I wore a suit of spider silk.
A spider dwelt within it
And opened hems and tailored it
Even as I wore it.
She would sing to me the spider’s song
Of fangs that sought a broken wing,
The lame of foot, the blind
That flew across the night unheeding.
And I became the spider’s bitch
With silken gloves and silken shoes
I wrapped my arms around the prey
And the spider did the rest.
And every night I’d make her bed,
An orb web wound around
And dangle from a silken thread
Mere inches off the ground
Perfectly still, without a sound.
A hat of dried up insect wings
I wore upon my head
And sang songs to the spider
About the lovely dead.
THE VERY EDGE OF A DREAM
One would think there was a charm near here.
A handful of mornings and twilights
Balanced on top of a cabinet.
Someone forgot they were there.
They will provide a lifetime of images
So complex they presage empires.
And I go a-gathering. The blood
Returns to the sea. We taste
It in the salt. We taste it in
Echoes and dreams escaping our grasp
As they turn to films in someone’s
Idea of a story, set in the present.
I try to remain unmoved by the glory of it all.
Then I roll over in my bed
And you are sleeping close beside me.
The edge of the fire belonged to the coyotes.
They stayed back just enough so that their eyes
Were seldom seen but they spoke constantly.
The dog knew every inch of that ditch,
The one that cut through Porter Woods,
Cut straight across it near to the
Backyards and on past about five
Of the biggest elderberry bushes
You might ever see. And that dog could
Tell what it was running, pheasant
Or rabbit. It would only run one,
Like it knew the season.
And we go forever higher and higher.
We keep our eyes toward the birds
Soaring so high they seem to be floaters
Across the surface of the eye.
They require that we acknowledge them lest
We lose track of them entirely and fall
So far up into the sky we are not found.
Our lightning mouth rises to the skin of things,
Inching past bitterness leaking
From the past, so very gray
As the mirror dissolves into
Forgetfulness. You shall not
Run these Winter ditches,
No matter how much you may
Want them. This emptiness
That keeps you now will
Leave and then return,
Roll like your own dogs and night.
I will hesitate until the light
Narrows and you are once again
Alone in your magic bed
Trying furiously to understand the
Perfect geometry you find
Your life constructed upon,
Calling out for love as if it were
Lunch on a sunny day.
LIVING ON THE ISLAND
When I was talking to Ramon about this island
We had been living on for the past year, he told
Me that it does not exist. Does not exist! How
Is that possible? I asked him. We exist.
Not so fast, he said. The dogs here do not
Exist. We see them on the hilltops, under the moons.
Listen to their noisemaking when the night gets too big.
But they do not live with us at all. They are part of the music.
And the villages, the horses, the battles on the shore?
I asked. Oh they are quite real, Ramon offered. They
Can be anywhere and will always be as real, real as can be.
But the entire island? I protested. Listen said Ramon.
We have journeyed across these lands far into the deserts,
Rode the coastlines for weeks and weeks and even climbed
Many of its highest peaks. We have never come to the end
Of the place. We could see the oceans and the mysterious
Fires far to the North, but we do not know how we came
To be here. Where are our parents? What was our life
Previously to our being here? Why have we come to love
This place as if it were our only home? We have no reason.
My arm around your shoulder is more real than any of this place.
I listened to the wind signal to the far hills and watched the sun
Toss itself back and forth across the purpling skies. Listened
To birds I have never seen call one to another across great spaces
Of canyons and huge, deep gullies. Watched the tumbling of waterfalls
And endless rapids as they rushed into darker and darker jungles.
Stories came from all of them. This one of Ramon speaking is one.
There are always more of these tales. They waft up from the graves,
Choose to invade our personal dreaming and inform us as the Celtic
Twilight did. They are certainly true. They are certainly false. They
Are the ramblings of the written word. Come here, run your finger
Across this welted scar on my upper arm. It was made by the sword
Of Welleran. Certainly you have heard of it. Sit, I will tell you the
A SANDAL STRAP
We were dragged out to the edge
Of the villages
In the morning of the day.
There wasn’t enough light to discern
What was going on. We were fairly certain
Of our vanishing. A deck of cards
Being shuffled. The violets were
Just opening, suspecting morning.
We were the end of the book.
We recalled many things in the few
Minutes we had to rest, drinking glasses,
A basket of thorns, some old prints
That showed a sacred mountain in Japan,
The strap of a sandal that was worn
Enough to make it comfortable
For a long time to come.
There was a door hidden in a hedge.
They asked us to leave through it.
We played our hand. We will be
Forgotten by the time this ends.
And she had golden tokens for eyes.
And her voice tore silver from
The bells of the morning.
Made of dragonfly dances that are songs
To the tall reeds, red dashes, green
Dashes, blue dashes upon the very tips
Of cattail plants with giant eyes
That told, then re-told the stories
Of the morning and the tale of the afternoon
Until children everywhere could
Understand them, whirling in the blur
That became July with its
Forever twilights and the heat
Inside the summer lawns come all
Undone and spilling, breaking into open
Woods full of fireflies and longing
Grown on childhood and magic.
Still, after all the years, daring us to dance.
And dance we did, our arms and legs,
Or waking and our napping, and our
Sleeping yes, and finding once again
Our selves in the deepest pockets
Of the night gathered around
What seems so like a memory as we
Are called across the Summer. The
Moon is shining bright as day.
Today's Medium-Sized Nip:
POEM ENDING WITH A QUOTE FROM BORGES
This language is unlike anything
Understanding can bring to our mind.
Unlike any reflection we can recognize.
Are we plural or but one standing
Alone in the battle with nothing following?
Reflections?...unraveling roads and cities
And trails? Begging pardon to echoes, praising
Emptiness while extending our hands
To shake wonder into consciousness.
Soon we will know who we are
Or, upon reaching the center
At least who I am.
Share some of these words with another.
Make sure they have no weapons.
This is about many things, but harming
Another is not one of them.
“A frenzy of tenacity.”
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's Kitchen fare!