THE WOMAN

         
Is she not but an
orthograde manifestation
of any beauty hidden in the
forest, beneath the rock, deep
in shell, wonder of the heart?

She studies with gentle presence
the eddies astir in our heads
our blood rivers
hurricanes.

The man will continue
to go to her to sift
his sins through her hair
deflate his soul unto her chest
and quiet his longings
in the rapture of her soul.

How beautiful, how
maddening it is
to be a woman.

________
(c) 1996

 
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EMBLEM OF A PEOPLE

Reflections on Charlotte Delbo’s Trilogy
Auschwitz and After
         

Within this sacred geometry
six bones connect
six dead answers
to null questions
no longer asking
and for every
line sketched
a million voices
protest as they
love you.
 

From within this skeletal frame of hope
and the assembly of a people
shoots the virility of memory:
these hands holding
keeping us together
keeping us sane.
The “us” that is beyond discrimination.
The “us” that is we when we pray
for sound, equitable minds
and compassionate hearts
that reach with food
to graves
too late.
 

Within the cells of our bodies handed down
is the persistence of will
the manner of leaving wheat
parted with no trace
the habit of sliding into walls
beneath floors into feces
and dirt to forgo seeing
our unborn children shot.
 

For those who seek Truth through human history,
there breathes a fragmented knowledge
of the jungle of man’s mind
and it perpetually rots.

______
(c) 1998
 
         

this poem is read from the bottom up

         

to do
to do or not
and we must choose
“doing” he just does
need not contemplate the
one difference is the beaver

skill
his unerring
his fortitude
in his ingenuity
offspring human-like
lodge for his mate and
to construct a suitable
human-like in his ambitions

home
making a
animal is
the coarse brown
looting leaves and mud
as adhesive glue and gum
hoarding scraps branches bark
Building placing stacking pasting

beaver
building

______
(c) 1996

 
         

FEBRUARY HOODOO HUT

We clomped to the sunken
mountaintop where we found
shelter from snow, in a cave
dry and dark with occasional
fissures, a minute leak.

We checked it for spirits,
spritzed rosewater and prayed.
We felt wind pass slightly over-
head, bedded down and slept.

We were wards of the rock: safe,
warm and we awoke from sleep
refreshed, ready to search for
our lost wives.

______
(c) 1996
 

         
COLD SPELL

In a cold spell
texts are frozen-bound
and the mind caught in
the story between pages
steeps

______
(c) 1996
 
         

profundity

my dog is barking
at the mannequin
in the shop window

how can I tell him
she is not alive?

______
(c) 1995
         
 

UNTIL

Until I suture myself,
people will continue
to fall through me.

______
(c) 1996
         

         

THE CHORES OF BIRDS

A million birds melted by the sun
Robbed of flight, color cloroxed
breathing in wax, walking
like humans yet in
slow motion
crying
too
         

Numerous birds negotiating thick, hot, sometimes black air
Dogs with broken legs asleep in sidewalk crevices
while I sip papaya, buy rugs, can’t breathe
in Zihuatanejo, Mexico
         

Slowly, feathers spread like heated paraffin
Wick tongues whip from inside out
feeding babies
feeding
me
         
______
(c) 1997

         

SYNAPSE

It is in the breaches
that I fall apart.

As if “the breaches”
were a forest I walk
through.

Breaches.

Those periods when we forget sin
or
pull grief
or
remember
beauty.

Irrevocable beauty: someone else’s
tears wet on me, that act of imposition,
our slender words, coy strips of sight…

These are good love-ghosts, but when
they cry on me, really, it’s all over–
when they cry on me

I’m in love
or
I just give

______
(c) 1997