platonic

for SK

You take the words right
out of my brain, and into your mouth—
I can hear you tasting them like the caramel
coins of some unfamiliar candy currency.

Myself, reversed. What was light in me
is heavy in you, obscured. The North pole
and the South, flipped unexpectedly,
must feel much as we do.

And Socrates would be proud of us,
as we work the seam that marks where we
were torn apart at incarnation,
we are Platonic in the Truth of it.

washer

Catching sight of my
self in the bathroom mirror
I know the muted horror
of stumbling on portents —
as damning as the washer
at the stream, she who beats
out the blood of the witness,
that will soon shed itself
according to omen —

I meet my own basilisk-
dark gaze calmly, as my
hands continue to scuff
at the blood that bears witness
to my recurring death-wound.

seeds

The fear of ice split my head like a melon
a creeping thought of you
gnawed in the crack
but silvery whispers, seeds twitching dark
and in the interim, warned
or warmed me on.
I’m stopped up with you instantly,
constantly; my sidelong escapes
revert to their furrow
and in the back garden
the crown of your row
your sunflower soul
blackens sweetly, slowly.
So like a good little mole,
I subvert a cold hand
to dig up your old gnawed one.

king of ravens

Your puffed grey idolatries are quick
to pick up these new diversions.
Their motley flashes a warning,
warming this cold court. They are dark
as a tarot pack, closed to your
over-quick eyes even
when they fan out like peacocks.

Their colors toll in my blood,
my sleep. Their hunched shapes complement
my thickened brain. I read
strange words in their bent
forms and blooded colors.
When they drop
like so many soured leaves
having played out a dead court
in this, my stunned one,
one of your many lackeys
scrapes them up again.

I am crossed, reversed
by the influence of birds –
the Ace of Owls, round eye sharp and
yellow as a talon,
bends his bishop’s face upon me again.

I would order them all banished,
flights of doves emigrating vexed
from the realm of your amusement,
but I am augured against it
by the Queens of old ambassadors,
their Spanish coats glinting
startled in candlelight.

Dimly can I hear
a bloodier answer – deal
another round of Ravens.
My clothes are
budding black, my hands and hooks
yellowing. The cards knock in my grip,
pecking; I toll them out again.  

(Skull) No. 1

You bare your cracked mouth
in a yellowing arc of bone.
I shine my worn eyes white
on you – pared and slender man,
and in your sockets’ sink-basin shadows
see my own drawn heart.

My gestures dwindle like the heart
of a skeleton; your broken mouth
makes my fingers half a shadow
of slim cigarette bone.
and I can’t wrap their secrets like a dead man
would – you rolled them tight and white.

Continue reading (Skull) No. 1

starfish

All day I struggle in sunlight
against circling shark-memory,
and then, exhausted by the effort
of fortifying myself against it,
sink unguarded into a thick and navy sleep
where the tenderness of its attack surprises me,
the way it gapes and silently rushes,
disguised as dream,
through those cold waters.

So we open sweetly into salt-dark sleep
like a starfish’s clenched hand relaxing,
only to be undermined by that which we fought
so violently and so steadily
during the calm sad waking hours,
when waves like light flickered over
the rippled floor, and the pale
bubble of surface above seemed so high,
so out of reach.