DIARY OF A YOUNG VOID
Like any other, today comes with a fish in its mouth,
scales of German labor, vintage metallings, thimbles
skyscraper-sized, like the sprite’s cherry body. What else,
in these typhooning sanctions, can be asked for? Granite
beds, droll breezes, even nostalgia mantling the foyer.
Crowded in a crowded world, you were my one steel O.
IN WOODS WE STUDIED
On St. Andrew’s Night we grew into a castle; one of us
said: “This is the folly of lost rewards.” Like a girl,
dapper, chivalrous, I knew the bat-hanging night
would be one more slipper left to post. Our hands
stuffed into remote pocket, those dental waters
oft-ringing, always with a sense of tamarind air.
You only add so much, hip to elbow, roundelays
to skirt, before the skittle-alley closes, Voyager.
Feeling then gentle as I was arrogant, I slept in your clothes.
Both in and out of the fray, articulating a sandbag
and theatrical exigent, riveting fashionable drink,
you notice how others out there knock off a play
in mysterious passive voice, as if paralytic trees
had their own original progenitors to yell Hush!
There, a crow’s mausoleum could be pawed over.
In this case, with your Bodleian head, its bravura
of evergreens and still crystalline coolant-dump,
you should notice more than silk-lawn clouds like
a man at the club window who feels frisson neatly.
To this we avow moral melodramas are reforming
what was left of us, ingenuous as tears, starched
by a broom closet called into real-life lifelessness.
Monikers and squirearchy mete the idiom for now.
So, like a blouse or bed-siding, you took comfort,
having to boil your shirt for more peeping freaks.
Our new lives—transfigured, destroyed—vanish.
Key participants in what’s the central failure now.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
I remember your hair’s perm fondue
like blonde glass curling in the sun.
It had a northerly associative quality,
something quite remote to these parts.
We open up to a stoop, as over the railing
a poinsettia meadow waits for you as if
you’d seen it before in the yard of your
youth. One, mind you, you’ve never had.
Nerve only gets you so far in the padlock
where bushes guard tempered watches,
spruce linen you wake to when no one
is there yet to really wake beside you—
idle and remote on cloud-mewing hills.
What dervish these late autumn days!
Partly tin, partly the huge arms of sleep.
I think of the hand of hands; the bland
studded caskets; the dew-brown regality
of one hour, its postmarked wilderness.
The mind, it’s true, has irritable spots,
absorbing much light but too little heat,
stony and diffident. It knows too much
some sorrow of chairs. So we open books
with bronze Etruscan servicemen in snow
gliding in and out of daguerreotypes.
Meanwhile your throat is a vase of flowers
that no one senses; no stench but dusk
and compass, which one winds stealthily.
The coordinates changing. Changed for good.
All of our music is in a way post-apocalyptic.
Leftovers sing the blues. Ocarinas hum showtunes.
Meanwhile, a serenade captions the distance:
a single figure stepping mute through rows.
The scene’s eye is carried over rolling concrete.
Such picnicked hymns and proud coral thunder.
Lettuce, arugula. And don’t forget your disquiet.
Accept arcana, these stilling machinations now.
Can you read this? The slim noon, like an earring,
settles confetti; the puce balustrade calms down.
We were here. This was our place. Roll-call meek
and fleeing: a stanchioned raft, some psalm’s plea.
Originally Published November 4, 2012