Thursday, September 2, 2010

101. Articles of Unusual Value and Small Compass

elegant diminutives [audient
and virtuosity] her virtuous eyelash
(descent into depths of scent,
musk and melons) {divisions of
revisions of excisions of [what is
left behind and changed and
separated into parts]} breaking
bread into loaves <she spoke
without the sound of chewing>
my hand filled with (red marbles of
the least fruit: granite apple,
granite apple) aswing in the boughs
of the mulberry [the purple stain
and ink] every scar counted on
as a record of some forgotten pain
{deliberations and exhumations}
my little left broken finger typing
the a but never a the (spontaneity
of a last thought) there are no rules
only consequences <she spoke in a
whisper of an eyelash of a voice>
gasping for a word [tenderly and in
the form of a fingertip’s brush] off
a diving board and into the
temporary air (surrounded by air,
surrounded by water) artichoke
asparagus beet chard dill eggplant
fennel {olfactory of pleasures}
assignment of meaning is a delicate
process [requiring discrimination
of senses and scents] what we had
sent away as if no longer valuable
<she spoke extemporaneously
as if surprised by her own voice>
we own what’s our own (pressure
in the form of pleasure) certain our
methods pertain [liquid like a
letter’s sound over the tongue]
speaking, as if there were another
way, in tongues {brace yourself}
everything small and balanced and
wrenching vestigial emotions
from us (in front of the bus just
before it moves) my sickle’s compass
come [and gone, returned to
waiting] abrasions and the thorns
of the rose {symbols of music}
the awning leaning out in stripes
<she spoke in a voice taking
the form of sleeping, taking the
outlines of walking the floor
in her stockinged feet asleep>
clear and cold and harshly sweet
like this grappa (though brief,
the hand holding his throat)
awaiting breath [death comes
in the palm of a hand and fingers
squeezing the infant bird dead]
I am a machine of poetry not
a man of my word {a pleurisy
of vowelette wheels} singing in
a restroom to hear the exaggerated
sound of a voice <she spoke reboant
yet full of music> dibble into earth,
dibble in the earth that the seed
might grown (rain as big as water)
garlic horseradish indian pea
jicama kale lettuce [what we chew
when we don’t nibble others] industry
but not industrial <she spoke with
certitude and an old man a bit bowed
at the shoulders> the tension just
before the tension’s erased (how she
holds onto it until that point) unto
or onto or into the spirit of the love
[twice in that same way but never
thrice] in a {paltry desires but ones
worth living for because the only ones
he had} accordion virtues, violin sins
<she spoke with the conviction
of thieves> artificial breeze to erase
the reality of heat through persistence
of heat (water is vodka is grappa is eau
de vie) the life we live separate from
the life we’ve lived {the unusual taste
of a stolen apple} recalcitrant intractable
the land of woods and brambles all
around us <she spoke like a wheel>
mustard onion pea quash radish sorrel
(bright flavors on the tongue, dull
flavors in the pot) counting the maples
then counting the leaves of the maples
then counting the points of those {a small
popsicle stick emptied of its fruit} any
reason to go outside into the sun
(smiling) and smiling back {counter-
intuitive thoughts} dust wet as mud
[would that the rain could wash
everything away] her dress hung
on the line during the storm <she spoke
of her desire to wear a wet dress close
to her skin until it dried> wet or wed
(the genital parentheses) caution
considered the lowest form of humor
{distraction as the strongest type of
attraction} dromedary, dromedary,
walking through my dream, to what
far oasis do you travel <she spoke
as if she wanted to explain what
she loved about the room and the man
in it, but her words concerned the
festooning of spider homes in two
corners of that space> turnip ulluco
velvet bean watercress xanthous
bean yam zucchini (an entire alphabet
of taste and scent and sight and
hearing and touch and warmth) her
tendency not to do anything in the same
manner [corollaries without the
impediment of norms] an unprevailing
wind {until the point of unexpected
sleep overtook her consciousness} my
my my <she spoke and I listened>
desperate attention to unnecessary
details (satisfied in the way an animal
is after eating) considering if not
embracing sleep {sheep as the counters
she might place her dishes temporarily
upon} hoping against the onslaught of
reality [an audition in an auditorium]
leaning carefully into sleep <she spoke
in her sleep as she always did awake>
a tremendous desire not even to care


  1. You didn't think I'd notice "genital parentheses"?


  2. It was a direct reference, and you read these poems, so I thought you'd see it, Tom. But mine are within parentheses.