March 2011

poem27 Mar 2011 05:33 pm

After the Rapture we were mostly unchanged
except for the souls cut away from our flesh
like excised organs, which left bloody pockets
to probe with mute sorrow
over and over,
not quite believing,
forever unfeeling.

After the Rapture our tongues were the same
yet food lost its savor, we munched like cattle
on whatever we found, (no gourmands left
at the end of the world);
we drooled tears and remembered
the hot tang of pepper,
the apple’s bright crunch.

After the Rapture our eyes still remained
to behold the twilight and ruin, yet colors
bled; the world became a city
beneath gray umbrellas, soaking
and dull, resentful of sunlight
and its remembrance of warmth.

After the Rapture our limbs were retained
except that we moved absent grace—
puppets of meat which fretted and jerked
and drooped at day’s end.
Our feet were struck dumb;
if we moved at all it was to crawl
as though groping through darkness.

After the Rapture our loins still flamed
in aching flesh; yet we grew soft, made love only
to pass the time. Every release affirmed
our jagged isolation; a tragedy of trysting limbs,
each little death a memento
of that brightness carried away.

After the Rapture our gods were exclaimed
by the madmen who arose like mushrooms
after the rain, flagellants and penitents,
crawlers and kneelers and squealers
who cried out in the night
and rent their skin to suffer
the ecstasy of sensation. They didn’t.

After the Rapture our peoples were changed
and came to prefer it that way. Churches all closed
and were left to the bats. We moved slowly
together, masses of flesh
grown rusty as war, nodded to sleep
beneath placid skies; untroubled except
for our satellites falling to earth.

poem14 Mar 2011 06:18 pm

Of course there were warning signs:

slammed doors, the silence at breakfast,
arguments over who should get the paper
or let out the dog. Things moved

or disappeared;
the sleeping pills changed cabinets,
his favorite books left gaps
like skull’s eyes in the shelves, and though

he always had an answer for you, still
you might have seen and known

and turned…where?
What magic brew could draw
poison from a poisoned heart,
could harden his skin against himself?
Whose name would bind him,
what enchanted key could open
the rusted locks behind his eyes?

Fate is a muddy track
that hardens around our footprints.
All its signs are
backwards, written in a glass.
Fate is the worm in the apple,
hidden until the first bite.

And none of this can help you,
nothing can change what your heart
refuses to disbelieve:
that this was not his path.
That all the fault is
yours is
yours is

poem07 Mar 2011 05:59 pm

Smoke runs down my fingers like morning dew
my ball gown dervish-danced itself to ashes
round my flame-kissed ankles
that long for the axe’s touch
a heat that star-gold shower couldn’t sooth

My lips burn poison with apple kiss
and it is a spark of rose that pricked me into
one thousand years of fiery sleep
and vaporized my sheets with ardent longing

The oven is always hot for those who seek
a trail of crumbs or cinders such as I
and the well is always deep;
it swallows whole my golden fireball

‘What red hair you have!’
and searing heat that changes common desert sand
into quartz glass slippers, with molten tears
I can make your clouded eyes shine bright again

The warm taste of cinnamon wine burns on my tongue
shooting star wings and firefly breath
were my grandmother’s bequest
but the fire from my hands that makes smoke
of all it touches, that alone is mine