue door
opening onto the bird in your veins.
Someone writes of a language that heals as much as it separates; someone writes of gathering
scattered elements and covering them with words to embolden existence; someone writes of a
language that restores equilibrium but doesn’t absolve a debtor from debt.
It’s snowing. There’s a dead boy
whom I loved
whom now I love
as my child.
The locality of love alters. The bird in your heart holds its silence up to such distance.
Invent a form of ‘to love.’ Invent a local anguish (pop. 1213).
From thence to thou, birdshaped and blue, from thou to thee
in the library air is
from thee to thy deaths, met and unmet, extending as electrons or accidents or architecture—–
your poem floods the nervous system
Poem Radial to Lines by William Wordsworth and Denise Riley
Birdsong, untongued, becomes a nest—–
in the centre this nest is, thy mind’s a nightingale, blue throat from a field of shadow.
In the darkness beyond blue, other minds (To share the transport—–oh with whom
but thee) (A whom whom now withersoever in the minds of others—–)
We’ve come to this pass
(come to this pass)
that water closes over, annihilate
a noun I move as.
Nouns and verbs resemble thought, a movement registering its arrival with the warmth of
From the ragged edge of spring and the ragged edge of thought: a way of being: to praise your
being: the mountains the garden borrows—–
I come to this pass.
In the folds of the violet, a violet.
I work to earth my heart.
[A rose resembles a blossom]
A treetop, blossomed, resembles a cloud, and the flight of a bird a violet resembles crosses both.
A falling leaf resembles a bee a bee resembles a rhythm.
(Flying, its arcing indifference, light all over it.)
Have you seen Poussin’s late trees trembling in the wind as the water below passes their reflection to
to the sky its motion—–treetops and clouds undulating to indistinguishability, a horizontal streaming
of breath and brown ink.
The mechanics of rhythm (increment, pivot) extend to feeling
(Rhythmoi referred once to the positions the body assumed
during a dance, not flow but pause)
and I, existing where feeling is,
a line that breathes, breathes, breathes—–
climbs through wood branch leaf and blossom, dissolving each
and the eye, the ear
A perceptual style resembles a synapse.
His brush, his hand, his hand his brush.