Thursday, January 12, 2017

Quartet of Endless Grey

Wipe your foggy breath off the cold bus window;
the snow-covered scape outside is darker than it.
Watch your faint reflection in the streaky glass;
the bus's harsh fluorescent lights do you no favor.

I never thought hunger could grow larger than the body,
but you don't let go of a chance to prove me wrong.
Never did I look so large as I do through your eyes;
nor have I felt so small.

I once said I'd never regret a thing--
I regret it all now, even the regret.

It's done:
no more happy endings,
no more new beginnings,
no more looking forward,
no more then...

It's all been done:
there's no tomorrow here;
there's only an endless now,
not interrupted by night or day--
an endless drone, an endless hum,
an endless pattern of downward eyes and hunched backs,
an endless silence syncopated by the static of the everyday,
an endless fog, an endless grey,
no one to save...

I forgot the taste of skin,
I forgot the smell of hair,
I forgot the feel of anticipation,
I forgot what it was all about...

Last night god killed himself;
he obviously wasn't divine enough.
Pity us men with rolls on our sides,
scars on our necks, and morning breath.
Pity us, mortals,
You, who's never lived...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath

"I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it-----

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?-------

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot ------
The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart---
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash---
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air."

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Another Storm


Again, like a shot in the arm,
metal piercing the skin,
sharp intake of breath,
and the numbness...
The snow keeps falling
like frozen baby breath,
careless and uncaring,
covering wedding bands
and dog shit alike.

Oh city icy as the skies,
indifferent as only God can be...
Oh city drenched in grey,
draped in cold, drizzling
frost like confetti,
turn your back on me--
for I am blind, I am deaf,
I am mute, I am dead.
I am loss, I'm your heart:
clenched, cynical and cruel.
Turn your back, wilt,
wither, will what you will,
I'm staying, a speck of sand
in your eyes, scratching, cloying,
the only thing left of another storm.

(Originally posted on February 11, 2012)

Friday, January 06, 2017

Lost Winter Seascape with Figures

"Once there was a world you could 
Hold in the palm of your hand,
And upon which the snow was 
Always just starting to fall--

World of a city that lay  
By a body of water  
Where people gathered to watch 
Ships set sail for other worlds.  

And high over the city  
At the edge of the water,  
Stood a great woman of stone 
Whose name no one remembers.  

Once there was a world you could 
Hold in the palm of your hand, 
And, by turning it over,  
Make the first soft snow swirl down  

On the lit houses of those  
Whose name no one remembers, 
But who, it seems now, must have 
Loved one another greatly.  

Why else would they have taken 
The trouble to put her there--
Stone woman who stood waiting 
For ships that never came back?"

- Joe Bolton, from 'American Variations'

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Silent Night

Here, where the silence is delicious,
the end is garbled in fragments of song
—repeated, stale, and resounding—
echoing in corners of rooms dimly lit
with bulbs on a string, stars
—dangling and scratched—
like lives spilled into kitchen sinks.

Here, where the drain chokes with leftovers,
a cat snatching a piece of half-chewed meat,
and a voice telling of what should have been,
I fall through the cracks of the silence,
a promise broken at the end of the night
when acquiescence is no more than lack of resistance,
and nods are all there is.

Here, not because it is,
but because the memory of it resides
nestled underneath my breath,
peering from behind my fevered eyes
at the moment as it lapses.
Here, where we persist,
you and I, stumbling eternally,
aimless drifters in a world half-lit.

(Originally posted on December 26, 2007)