—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch
Ancient report cards before my mind's eyes:
"Bobby continues to subvocalize"
This was thought not good for young Bobby Lee
But I have read since then (and yes, silently)
That until the middle of the Middle Ages
Everyone mumbled while reading their pages
For what it is worth (since my mind is in motion)
I'd like to extend a zoological notion:
Ontogeny will repeat phylogeny
In culture as well as in biology
ROBERT LEE HAS RABBIT'S EARS
Overlook it. Besides, you knew the job was dangerous:
No phones, no lights, no motorcars, not
A minuet, the Ballets Russes and crepes Suzette.
The one who ran, what do you do when you're
Flipping like a pancake, popping like a cork?
Please, won't you be my neighbor?
up a cloudy draw
Robert draws closer
Robert draws the curtains
Robert draws the Ace of Spades
Robert draws his gun
Robert draws a bead
Robert draws flies
Robert leaves you to draw your own conclusions
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Something within you draws on a charged sweetness,
sweetness hungry inside you, a starved-child need.
Needing substance to gorge on till repleteness,
you fasten on anyone’s heart till your rose lips bleed,
bleed from that bitter acid disappointment
scarring those soft pink crescents as if bitten.
Till, when you kiss, this transfers that dark ointment,
that peppery oil to one more stranger smitten.
To love someone born with your charged strangeness blisters,
like fruits of southern plants corrupt with spice,
so that my touching you can’t be bare-handed,
yet I must take the burn of you, as sisters
lashing out when elsewhere reprimanded
twist their beloved knives in each other twice.
My angel of honey, my devil dressed in snow,
your inward self’s all cinnamon, sag paneer,
mouth-searing cayenne, a heat I have to slow.
That’s when you apply word-syrup,
too warm, too thick, too clear.
THE CAMBER OF ALL THINGS
I’m caught in a strange arrhythmia of time.
Here, both the clock hands and my heartbeat skip,
triphammer, judder ahead. Vibrating tines,
tuning forks, twinge as unbidden my fingers flick
(“My eyes are shaking,” says a trombonist done playing).
I’m E-string-atonal with shivers, demon-ridden
as was a British composer I’m weary of hearing,
my tympani skin a trampoline for dragons.
Mornings, though, I look up from books and view you
parsing cloud down to its hummingbird-wing nimbus,
an intenser rain-vibrance than incense from a swung censer.
Remind me again how your skin’s just-the-same-as-
mine sensitive to the seen, sung, touched candescence.
You had me seen sharply through erelong I saw you.
Mere crystal lenses warp the worldly scene;
your diamonds camber all things their own sheen.
All dwellings are haunted during these ends of years.
I saw you just now, love, ghost yourself through walls,
translucent, a holograph of strength and youth.
Most spectral the beings adrift on icy fears:
for somehow the air envenoms,
somehow it frosts where it galls.
One hundred forty-five Pakistani dead,
teachers and children, hecatomb to what ruse
of adipose holiness battened on young bread?
What martyrs whisked up to a paradisal zed
of grapes and figs and houris? We may bruise,
but down on the floor lies open-hearted truth
soaked with the stain of sweet children,
for only these ones have bled.
Our thanks to today's contributors, and a note that Snake Pal Taylor Graham is recovering from emergency abdominal surgery, so there will be no Poetic License read-around in Placerville on Saturday (tomorrow), and no Poetry In Motion read-around on Monday. Thankfully, she is doing well, and is able to receive emails.
Note also today's Sac. Bee article on The Souletics Experience with Rafa Selase at the Brickhouse Gallery tonight: www.sacbee.com/entertainment/music-news-reviews/article4577746.html