Professor in the City
When the Low and Heavy Sky Weighs like a Lid
Wait. From May until December Is that all that you remember? Yes, I really went there: It was hanging in the poem's air Where oriole and raven roof A city tried by wire’s truth, The stomping ground of Ishion Before he moved to Ithaca And said “what bloomed in my head” down Gorge and creek and bebe’s lake. How Round Midnight of me, listening to Midnite. How being Being’s fool.
Down into the cold hell of my office below our new house, shaded from natural light, an electric bulb helps me to see at the edge of the yard, the stunted apple tree.
All its apples I would give away, but not for a Goya or Daumier; only so the evening deer, who come to eat the fruits fallen corrosive in the grass, bring with them certain truths.
I watch in the unnatural light the magic of deer each evening since our arrival, unassailed, shade-forged, absorbed in their silence, their silhouette changed
suddenly to fire, darting to the neighbours’ as night clusters the tree; now it is time I creak up the stairs, only tonight, branched at the dark window, ignited by another sight: Betelgeuse. Bellatrix.
Apollo: Season Two
Go. Go before I change my mind,
Is all He would have thought, and said,
If not for the great glee He heard
In how Marsyas gripped and played
The thin, twig-tied pipes for the Lord
Of Light, Prince of Gods Apollo,
The Core Verse incarnate, Father
And Avenger of Triolus.
Bonheur blared from the spit-soaked wood
As his left hind leg and hoof stomped
Out one impossible measure
After another as, unsure
Of what we were hearing, we hid
And half-watched, half-blinded by His
Half-presence, from a safe distance.
How happy do you have to be
Before the gods come to stoke and
Then smother it? Poor Marsyas.
Thirty-seven summers ago, when
This bower itself was still young
And on trial, He descended down,
Sun-luxed, blessed and blessing with Dawn.
He cooed into the kid’s flared ear.
That was all it took, and was. Air.
Air from the Harbinger of Song.
A gift. A gift until he wronged
Great Apollo, boasting, “I can play
Almost as well as Great Apollo.”
But he couldn’t. And he didn’t.
And Great Apollo took his prize.
He toyed Marsyas to tinsel,
Then hung his stripped skin from a tree,
And said, I am Apollo: the Power
And the Glory and First Song. Burn this bower.
Burn it all down. Then, scribe, write well of me.
Considering the end of our conversion, this taut kora chords we have drawn, drawn into violet-roaned mornings cinched over the cliffs and hills I glanced, risen, as a boy, the white slit of gulls and the cooling ictus of the moon through the veranda’s burnt fretwork;
A Sequel to Cities and Towns
And then the goat said to the God, Deliver me my skin. And He Did. And then the goat said to the God, Anoint me in my skin again. And He did. And then the goat said To the God, Seal me in my skin. And He did. And He salved the seams. And He subtled him. And Himself. Call it unrecognizable Weather: boiling snow sidling Gilt cloudbanks; a beetle-back sky; Nacre-gnarled écorchés of ought And nought-air; all caught in the thought That we were the God and the goat, Once strangers, now just strange, and bound By the songs of Heaven and wound That wing out from our one shared throat.