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  1. Poems/


Yawn how fascinated
we are with
ourselves: incurved animal.

I hope you are not so, though
those adjectives we send you
(almighty, all-knowing) hint otherwise.

I hope you are curious

that your attention flows
beyond the infinite, beyond us.

We send our trash into space:
a form of the prayer we’ve made
as long as we could speak.

I move things from one
place to another, and when I am done
I move my desires.

I want to be spoken to,
and everyone speaks to you, and so

I must become
that certain nothing.

Few eyes have I stared
into, precarious:

Are they, are you, not shy of being seen
but of destroying me?

Ultraviolet, infrared:
Those registers of light
and sound surrounding us,
deserted of human perception.

Whatever I call you fits
into the narrowing band
of my attention.

Fear and relief, to recognize
there are infinities immediately
past my touch.

You have always been
a figure for my ignorance,
invisible yet existing.

“Reality”, St. Isaak says.

And I have never needed
to see a thing
to harm it: quite the opposite,

I deaden feeling to encounter
ease, the absence of transcendence.

When you sweep the earth clean,
I hope you feel my form
through the broom.

Is the world of odds and ends
your body apprehending me?

I walk in the crease of your hand.

My senses blind, a cane
you prod me with:

the same, small alphabet of rays
and edges in rhythm.

I want to widen the words
approaching you, the apertures through
which you beckon.

Languages die daily, whole
lattices of worlds.

We yearn to summarize, to constrain.

Unto death it seems I must wrestle
against certainty,
which is a shape of death.

Still as sleep. Clean as crossroads.

Perhaps machines will pare
our language down to one
of number–

even so, there is
a grammar of relationship,
formulas and algorithms.

Perhaps they will find your faces:
the shapes you love, the grace
of local symmetry.

Perhaps they can make us
a philosophy specific to each object.

Hard to speak without
some whisper of love, without inhabiting
the listener.

I speak, rehearsing your hearing.

If I hear myself I must know myself,
and know you, the world woven in me:

must already have heard
you speaking here.

A bird knows the response before she sings,
and sings because the song

knits us from mouth, to ear, to mouth.

The old stories imagine you
with many eyes & mouths & ears & yet

what use is it to say you are beyond
material, when even a string

vaults our understanding?

A parsing of flames we can’t articulate
with tongues or thumbs.

If not silence, a listening speech
a sight seen through, a wounded touch
me filled with you:

The dance of the self in
the world in the self.

Light, you spill
yourself from some abundant core
I cannot fathom, like the soil.

The braids are overlaid: Death
rounds the corner into
life, the ear is a mouth.

These seconds I scarcely sense
you: everything eddying, rancid hint of spring.

I fashion diagrams, talismans
to quell fear at the expense

of moment.

I’ve wanted to know you like an answer.

The stem and stamen named, the cell
whose membrane can be drawn.

A curtain. You. And me.

Though the cells converse among us,

though I cannot find the verge
of my touch and your body.

I’ve wanted to use you like a term,
which comes from terminus, or end.

I’ve wanted you to end, although
the word you give is born continually,

a spiral ratio, a phoenix, ouroboros.

I’ve wanted to be smudged
from the articulated earth,

and to make sense,
simple as elements

known in an instant, and also patiently
across my inconsistencies

as I have tried to taste you, plain
as bread and wine from
raucous kitchens.

Silly and lonely, to propel myself
daily again against your chest.

You are edgeless when
I need an edge to grasp.

The ferns darken and clench.

You chase me. I retreat
into the spaces where you wait.

I perceive little, remember less.
By the time I confess my mistakes

have that digitized look,
blurry as plans.

But I really believe in you, reality.
Each swerve, each syllable

is tattooed on your skin, indelible:
each mixed motive, each small

negligence hidden without
courage or attention.

“Planning for my future” mostly means
a self slenderly known, projected on
a world barely seen.

I can’t believe in a heaven reached by subtraction.

Fingers round my ribs, I’m still learning
to hold, with the unconsuming fire
of love, my sins.

Obliquely you formed me, the center
outside my body, only to rest

when I have disappeared into the lives
of each I love,

since my mother nudged
me from my first birth.

You propped us up erect
with vulnerable bellies
and tender genitals we try
to hide with clothes and homes:

all sensible.

A crucifix absurdly seems to say
against our instincts you intend
us gangly to be stretched,
prepared for comic flight.

And yet a child grows:

the spine delves up, and limbs unfold
to seek and hope
to love and to survive

Sycamores plotted evenly along
the sidewalk rearrange, tucked in
the creased dimensions of my brain.

You are outside and inside
each eye that greets me,
a clearing.

Our physics pictures you folded,
distances grazing and mingling
as roots tangle

neurons and veins,
rivers carrying the loss
of each rejuvenation.

These thoughts and words
swirl and clot in me as in others

and are not mine any more
than the hand is an invention–

the hand which shapes the mind
as firmly as those spirits

who hem me, in this conversation
between past and future.

You have been waiting
for me, outside my house,
my clothes, my metaphors,

just past this sentence:

I have never been at home, only
so painstakingly close
I can barely convince myself to move.

How far are you?

Only the span from
delusion to body.

Naked in a garden,
we put on distance

you searched us through.

Analog: according to your word
the forest inhales me, the sun sees. All
the sensuous reflections cycle
among us, continuous.

Is it easier not to be immersed,
to live beside the flowing world?

What have I been singing about, each Spring?

Something about the union of sky and earth,
the sky inside the earth.

Does what I aspire to be
cling to me somehow?

The next moment becomes
the new world, tinged
with the hopes I wash in.

Is hope the pattern you plant in me?
Moss grown on the hearkening
side of stone.

You are disclosed
among and in us – mundane hum
of appliances, mulch-click
and nut-fall, background radiance,

each unnoticed all.
Those pauses in our pageantry
the boring world invisibly sustains.

I follow you around by sitting still.

Love, you broke
my heart across
these several bodies

yet have never abandoned
me, except
to the vastness of others.

I don’t know if I bow
the right way,
only away.