Mineral Box Set
regarding those transactions
between dogwoods or
the synonyms for your antonyms
or the stop-go of other buds in April
or the reaction of lithium with horniness,
or the redaction of two, or a late
return to frost, or a hand
cooling in a refrigerator
or the weld of hand to handle, or the fit
to hip, or the firing of a cupric gaze
greening the smaller rooms
within rooms, or the re-do
of the crown prince cutting paper flowers
to cover bits in magazines,
or the names accruing
a public history, or the speeches delivered
on riverside tracks at 3 a.m.,
or the dazzling bodies strikethru
struck out, or the tomes rehearsing
a more private letter.
henna, oxblood, russet— the man at the bar
cruising where a boy stands: what marks
by the glassy water did he etch in sand?
voice of the pulse cut and flying— young, so young
just beyond the perceived moment of danger,
cut loose in lyric sewn into a panel sprayed with blue sequins
where we used to go, witness
to the swift arrivals: swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea,
no T-cells. somewhere between last call
and dawn. somewhere, their message breaking
matter, light— the intimate departure point of witness
and those inexplicable crushes dreamwords spoken
this side of sleep.
in states unborn in accents yet unknown
what were Caesar’s battles but Caesar’s pose.
sunlight, bare orchards, my heart flew aloof. red geese blood. in his tent, under
his standard— his liquid waist. that was the Nile.
the sun shone. everywhere he turned was luck.
here— the die is cast.
his finger traced my gentle cleft. a zone for grappling, the sun cold
over the map of lingua franca. a diver’s delicate arc—
what to inscribe on his triumphal arch? the coronet open
grenadiers forged the river
really a stream really a trickle. slice
of light— a flock over water— sacrifice
this body, for instance. what is
any hand but offering
or reproach. his, the white tunic. amour of innocence.
a chink in his prose. a knotted halo.
stripped to the waist— not stippled by light but stapled
nailed to the rostrum.
O but that I would have loved Romeo more. that is the promise of renunciation. what
were his rattles but his prosaics. that men should fear
a necessary end. between the act
of a dreadful thing and the first motion— a reflection
of hair in a smoky mirror.
premonitioned. pre-motioned. years before the actual
immersion— a greek intuition.
a divine cult. whether Caesar will come forth today or no
how many ages hence shall this lofty
scene be acted over? its bronzy glint. and what is any knife
but passage. or presage.
any thrust but ache. achievement. a moment
to release the proverbial birds.
(NOTE for “Carved”
Certain lines are twists or echoes of lines from the work of Lyn Hejinian, Louise Gluck, Carolyn Forche, Barbara Guest. Most of the italicized lines come from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" and "Romeo and Juliet.")