I said perhaps Patagonia, and pictured
a peninsula, wide enough
for a couple of ladderback chairs
to wobble on at high tide. I thought
of us in breathless cold, facing
a horizon round as a coin, looped
in a cat’s cradle strung by gulls
from sea to sun. I planned to wait
till the waves had bored themselves
to sleep, till the last clinging barnacles,
growing worried in the hush, had
paddled off in tiny coracles, till
those restless birds, your actor’s hands,
had dropped slack into your lap,
until you’d turned, at last, to me.
When I spoke of Patagonia, I meant
skies all empty aching blue. I meant
years. I meant all of them with you.
I’ve learned that the face
is not enough. If you’re the quarry
where is the cart of extractions?
To gather like an invitation.
An arbalest zings though quarreling trees.
Wind like a treaty cannot wait.
Sometimes the war warbles:
I will send you lavender & antimatter.
I will send you the splintered telephone.
I will send you a blamable cufflink.
I will send you cucumber moons.
The infinite stretch of a black hole
is nothing like me. Nothing like
the acute faith that unfreezes
the face’s language. Had you flown
the quarantine flag in early light
what help could have—
what kind of help—
Sometimes I miss myself.
Sometimes I gather dead bees
in a soapy satchel.
Weather is whatever’s there.
My blue blue veins, circling.
I have faith in you. It’s my best
offer. My only offer. Twirl
a dirty curl with one hand & type
with the other that the forest holds.
Creativity is survival. I’m trying not to
miss myself anymore.
It has to do with feelings.
A few words ignite & signal biplanes
swooning through the chest.
Most only ash to anger, which these lilacs
extinguish. The sea is not wine-dark. It is lilacs.
My tresses, my tresses, mercy.
If you give a feeling away
then someone can help. Mortal kite,
the snap of an inchworm Crayon,
& letting it creep out of us.
Alleviation is a certain kind of space,
quavering. Unlike feelings, we cannot
eventually assuage language.
Ash caught in my blond. Out of bounds
of my green, your face. I’m not
trying to reach anything, I’m
reaching through it.”
It was like the water of a river
flowing shallow over the ice. And now
that the rising water has broken
the ice, I see what I thought
was the light is part of the darkness.”
In the silence of consciousness I asked myself:
why did I reject my life? And I answer
Die Erde überwältigt mich:
the earth defeats me.
I have tried to be accurate in this description
in case someone else should follow me. I can verify
that when the sun sets in winter it is
incomparably beautiful and the memory of it
lasts a long time. I think this means
there was no night.
The night was in my head.
that maybe the heart is a machine built to fall/that maybe the moon is nothing more than a white flower full of seeds—
which every limestone dawn the sun blows a wish out of waiting all day for it to appear again”
There is much more darkness. More
ocean than terra firma. More
shadow than form.”
Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.
If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust out our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.
Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder, that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.
That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.
Being but men, we walked into the trees.”