This poem may contain
Depictions of suicide
Or describe medical procedures,
Skulls or skeletons.
It may contain the words
Dumb or stupid.
It may describe illness,
Death and dying,
Spiders eating into the heart.
Insects may be involved here,
As may snakes and blood.
It may suddenly concern
Itself with intrusive thoughts
Or cause serious injury.
It may recall childbirth
And pregnancy. Perhaps
Discussions of particular
Behaviors that are repellent
To certain animals or groups
Of people who cannot bear
The thought of slimy things.
All of this may happen here
And you are advised not
To read this poem or consume
Anything that may harm your mind,
Health, psyche, or religious beliefs.
What makes the tears that part the flesh?
What makes the song in wind?
What blinds the eye that it never may see?
What thickens the blood that thins?
From far out the North, a beating of angel wings.
At first I thought it was snow.
It came down for days and covered our homes;
There was no place we could go.
The wolves came down to stand on our roofs
And they breathed down the chimney flue
And they smelled the flesh of us who lived there,
And they wanted it all, red and blue.
Our crew had never meant to stay here.
We thought we would be gone by Spring.
But the Winter held us as tight as death.
It snapped our plans, broke the songs we sing.
And still we hear the wolves outside;
We shall hear them evermore,
Until the Spring breaks through the snow
And the flowers bloom once more.
The ease in discovering hands in the air
Lifting the body high above the waters.
A dance of puppets walking above nothing.
I can offer you an eternity for a very reasonable price.
We enjoy the bar, swinging us higher and higher,
Its begging us to let go, completely let go.
From the fly bar, a shooting star, an uprise shoot.
Double over, Flexus and the Pirouette.
The angels return with one or both legs.
We twist however we are able to gain the bar.
We do the suicide without a catcher; just the flyer,
A suicide or a reverse suicide. Does it matter,
Once we have remounted the board and are returned
From the catch trap?
Finally, we have no history. We were there, high
Above the ring, dressed in white, and finally we are ready.
Listo. We watch the trapeze swing before us. We become
A perfect wind, force out to gain height, always to gain height.
Night descends. It sets up its little
Tents across the valley. From one or another
Location someone lights a lamp within a tent
And a soft and comforting light glows through
The cloth structure.
Individual and quiet music escapes from
A harmonica or concertina and drifts like
Woodsmoke above the valley, beneath
The vernal moon. There is no kinder quiet.
Slowly the veils come down to swaddle
The land. Peace comes slowly too but it
Does come, in flocks of birds landing in
Trees as dark as their wings appear.
The river remembers and slaps the sides
Of its banks as it moves past, a burden
Packed with dreams, part of its surface and its
Depth. We can watch from here, listen
To the quiet, pretend things will always
Be this way, the breeze swearing this is true.
The guns cough up their
Blue seed into our cities.
We recognize so many faces
Drifting in and out of Preta
Realms. Sometimes they
Are our children. Sometimes
They are our lovers, our priests,
Our finest dancers, column
After column of hungry faces.
We will play them sweet music
And perform before the throne.
We will tell the stories to chambers
Filled with red ghosts and glistening
Strangers who claim they want
Nothing from us. “We come
In peace,” they say.
We devour our own hearts.
We hide our hands beneath
Our lovely clothing. Still they
Come toward us. We sit upon
The ground and begin these stories.
We hear the guns snapping
Like twigs in a storm made of ice.
THIS BOOK WAS LEFT OPEN
The floor littered with weapons,
Ancient weapons with edges that
Speak to the teeth of dogs, even tigers.
It is impossible that they should be there.
This book has no descriptions.
Remarkable that these weapons should glitter
So. Sons kill fathers in these books, but it seems
A little thing. The edges of these objects are
The real dialogue. It is a very old interaction.
Language is a rigid system. It allows nouns
Free reign and we must move among embedded
Verbs, stumbling and staggering from the edges
Of these weapons. We will never know them as other.
These are your brothers and sisters, your family,
The uncle from Argentina who was never seen
After 1942, but was famous in obscure newspapers.
These provide colorless roads and we thread them together.
Finding the book open in the morning, on the floor
Next to the couch where I fell asleep, I close it.
All of its dancing is now within me, still glittering.
It spills from me, like salt on dark ground, mysterious,
Full of reflections in mirrors we may never encounter again.
It looked like a pear orchard
That had just come into bloom.
As I got closer I realized it was her eyes.
Is that a new kimono
You are wearing tonight?
In this light it looks like a tattoo.
It is, she replied.
FLOCK OF BIRDS
That is one huge flock of birds, he said.
They aren't birds, they are broken hearts, she said.
Oh shit, he said, Here we go again.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's ambrosial fare!