Raging and romping like beasties and cruelies,
he pulled at her breast with his hoof.
She pulled at his tail.
They laughed to scare each other.
He bit her throat.
She stabbed him with her horn.
Riding and kicking upon his back,
they fought their way to the forest.
He threw her down
and rode her till she howled.
They came back to the party,
their arms around each other’s waist—
her nails dug into his hide—
his fingertips putting bruises on her hip.
They swayed toward the others.
The music was stuck above the shouting.
Someone poured wine down her mouth.
She laughed and swallowed.
DREAMS THAT LINGER PAST WAKING
It was my particular madness sat on my chest—
all night—in a dream and asked me to give praise,
while stroking a formless light. It was a test—
my own self darkly glowing. I felt blessed
to be given a dream that ended in two ways:
one as a radiance—a tangible love that burned
like a holy fire right through my eyes while I
went through a transformation—unreturned—
held ransom for a meaning not yet earned
—the other ending I must solve or die.
My chest felt bound, as if held down by night.
My mind released its demon (made of what?),
the morning curtain filtering in the light,
in which some howling struggling thing was caught.
(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine)
I am possessed by demons of my own making
with loud sobbings
and uncontrolled laughter—
haunted by things I’ve not known before.
They writhe with me—drive me on, their arms
fierce with holding,
their voices merging
with mine until we are hollow—
made of soft moans and weepings—
inert together in the long falling into depletion.
NO MOON FOR FEAR
I tried to solve the night but the night was secret.
Nothing penetrates but restless dreaming.
Night without moon.
Or moon behind clouds.
Nocturne . . .
Nocturnal . . .
Like a cat.
Like black shadow of cat
No moon for fear. Howl
at the moon, full and near.
An echo of that howling.
Electric with tension.
A bristling in the air. An apprehension.
White moon of morning in pale blue sky
benign and patient, fading with the morning.
WHEN THERE IS FEAR
This is the all of it, the resistance,
when all argument is done and each value
the purity of all that is given in return
for what is taken.
All of this.
All is all. And enough.
Nothing disproves this.
The balance is held, and still is tested.
It is where reason goes
when there is fear—
some dim, unreachable place full of shadow,
full of following light.
THE DAY WE DRANK
The day we drank sweet Cinnamon-Spice-Tea,
that winter day,
your death to mourn and celebrate—
those little rituals we make to manage grief.
Oh, we were gathered with our news.
We wept and spoke;
we offered words of disbelief—
all this for you—our floundered one
who broke the slender hold of life—
your foolish choice—your last escape
from all that chase.
No demons now.
The rest is yours.
We will not make you guilty of our worried love.
You were a lost child, after all.
For you we held this ritual.
A downward wing—something on the
edge of far light, its mute form heavy,
though transparent—like shadow;
like dark thought that prevails;
like worry—which is another wing,
dragging itself everywhere
until you splint or amputate the thing.
(first pub. in Poetry Depth Quarterly, 2003)