Morning Glory


As I tackled our parsley patch this morning,
I was trying to parse your joke,
my dear, about the shadowy walls of the rectory
and the wayward altar boy that seemed to have hinged,
I’ve determined, on the archaic root of ‘minus’
that lurks in ‘minister’; as I tried to nail
back our hedge of peonies; as I tried to extract that rogue patch of mint
crowding out our thin rows of bok choy;

when something more sinister woke
in me I still can’t nudge. Like a bit of bok choy
from a molar. Like those papery chutes
of purple that insisted each morning
on blurring out the iron handrail
of the rectory steps and the rectory door and shutters.


In the arid West where all water’s theft, I plant not
neither do I reap, harm concretized into bee-brooch
a man pins to my breast drawing blood, apres-fuck
stigmata that cost him more than I make in a month.
Pollen from tasteless gardens slams my throat shut.
Remember the woman so allergic to ink she’d don
latex gloves before touching paper, words given
their true danger, passed body by body down the table?
Once there was latex between flesh and world
but then I got my IUD and hosanna and now nada
separates skin and sinister, flesh and buzz. I spend
my nights under something, sure, but no illusion.
Dirt-kneed, Illusion plants flowers across town.



Curtis was strung out on some combination of Jaeger
and wild shrooms, his distraught voice growing vaguer

by a half-lit, pale-pink taper poised by sand in a scallop shell.
That bears repeating: by a half-lit taper in a scallop shell

that itself seemed still half-buried in the sand. I mean
the light, like his voice, was muffled, as he tried, once again,

to clarify the double- or triple-meaning behind his matching indigo
wasps, matching like bookends, inked

to either wrist. These were his wasp tattoos. Matching like bookends,
or better yet, brooches, each with a delicate point (read: pins)

poking from its back; strung out, yet again, on some lack of food.
These were his latter days when, in lieu of a belt, he used a boot-

lace to double- or triple-cinch his jeans to gather up the slack,
and it was clear, even if we missed the point, there was no turning back

now. From his wanting to rush the point home. The double-
or triple-points, as it were, in which his eyelids flitted and spelled out trouble.


August, another feast, another wasp

gobsmacked by peonies and the humans

puzzling out how to bless themselves.

Youth WAS candles stuck in shit,

wasn’t it? Years since I passed that bottle

with its stag’s head around the room

while friends screwed on the couch

in full view. We careen, don’t we, we

careen and careen until suddenly

intention shows up and we’re trouble-

shooting things like: If I start wearing

brooches, can I matron as sexily as I

spinster? Let’s be honest: it always

tasted like medicine. Lady Chatterley,

glad sodomite, had herself a hunting-

master, skin-adroit and gamey. I say

the pastoral’s for suckers who’ve never

touched wildness. My people came

to wilderness because they believed

the Latter Days were upon us, and I’m

fine with that; I’m just trying to parse

the right measure of saved to wanton

and want to know: were the wasps

burrowing in, or burrowing out?

Who was meister, boy or insect?


(for Timothy Liu)

Skinny boy in the cage
(on Molly?) is a rage

of TNT, a mad
stick of dynamite, glad

sodomite for dollars,
giving glory a bad

rap. Look how the mirrors
replicate him, furious

shavings of porcelain
in a DNA chain

of finger-printed glass.
We know how songs like this

end. On drink. Drink and uppers.
With nostril scabs from poppers.


So the kid who wrote in three languages
opened for the famous lady who told

the audience she earns a dollar per
book, urging us to buy multiples. I swear

he was sober when he read, up there
fearless and godly at sixteen. Relapse

as succour: the way I have my whole life
found sanctuary in the bodies of men

though I know burning worlds when I
feel them. The joke was about holes,

right, as avenues to glory? It always
has been. Someday the kid may graduate

all the way from altar- to cage-boy but
for now he’s out trading beauty for

heroin in whatever rough alley, kneeling
in weeds, trusting implicitly in folly. Which

is the greater currency, word or body?
You and I will get nothing for these words,

love, but how dearly the cock has cost us.