The bartender says here you are
And slogs another glass.
And here I am, grammatically,
But I've gone through the pass.
His larded head beneath the shave
Is pleated at the spine.
He wells his fat and throat
Incorporate in suit as sign.
The prong and fur
Built in baboon
Exact in slouch
Smile on greeting,
In mud clutch,
Untailed in the grass.
An unknown man
I met just once
Born in the east
Raised in the hills
But not of them
He swam with crocs
Bullwhipped in the market
Rode raised steel
And lighted in trees
This I know but
Are gone in gray.
So I build myself
A crocodile of steel
And whip and swim
In east and gray
And watch the trees
We watch ourselves,
This, our owl,
Night of our day,
One feathered soul.
We mouse the dark
Beaked and clawed,
Clutch branch and fall
On selves, awed.
Deft manikin proclaimed as god
Lift up our gauze
Reveal the curtain end
And hold your laws
I would run river out our days
And silt my course in ours
A delta laid beneath a gaze
And slight to heaven's force
I toss the beast through the window
Feel it scream through the air
Wait for sound and hear no sound
Look and find there's nothing there
Her skirt rides up
The thighs of time
The quiff and whim
Of slip and rhyme.
This girl waits for the game
That we must play
Pretend to real, pretended
She gobbles down the hours,
And does not know our
The sort of god
Defines our order
Columns of blessed
Damned good and
Bad him write in
Rose of stone his
Quarry deep in
Fields of thought
Than number [ed.]
Red faced drunkards shoulder doors,
Wonder whether home or whores;
Neither will awake the cock,
Both are watching door and clock.
No one cares but her and him,
Door to bed and balls to quim.
Fleshed out but curt and girdled on real chintz,
A cricket bat and wide old-fashioned thighs,
In graze of skin and boots and half-crossed eyes
Binoculared for flipping gasping squints.
So used to being stared down by strange men,
The women watch the mirror unashamed,
Relieved to see kind looks returned again,
Then, faces fixed, blink out at the unnamed.
Arthritis! Bastard pain, if you indeed
Are why my body aches and cools and numbs,
Will be the target of my every screed
While I can hold a pen between two thumbs.
The wine runs through her lips, dark, thick, and berried,
Split through to bleed a tongue between the teeth
Clutching words about the waist and wreath
Of smoke spun out and lunged and puffed and tarried.
A monkey exodus from rock to sea
Would sink this outpost to eternity
And ravens would wonder to stand or flee
Down the skin on flesh grown from our day
Curl the hair in brush and comb the edge
Fur the well and wave the lap on ledge
Found the sill on shell and smooth the gray
A thoroughbred, but second out the gate,
A silk and silver start, but also-ran,
Beneath the hard whip-stroke of common man,
And half-forgotten down the endless straight.
Eternal understudy for her lines,
Now vaulted over talk and backstage leer,
To wear a minute’s honor on her bier,
And immolate herself in Woolworth signs.
A light above another hemisphere,
Unwatched but when conjuncted with the sun,
Horizoned to the earth from start to done,
A burst along the dusk of now and here.
Loud helicopters pause along the grass
When ancient blood should choose a time to pass.
This is a hard hotel
No swimming after elevening
All must be vacant after ten
Beds made up afterwards
All she's asking is for a little
Despite that absurd fluffy wreath
Around her thighs to disguise
Her joggling biology
Everyman must take the
Prick off sometimes
And coddle muscle in
To keep her off my back
Tonight I wrote a rhyme about your eyes,
The way you cried for nothing but my love
For how your hips curled into mermaid thighs
And undertowed the waves from thrust above
Men hold forth in bubbled fill;
I want women to stuff me
With the crust burned brown.
Someone's grandpa wheedled
This tree into home, here
Between frosts, and called it
A name we won't repeat,
And fed the chips into fires.
Die on one tusk or another of this
Great boar's head charging, or on
One clutch of a thousand bristles
In this forest of fir, or feel trotter
Toes and snouting through ribs
On this forked path translated,
But catch a dug in your teeth.
When I soap my cock, the
Smell of your old blood
Creeps up through the fur.
The moon is full? Well, yes,
But only from here.
The stars haven't
Twinkled to it yet.
Down on one leg
To a bunch of baloney
Crimped in my lips
And slathered with
This id, if kid it is,
Has gills and tail
And marries a monster with
Something built for fluffy
Bunny suits, the great
Maws of aunts.
Bean of fission and inside,
Jesus, sucking blood like
Milk and kicking, kicking
Through the swell.
We have hit back, thumped
The tub, sounded the barrel,
We cannot reveal whether
Protoprick or something
But if this beast continues to
Double, professor, it will
Swallow the world.
Bite down on cold sickle moon,
On old army barracks in red crunchy brick,
On eagles splayed across unreadable Latin,
On thick metal tram rails shining on top,
Over town, bite down.
I bore myself
A country boy
And sung myself
To a smithereen.
Hard sticks in a bog,
A lick on a jangled wire,
Bang on an old tureen.
Here is my country song
Rhymed out for hissing tape
Doctored and nursed along,
A day a year I love you on the books,
And coat my tongue with sugar bought wholesale;
You paint your skin with someone else's looks,
And stuff your cheeks with cherries from a pail.
Now I must string a bow and launch a shaft
Embarbed with points to stick into your breast,
And you must bull the eye and clutch the haft,
And never tear it out from your heart's nest.
Then strap your knickers into twisted stuff
Plucked from the racks and cinched along the seams,
I guarantee to have you scream enough
To make the dwarvish god shoot someone's dreams.
Tomorrow, though, I'm working late, my dear,
And going out with friends to have a beer.
Broad-toothed, these women, with
Real arms in shoulders wider than mine.
They bury bone into ground
When they select another beer
From the plucked scrawn at the bar.
They bite through me accidentally
On the way to their grins.
Enlarge me. I am built twelve
Ways to Sunday for wonder.
You take for granted a steamer launched
From busy sluices, a Cleopatra's needle
Laid in sand, a tree cut at the root and
Heaving down, but this is a bike forgotten:
The rabbit's pearls, the melon slivers, the
Neon clay squeezed from neon toys, the
Pipes the plumber cleans, the bog in bog,
The fireworks awakening the neighbors
And sending dogs out biting themselves and howling.
Potatoes open eyes to carrots in the dark green radar of vegetable scan.
We must have bedbugs.
Something makes me itch,
Crawls my ear, and she
Wakes up with welts.
There must be a dust
You can throw on a mattress
And vacuum with bedbugs
Legs up, but we won't go
To the apothecary and explain
Or get another bed.
I have doomed myself to reading
These zany asterisk modern poems
Where monkeys barn dance in lowercase,
No quotes -- and it's only from their poor
Royals typespaced that monkeys barn
Dance -- so now my milkman leaves a
Quart of something else on the neighbor's
Step and I have to get it.
I caught a fragrant derelict jacking off
Against the wall where I am wont to piss,
Dick to dick, almost. Plumb surprised.
He wanted a cigarette but I had given up
Giving away cigarettes, and he was fucking my wall.
She bends to clutch a knee and in relief
I am displayed a pair of swollen fistfuls,
And at the bottom of a long bare stretch
Of scoured, shaven, plucked, and knobby leg
The label of a vinyl fuck-me shoe.
Below a certain level nothing matters:
If there are nine or twenty-three dimensions,
You still can't count the corners;
The same would happen if I tossed this book
Against a wall and displaced fading uncles.
We drove along the plain of Salisbury
To see our story re-erect in stone
Along the way to beaches summery
And rooms to let: a bed, a view, a phone.
I woke the foreign girl when I could see
The stones above the raining and the dash
From our back seat, and wondered where to pee
And if we had the say-so and the cash.
We paid to park the car and locked our door
But did not buy four tickets for the show;
The two who drove had seen this thing before
And did not think it worth another go.
I put the foreign girl up on my hump
And let her see above the fence this dump.
The calendar of love
Will end our nights
With Cupid stunts
Reversed in coiled tights
Graffiti at Woodstock
Elizabeth was here,
Here is our mark,
Engraved in our face
And on our park;
Prismed and imprisoned,
Sand to sand,
But briefly diamonded
In our hand.
After a month or two of tension
In this lonely, rainy country,
One party led me to dancing with
And leaving with and getting in
(And winning) a fight over and
Wandering home at dawn with
Someone's wife. Imagine that.
And all I could think at the end
Was, jesus, go home, I have to
Piss and sleep and work with
Your husband tomorrow morning.
Put away your wife tonight and
I will show you what we do while you
Stuff tripe into a snap-jawed child
And listen to your wife's daily report
And force yourself to smile and
Hang laundry. We have invented
Dances since you last trod the floor.
Foreign men accustomed to the sneakers
And the jeans of home twitch
At the fluffy girls here
In fuck-me shoes and nylong legs
And paint laid on with little brushes.
Foreign men brought up on boyish fare
In jeans and running shoes and honest blushes
Acquire a twitch at fuck-me shoes and hair
Done up and paint laid on with brushes.
Her sleep-hallucined day is now her end
Worked through her frame; her nightgowned cage
Lifts up and flies through me, her sometime friend,
Her sometime enemy, her well of rage.
Her eyes still frighten me, her son today,
Although she can't remember bearing me.
I hope she skirts the banks along the Tay,
Her mother river out from bridge to sea,
And finds wet crabs and mussels on the beach,
And watches her young father work the shore,
And goes with him to home, hands each in each,
And shows her mother dinner at the door.
But here is where imaginings let off.
I'll let her sleep her sleep; all's well enough.
I swore the trees encircled us that night
But I had eaten mushrooms from a friend
And found myself dog-barking at the sight
Of me backrolling end on end on end.
The gap between belief and reason is
Sometimes spanned by spark, sometimes by mist.
The governor of your soul says whether treason
Is to close the gap or let it exist.
Translated from the Mother Tongue
- Ahoy, little mariner,
Your ship in a bottle
Tugs at its moorings.
- You kick through the skin,
Another ungrateful child,
Gutting your mother.
- You were a surprise,
To burst on our family.
- You were a little fuck
From the beginning,
And now this.
- I bequeath to you,
Scrawny girl of my loins,
This useless bikini.
- I've made socks for your
-- I could eat you!
- Deep-diver! Helmet head!
We're waiting to cut
Your line. Surface!