I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone
in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart,
that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you.
16 Dec 2012
We have avoided focusing on the killer, because he is gone, and,
frankly, we don't want him to be remembered, certainly not by name.
17 Dec 2012
A table laid out, great feast prepared.
Guests seated before platters of lambs
bleating out. Forks and knives. Flesh pares
red on linens. Dismemberment plans
scrawled on scrolls, announced
between courses. Guests name the dead,
name hunger, steel, magazines – count
licenses, moviegoers, children: names
read till guests slump. Till they seat
their own lambs. Till they proclaim
Speeches into a night that seems
dead. Tear pictures of the living in half,
tuck into puddings, pastries, twist open tops
of heads. Wail grief till eating stops.
We wail grief till eating stops
thought. He lifts dishes to the sink
to immerse in water. I clam up.
He stops washing, holds my drink.
I need a way to swallow. Plates pile,
dinner cakes on. He washes pans.
I trace Boschian hells on drywall
where spray texture people contort. Hands
blur to blood drops, spurt between
nebulae. Absence surrounds them. To die
inside a star spreads iron sheen
into births of worlds. The secret to flying:
forgive one’s arms for holding
you. Enter them as they’re folding.
3. Evening Primrose
You and I enter as they’re folding
programs the night before. Under
blue-white stars, a long time ago, old
pickup trucking us past city lights, wonder
blushed skin. I told him living outside
suburban clamor would better both:
target demographic suicide.
We watched friends’ births. We bothered
with questions whether to plant
in deserts. There were ways to savor
vistas. Arroyos flowed. We can’t
plant gold under red stars. Hold major
applause till the funeral. I’m serious.
The stage awaits your debut eulogy.
The stage awaits your debut eulogy,
first in series. They will grouse
about cause, snap to lines that sear
skin. What a day to be in the house.
Senators badgering senators won’t
differentiate. Cloudy. Morning snow
crystals. Wind hushes howling. They vote
for heads that say what they already think.
That’s that. You’ve quite a reputation
for recycling lines. Viewers can’t hear
words. Numbness meets proclamations.
Threat or no, audience tastes change. Fear
slithers between chairs, stopping to bite
where it pleases, unseen in bleaching light.
5. Dog Star
Where it pleases, unnoticed in bleached light,
the white dog gobbles lunch, vomits
into the sea. Order we don’t spite
by speaking. Beside the dumpster that
first kiss raised a flag of independence.
Always the white dog nuzzles, licks
hands under the moonrise when
water settles. When waters stir, its
fur shines moon-colored, always
lures me to sleep. Past breakers, ships
anchor. Soldiers wade their way
ashore as I sleep. The white dog heaves, hips
lean, pads along the beach to feed on fat,
scraps the tide dispersed and brought back.
The tide dispersed and brought back
what remained of container ships: boxes
of hip replacements. Birdcages sink
through water that boils when touched. Rocks
and shells bear witness. Gears in factories
turn out more. Write it off. Or we should
light up another round of war stories
for the dead, songs understood
as sweetest flowers of the human throat.
Temptation deliver us from evil. Thine
is the smoke, scent pleasing. Skip the boat
to drop infants in rivers. Save wine
and smoke for afterglow. Epics made up.
Once the leash is slipped, never enough.
Leash slipped, there can’t be enough
room to run. Day goldens. Feet stamp
brush though we offer rough
tribulation. Approximation: clamp
down. There’s no meal you won’t abide.
Under every feast table let us plug
wires. Post snipers to rooftops. Hide
not in temples. Hide not in shelters dug
beneath basements. Let the covenant
lay down fire, lay down rivulets
red on sand, red on children evident
because they still pray. Let it rain. Bullets
sink into loam, into bark, into hives,
into melons and skulls till nothing survives.
8. Arroyo Seco
Skulls melon open till nothing flowers.
Nothing sings to a burning sky.
When he sang to his computer, hours
later I said I listened. He asked why
I liked the new melody. You know
I always loved music, the trumpet just
one instrument I failed. In the shadow
of news cycles, supper is always dust.
It settles on plates, sofas, skin.
Each breath transports isotopes
to the brain, the place we’ve dined since
kids lifted logs for grubs that squirm. I hope
you take note: if there’s a way to bring rain
I’ll shower under clouds to erase your name.
I’d shower under clouds to erase your name
if skies would open. I understand
why trees facing west wilt: the same
air moving me dries lawns, gardens, land.
I tire of explaining myself to others,
and they agree. I feel rooted to soil, lord
of a sphere-point. I had no roots to bother.
What ark for silicon, for circuit boards?
High time flood returned. Let us be done
incarcerating. We do not fix the way
we inhabit. Let us gather power and dumb
machines, welcome them into our flesh, play
songs to summon rain from river, soil, skin,
Song binds covalent, dares us to swim.
Play a song that binds, dares us to swim
from shipwrecks. Deep calls each down
to rest among corals. Rusted ships house in
dark. We emerge from ages past to drown
alone, share lifeboats. Shadows of dead
children eclipse the sun. What innocence
brews tea from blood? Primordial weight unshed.
Debris leeches osmotic pressure. Incense
lines the shore untended. Whoever left
plates in the sink should wash. Whoever cracked
the teapot should cool it. Next time let us list
offenses beside milk and eggs to send back
for refunds. For cancer. A reminder to groom
the dog greys. The dog never came home.
The dog’s edges grey. The dog never came home
once quicksilver transfusions replaced human
blood, galvanized bones. Silicon skulls became
places to hide. You asked what women
and men of the world want. I can’t answer.
Not to bury children by the score
in December. Your grip cracks bell towers.
Eggshells fragment. Dirty plates. Pour
carmine from sink to kitchen floor. Carbines
line roads to emergency rooms. Trade veins
for tungsten. Light pastures, rows of vines.
Lemons are always in season. With such rains
unseen, fields and slaughterhouses pack tight
the seed stock surrendered to your appetite.
The seed surrendered to your appetite
found wanting. I’m sure one can tame
animals, bring electrodes to light-
deprived senses. If I jacked into the game
that birthed you, sure as shit I would emerge
suckling chemical spigots, abide
where servants race on the verge
of disastrous knowledge that you lie.
Chefs and servants print fresh programs.
In your own honor, you sing: how heavy
the trigger you pull, how grievous blows to arms,
thighs, chest, lips. You rise steady
on your crucifix. Stage lights swell to limn
faux stigmata. Cue your self-authored hymn.
Faux stigmata and self-authored hymns
do not impress the guests, who turn away.
Starlight. A night given to crickets, slim
margins, futures carved out. Grey limbs
eclipse the sky. I have never obliged
the hope you would evanesce in grand
deus ex machina. My love, bees slice
my face. Wires flay skin and enter. Each strand
installs until I am gone from the place
stone capitals are ornamented.
Gravity abhors exaltation. Faces
lose focus, lensing light oriented
starward. He said letters take a few days
to deliver love in all the right ways.
My love, to deliver the right way
requires position and velocity both.
He and I will reunite one day among sway-
backed hills, dazzled trees. Sky shields the path
to greater light. Cohered patterns guide
photons through chlorophyll, travelers to clean sheets
pressed in advance. The stance of those who hide
nightly reminds us twenty-four dark stars meet
each shining one. Time to uncover night’s
hidden minutes, fogged coves, lit shores
that call to blood sure as budding branches fight
to preserve blossoms and reveal more
long quiet to reach through, aware:
a table laid out, a great feast prepared.