…………….up close to the garden, give him what outweighs the
…………….of the nights-“
…………………………………………….– Rilke, The Third Elegy
She is waking somewhere toward dawn.
Her breath quickens. Beside her
I have not yet risen from the underworld,
or returned from vast high seas, prolonged
hunkering on desert, dharmic rocks along
the via negativa …from staring at coruscating snow
limning the Hindu Cush
when she thinks to touch me,
over all that distance, sheets of ice, glaciers,
waves of sand in the pink, dreamy dawn
skidding this way.
After all we’ve been through, how could she?
Children all over the world murder each other
in the bony mountains, dog-shagged streets,
in loud cafeterias, at the malls, in my sleep.
Thinking and language turn to methane.
Then pleasure, a neap tide lapping, seeps
like the Nile rising into my cranial wildlife reserve
drowning the movie about rodents and potatoes,
yesteryear, a woman brushing dirt from foetal heads,
or was she burying a dog? Where everything
depended upon the Garden Way cart
heaped with yanked, weedy tresses
from the head of La Belle Dame.
Her hand, rough with grief and soil
works my silly thing …her fingers
knotted with labor …and yet, and yet…
a rising? Amusing her damp, sacred grove?
Again, again, again, nymphs flitter in St. Thomas
and Banyan trees, my archaic body arcing,
loosening, joints rosy with endorphins, brain a reef
bombed with clorox, tabla rasa,
butterfly fish floating into my corneas,
coral stapes, ossicles tuned exquisitely
to her mild sybaritics.Then the two of us, spent, turn away,
wandering, dropping off again like originals
to first dreams: Arts and Entertainment,
hers, “mysteries,” she says, mine lush
with confusion, call it turbid clarity
of amniotic amnesia, abstract expressionism,
gesture and improv, morning and mourning
born again in a myriad slop of washed up stuff
tender as impetuous genes,
minnows of intention in the toxic river,
sea-anemone in apparent passivity, tiny,
deadly duties, pastel pinna waving.
In short, I am afraid,
hauling myself out of the surf,
not born again on a distant shore.
There is no Nausicaa.
Didn’t Penelope, at forty,
sprawled with the immodesty of want,
all over the olive bed, after he’d made his claim,
once, after twenty years, and before
he could open his sonorous mouth,
want to tell him her story?
How solo she had been? Chaste, abused,
weaving no whole fabric, even for her son,
of whom they didn’t speak,
all the while Hero chasing elliptical fate,
as Argus did his tail when he was a pup?
O Calypso, Circe, Penelope,
every woman an island
as no man is.
Bored with such snorkel and wallow,
grateful for this woman beside me,
a welcome death of me, I remain
damp at dawn with melancholy,
fuddled and friendly in the fundament,
no matter what.
With harsh, black coffee, I venture,
death is the mother of beauty.
And vice versa. Fortune cookie.
She is quiet, very beautiful. As I,
as she says, have become “distinguished,”
that doom, that nap, little idol treading softly now, in
over its head, trying to conserve energy,
looking for purchase in rafts of uterine seaweed
weaving and pulled apart in the rinse
like any pliable helix of reason,
a kind of poetry growing like ribbons of kelp
string theory twisted with paradox, floating in soft
rapturous language, wrack
that smells like fermented chum,
buckets of enigma and engrams
dumped by the pail by passing,
laughing, Asian fishermen,
who always seem immortal, my
sleep a demitumescent recreation, vaguest,
smegmatic trace of Big Bang …but
so long as god rose,
inspired by her comic rictus, I will try to quiet
my mind’s tongue, fondle instead the piqued,
rosy breast of day, once more by the Pacific,
before the last flight inland
to plant my what?