I say moon is horses in the tempered dark,
because horse is the closest I can get to it.
I sit on the terrace of this worn villa the king’s
telegrapher built on the mountain that looks down
on a blue sea and the small white ferry
that crosses slowly to the next island each noon.
Michiko is dying in the house behind me,
the long windows open so I can hear
the faint sound she will make when she wants
watermelon to suck or so I can take her
to a bucket in the corner of the high-ceilinged room
which is the best we can do for a chamber pot.
She will lean against my leg as she sits
so as not to fall over in her weakness.
How strange and fine to get so near to it.
The arches of her feet are like voices
of children calling in the grove of lemon trees,
where my heart is as helpless as crushed birds.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
What is it when a woman sleeps, her head bright
In your lap, in your hands, her breath easy now as though it had never been
Anything else, and you know she is dreaming, her eyelids
Jerk, but she is not troubled, it is a dream
That does not include you, but you are not troubled either,
It is too good to hold her while she sleeps, her hair falling
Richly on your hands, shining like metal, a color
That when you think of it you cannot name, as though it has just
Come into existence, dragging you into the world in the wake
Of its creation, out of whatever vacuum you were in before,
And you are like the boy you heard of once who fell
Into a silo full of oats, the silo emptying from below, oats
At the top swirling in a gold whirlpool, a bright eddy of grain, the boy
You imagine, leaning over the edge to see it, the noon sun breaking
Into the center of the circle he watches, hot on his back, burning
And he forgets his father’s warning, stands on the edge, looks down,
The grain spinning, dizzy, and when he falls his arms go out, too thin
For wings, and he hears his father’s cry somewhere, but is goneAlready, down in a gold sea, spun deep in the heart of the silo,
And when they find him, he lies still, not seeing the world
Through his body but through the deep rush of grain
Where he has gone and can never come back, though they drag him
Out, his father’s tears bright on both their faces, the farmhands
Standing by blank and amazed - you touch that unnamable
Color in her hair and you are gone into what is not fear or joy
But a whirling of sunlight and water and air full of shining dust
That takes you, a dream that is not of you but will let you
Into itself if you love enough, and will not, will never let you go.
I have not gone hungry
since the day of my birth
when you clipped my plastic cord
and carried me off to feed me.
Today, I have eaten
until I could eat no more
and then I slipped pencils
under my tongue just in case.
Light eats through my worn skin
where books press their sharp, slim fingers
towards you but I offer my ribs
to their eager beaks instead.
Sympathetic papers and spirals
whisper softly against my neck
as I sit at your feet in a sea and
sometimes you reach between
the library of my teeth.
With my back to yours
I perch, as quietly as I can
and we go to Wednesday places
am writing to you
already falsifies what I
wanted to tell you.
how to explain to you that I
don’t belong to English
though I belong nowhere else” —― Gustavo Perez Firmat, Bilingual Blues: Poems, 1981-1994
Specifically, I want a poem involving one or a combination of the following:
- Stiletto heels
Reblog this post and add your own poem. I’ll pick my favorite on Monday, and the winner gets a signed copy of my poetry book, Bone Fragments.
I cannot walk
the paths of your cobblestone sighs.
When I left my thoughts
tangled in the bed sheets,
the motes settled down, deep
in my bones,
bringing bricks, placing walls
over my eyelids.
Here, the dust splits my silhouette,
squeezing between fingerprints,
a back-arching yawn just under
motes flex-stretching over
I cannot mirror your exclamation points.
The ears are where the coffee goes
so I poured rich bitterness in
but the dust drinks it up.
I’ve got fingers of birds, pulling
fluttering at the bells.
I find your voice,
your face splinters and freezes
I breathe and it’s nothing
but the soot of succinct speech, settling
into shores of empty lines.
I curl my toes in my shoes
Smothered or disrobed,
as you are, by appetite,
weighed down and laboring
for swollen fruits,
distorted or weathered
by chance winds,
the twisting path
of each petaled branch
will always lead back to you.
From each snow pea,
each hill and house,
from each veiled bud,
and dune-hipped ridge,
from each soft, round murmur
of bone and consciousness,
the body stems from you.