Wake up. The phoenix staked another billet-doux through my pillow with a splinter of arrowwood.
It is on fire.
Fizzling like a sparkler.
Billets hard to hold through waking. They sizzle at the edge of dream. Wake up. They burn themselves out. Pillow ash brings intense, peripheral feelings, mis-sequenced, uncertain, numinous.
(click to read the first billet-doux)
BURNING DOOR. IN AND OUT AND IN
LET US BE WITH EACH OTHER
THE DAYS COUNT THEM]S[?]
IT IS NICE TO BURN
INTOXICATING THE LIGHT
Cans and shells are both abandoned when no longer useful.
One, when empty (by man). One, when full (by glob-footed organisms).
Glob-footed organisms cannot live inside aluminum cans.
Shells do not litter the streets of major cities.
Broken shells can mulch flower beds.
Crushed cans cannot be used as vases.
Neither makes a tasteful ashtray.
Neither illustrates prayers or sells in tourist shops.
Neither is likely to be gilded, to impress ladies at a luncheon party, or to evoke true love.
Either might evoke memories of an ex.
Neither can nor shell should be clutched too tightly to the bosom.
Neither is an apt metaphor for the muse. Neither inspires odes. O cracked bit of shell O crushed aluminum can
And so forth.
The shell, broken, reveals a lustrous encapsulation of roseate dawn. It is pleasing to the thumb.
The can, crushed, is illegible. It’s crinkled lip flashes in the sun like a razor.
More sea trash (read bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket here).
When cicadas hum and green things spoil themselves for autumn,
let’s go to the kitchen and stand contemplatively in the light of the refrigerator door.
Let’s grab leaves and roots and pulpy ovaries, throw them on the counter and make choices.
Let’s use sharp knives and pull with our fingers.
Let’s put things in pots and boil them.
Let’s stir and sizzle and poke until they’re done.
When they are, bring out the earthenware and a bottle of something intoxicating!
Let the night burn like sugar!
Let the days be warm and crisp as a salad!
Let us be bountiful with each other and sharp.
Let us labor and be well fed. ( oh
it’s nice to smell oil burning
to cut into gourds and hearts
to come inside when the sun gets all teary-eyed
and sit close in the last bit of warmth.)
[click to enlarge]
figure [unenumerated]: boreal
Midway on life’s journey, the right road lost, I find myself in dark woods
pursued by armed men crying: Nymph! Goddess! Celestial Queen!
They say they are artists.
Their eyes are on me.
They do not presume that my solitary repose is neither for being seen nor to better see them.
(I include the confounding nor: boys, you forget how
pretty you are.)
I will not play hunter, bewitcher, or conquered prey in this interminable masquerade.
Leave me alone. Go away.
(foot fiercely stomped.)
(bows lustily drawn. )
(swift incurable flight. hooves.)
figure 7: boreal (otherwise)
[ ] Odalisque.
click to enlarge.
(ghosts carry blessings & strange dreams around sharp corners through cracks in the sill.)
(moonlight turns the turn of the stair into an ascension.)
(ghosts carry blessings and strange dreams in their open palms.)
they are exquisitely delicate
(tangles of dust pins string hair.)
2. Take a lover.
!!THIS IS NOT ALLOWED!!
3. Obscure all outlets of communication.
4. Exhaust yourself with a task that is never completed.
5. Exhaust yourself by uncompleting your completion of a task.
7. Imagine the seeds in the earth.
If it is summer, and it has rained, imagine the seeds need to be scarified by cold, thus cannot sprout.
If it is winter, know it is not spring.
If it is spring, imagine it is unnaturally dry. Imagine the prescience of a seed that knows it is not yet time.
Panic. Swift flight from time, the static time, which you must spend waiting. For? If you are longing for a man (that man) do not think of death, of your body languishing, a flower with no fruit. You do not want to bear children but to be held full in the grip of a man, as he might take a fruit, whole in his mouth. What ripeness before rotting and how many men wait
with just the right curve o’ their lips, strength o’ their hands, for grasping, for lifting to their lips therefore to turn o’er upon the tongue?
(Snakes converge like sperm from all directions to the black stone, warm from a whole day’s sun, beneath which they nest.)
–find that waiting is only for death, all said and done, and that your most fertile preparation is for the moment of no personage when you fall without ceasing to stillness (not conscious of any distinction between the two) into a darkness that might be like earth or like outer-space, or the consciousness that there is no difference between them. How does a bird distinguish earth from sky? The earth offers roost and sustenance, the sky is ascent, never ascended. Between them, the space it travels through.
But you are not a bird. You are waiting. You are turning yourself over like earth, in preparation.
Lovers! Do not fling your carefully embroidered coat beneath the feet of your beloved! His beauty is appallingly evident but
you’ve pretty plumage, too. Keep the coat. There is a field littered with the stones that struck the sky’s tarnished mirror. The cracks in its mirror are trees. When you walk that field, wrap your coat close. It will startle the landscape with a mis-stroke of color. Tenderly, tenderly it will open (like an undergarment) for whomever watches, waits (tending what sure fire?) for you to come home.
I do not fear the terrible angels
their voices embroidered cloaks torn across
the sky, their heavily belted bodies,
strong hips, shield-bright eyes.
I do not fear them in the hard city.
Their draperies snag on its remote spires.
They drone in its unnavigable sky
The angels I fear are mute
their wings waxy as aster petals
their bodies translucent carapace
curled grub-like in flight.
They don’t descend to the deathbed
swords drawn to the rift: death from life.
They hatch, insensate as seeds in
fresh turned earth.