Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Autumn Masque

I entered the autumn masque, fallen stars glistening in the eaves. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Poems From the Book of Angels


I awoke in July. When heat
Seared the orange daylilies
Framing fragile gardens.
Walking through the new city,
I shed my coat, gloves,
Sweater, scarf, and boots.
There was a white birdhouse in a yard,
The replica of a tiny church on a pole,
With cross-shaped windows
Striking me like a bell or a whip.

Smothered by tubes and sheets
For weeks, and
Angels sat on my head and licked
My face with raspy, catlike tongues
Until I appeared like a cloud on someone else's
Lawn. I went to a bar in the foreign
Town and drank beer and ice water
But all I wanted was the snow I had fallen from
Into this glass inferno.
Angels sat on one side of the cracked mirror
Behind the bar, devils on the other.

I was a dancer, possibly a father. All I
Remembered was now burgundy, red flesh within
Siberia. I see myself walking down
The road in the picture to the beach. My
Eyes have seen the shape of the future
Through rain. I am like the future. I am
A god, risen from a basket of worms. I
Am walking into the picture.

The ship's prow is
Covered in flowers. I spent a decade
Living with an angry beast
I never knew in a
Dying cell, didn't I?
Sprinting occasionally
Like spirited lightning
Across a fabulous floor
Made fine.
Clever sweat and dissatisfaction
Were the price we paid. But we always
Struggled and went on
Until I fell. Did I fall?
Do we ever?

I carry coins in my head. Prance
With flame-drenched souls.
Hunger and light is what boiling
refines down. A little passion (like a footnote)
Between the scurry and the files.
The ship inches down the bricks,
Dragging our house behind it.
The house we built is
Unfamiliar, but I find the beams and
The masts lovely: it views
The sea.

The waters closed over my head
And I sank into a bed of anenomes
And roses. Mermaids and men
Pulled me down, kissing everything.
Cries and red lights in the distance
I called home.
I am home now and it is the strange
Place I love. Dress me with flowers,
Stand me in the garden. I will be your
Sextant, your sundial, your walking
Miracle of cherished bone.

I was never as fragile as a song
Before, more like Atlas holding
Up your earth. Your gaze withered me
And we are married but whose clothes
Are these? I'd like to find the person
In the video who swept the world
Into his arms and kicked a flight across
The stage. . . his heart pounding like a star.
The resemblance would drive the old me

The pictures are so lovely!
The phone rings night and day!
I am beloved! Miraculous
Renaissance encyclopedias!

There is no decay.
I still see angels
Lighting and quivering in the corners
Of my eyes. They make me laugh
And people say "hallucinations."
Flash: an image. X-rays: surgery.
Our lifetimes combined added up to less than
A second one.

First you throw all the rules away.
Then the notebooks, the textbooks and
The science that saved you.
Then you clasp your wife's hand tightly,
Defy the world and stand gracefully
On the prow, sailing proudly (no tears today)
Through the mechanical painted streets,
Out to a sea the color of beer.


The Mystery of the Huge Black Carp

In the Netherlands
Where the landscapes are soft, dreamy and brutal,
On the immense rolling grounds of the university
I came upon mysterious ponds
Filled with huge black carp,
Vague missiles moving stealthily under the fogwater.

Carp had ceased to thrive here
Centuries ago.

There was a rotating lens
Atop the building on the hill
Which observed my movements through the valley.
And before that a journey down a waterfall
River in a boat that meant certain death --
A graphic, misleading design.

Sleep is like death sometimes;
Our memories intermingle with those of angels.
And our thoughts move like huge black carp,
Stealthy symbols trying to navigate us
Through the dark, lurking just beneath
The surface of morning.



Strange hay of bodies threshing light.
Scimitars of thought slicing unfaceable nights.
It is impossible to die
Mid the inscrutable crunching of cells.
Impossible to kill time
Or lie to the brazen hour.
The beat has come to kill us now.
No more pushing through weeds
To strangle moments.
The boat has docked.
The endless ladder abruptly
Ended. The next step lands in
Space. Below, the mists of a child
Gazing into the lake rises, strong enough
To blind.

The darkness collapses.
The angels mimic science, basses drone
And whine. You have run into the wall.
Alone. The threshing heart ceases.
The silent bone sings.

Plummeted high
Above the bright world
Without speech,
Dangled until one by one
Their thoughts let go of you.

If only you'd known the stupidity
Of numbers, the moronic, aching waste
Of cellular days.

Now you know
Everything. What you'd give to touch.
Nothing is taken from what has been given.

Your eyes are raining jewels.
The ocean has fashioned
A harp from your thigh.
The electric deer graze in meadows of mind.
A fetus made of stars
Swings in bone and cradles night.

Here you are, a nothingness
Clipped from pictures, sewn
Into disguise.

The star that doesn't last is why.
The medicines lasted and rang true
Until the line erased all facts.

Imagination perfect and true
Is all that's left of you.

The angel falls away at last,
Leaving only hunger
To devour.

Inside life, at the core,
There are no dresses and wings.
Where rain begins
And light shines
Madness unfurls.

The door opens wide,
And no longer matters.

It was the last thing you saw.
Now never begins.
The old

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The tiny maps were true to us,

Leading us into the darkened gold of mermaid caves deep within sleep, brown windows no on else could ever open. Enchanted, we groped our blind packages of loss, fingers brailling tapestries of hunger. We climbed elaborate stairways of dust together to hear the whispered poems of tooth, bone and wing, to find stories of the ancient spiral told by its invisible inhabitants. We hunted save colors in those palaces of intrigue until our tongues went numb from the salted taste of the glacial swells and our clumsy heads were deafened by surge and drum. Clasping hands, we followed seaweed paths into tomorrow, drank deep from starry wells, and folded many kinds of darkness into our chests, where we kept their beats both secret and alive.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Momentists live their lives in search of “perfect moments,” moments of illumination, transformation, exhilaration. The perfect moment may be one of reminiscence triggered by a déjà-vu like sense of familiarity. Or it may be a profound realization of the inevitability of death. It can be a variety of things, but the essential element that defines the perfect moment is the extreme degree of its intensity.

Whether the Momentist experiences an overwhelming sense of loss or of recognition, what characterizes the so-called “perfection” of the moment is its fullness, its uniqueness, its ripeness, in comparison to the emptiness, complacency and ordinariness of much of our waking lives. Perfect moments are like rich tropical islands coming into view after a long tedious journey, during which the splendors and fascinations of the ocean have ceased to inspire and have metastasized into a uniform gray longing for an invisible shore.

The most dangerous mistake made on the part of the Momentist is in supposing these moments to be real, or – even worse – in some way more real than the average and dull wasteland in which we float. For these moments are just as unreal and illusive as the waves that surround them. Simply because they are searingly poignant or heartbreakingly beautiful doesn’t make them any truer or more ideal than anything else in life. Their substance depends entirely on context and subjectivity rather than on an absolute value or meaning. But those individuals drawn to Momentism are notorious for their passionate natures, as well as for their romantic ideals.

The mature Momentist, however, is a cynic at heart. He or she knows all too well that every moment is a precipice, behind which lurks an abyss. What makes life bearable for the true Momentist is that during the trance-like experience of the perfect moment, the rest of the universe ceases to matter. The true Momentist is highly aware of the contextual nature of perfection, and revels in it.

Momentists are a dangerous breed. They live in a world dictated by longing and expectation. If they are foolish enough to believe in ideals or absolutes, they are more often than not perfectionists as well, rarely satisfied with themselves or others. If they are cynical enough to perceive there are no absolute truths, it is often difficult for them to justify their own existence. Frequently, however, the uniqueness of the moment is justification enough.

A Momentist waits and watches, hopes and fears; often the perfect moment defies manipulation and happens without warning or explanation – then suddenly an emotion blooms, eclipsing the intellect entirely and one is plunged into that transcendent realm of irrational “one-ness,” ravished to the core, and – alas! – absolutely dependent on the transience of the illusion.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Rancid Prince (Compadrito) of Darkness Dances the Tango with the Intaglio (Milonguero) of Light

Salimos a bailar? = Shall we dance?

Could feel his moustache on my hibiscus breast (we were born in mystery)
Glimpsed black wiry hairs sprouting up between
sock and shin (dance is braiding and shearing)

The mountains slid backwards (the house became huge)
The mud-colored leaves swirled up like bee clouds (his shoe caresses)

Around our prancing forms’ (eagles in flight)
Mad backwards spread (birds falling)

Caminar = Fluid Walk

For starters, he hissed, I will give you (thin wings, fragile animals)
An everlasting lamp, made of a winter (the destiny of stars)

Morning that will never fade, shot through and through (tapestries of ice)
With silver, gold and blue:
a living bauble made by a god or two. . . (witnesses of night)

I felt his lacey shirt cuffs (understood the futility of food)
Graze my waist (the enormity of the map of the world)

Media Vuelta = Half-Turn

He was saying as if living was just one more (blue perilous sky)
Way to stop the pain (the necessity of inhabiting words)

Or at least a way to try to keep it away, at bay,(of shaping the night with verse)
Like using a stick to wrench a wild animal’s(no matter what it cost or who it hurt)

Jaws apart, just like so many trappings (he liked me for my spine)
Of art we rip and save and tape (cracked songs lost transmissions old loop plays)

Salida Cruzada = Beginning of a Cross Pattern

All to delude ourselves (hungry glass continents)
That art is something more. . . (irresistible lips in bliss)

And next, I’ll marry your hump-backed sister (deary fuzzy fawn in shaded wood)
To a faithful farmer-bandit (revolutionary zeal)

And give you five gold coins as bright as suns (stunning weather reports)
That will become whatever you imagine. . . (horizon-melt)

Desplazamiento = Displacement of Partner’s Foot or Leg

And what do I have to do, I murmered (bad laugh track sitcom hell)
Lost in the winter lamp revolving at our feet (the hour glass that never runs out)

Merely marry my shadow (the one you’ve always known)
And he opened his cloak (course of adrenaline fear)

I saw a shadow of gold, lit from within (hope begets glade)
Cold and harder than any stone (the polished thing)

Sentada = Sitting Action

As far beyond earth’s fragrant touch (narcissus bloom)
As a long-dead fossil, and thought (mirror crust)

It wouldn’t be so bad (sin spotting scope)
Caring for what’s worse than a corpse (ruined cherished fractals)

In trade for wonder (philosophic wax)
Embracing a grave (smooth deep glossy sheen)

Boleo = Throw

But stop right there, I said, wheeling (make me a wonder)
I think I remember how this kind of thing ends (haunted by the parade)

As our reflections parted and joined (dark mossy rope)
Like some clothed vessel and he (the emerging frame)

Said don’t think about that (sweep away the thoughts you can’t stand)
It’s not where you belong (lone bauble in waves)

Dibujo = Drawing Circles on the Floor With One’s Toe

Poetry can’t live alone (dance, one-legged doll)
It needs the dark corners (basement psychology)

Feeding its ravenous spider-mind (creep of vermin)
With worms from down deep whispered endearments)

I’ve been shot, stabbed, beheaded and slashed (his faith)
And never felt a thing (her need)

Llevada = Transport by Sweeping the Partner’s Foot

For 3,000 years I was a crow (black flutter of night)
Just watching and learning (perhaps you were my bone)

And our reflections flew apart (unions betrayed)
Then were soldered in one fleeting, flaming tool (alchemy of lust)

He flashed the map of secret routes that would (you too can be a star)
Make me young (you can play the role better than most)

Firulete = Skillful Adornment

I could feel it in my heartbeat (no easy answers)
Part of me already belonging to him (purse clasp and knee click)

From the moment I had skin. (flaying has its)
There is danger in the kind of pleasure (underground allures)

That twirls you round (lasso-style)
With champagne veins. (high, high, highest)

Enganche = Partner Wraps Leg Around Other’s Leg

I saw the dark velvet tunnels, caverns of stars (crush)
Blue underground lakes (Elysia)

We made it look effortless, like blown glass (breathing)
Though our complicated dance cost us our lives (toll pass consequence)

You are the etchings on the moon – (in my black dress)
Cool, lovely, distinct, distant. (I was his living shadow, his relief)

Amague = Threatening Noise/Embellishment

I tried to bite down HARD on my angry salvation (steamroller Blues)
But couldn’t stay focused (fabric of magic)

It kept slithering back (herding theories)
Into the ocean of will (photos change over time)

The only catch – barely a ripple – (windsurfer swallowed by wave)
Is your inspiration will run dry, drop and stop (headline truth stratosphere beat)

Mordida = The Foot of One Partner is Trapped
Between the Two Feet of the Other

In a world (perspiration)
Screaming with excess (lifelike plastic blossoms)

Dark days ruffled grays (open doorways of decay)
Beat a cool din in my fevered ears (the C Sharp of the color Red)

You will live in inspiration (he couldn’t help roaming)
And not feel a thing (a frozen moment that stirred my soul)

Quebrada = The Woman Stands One Foot, Hanging Against the Man

The night is hungry he hissed (desire trumps lucidity)
Pressing the small of my back (fear trumps guilt)

He swept away the light within his cloak (shield the moment)
And drove us across the room (one day to save the world!)

We fluttered into each other (love swallows creative mania)
Like a perfect match (mercenaries of poems)

Lustrada = The Woman Strokes Her Partner’s Pant Leg With Her Shoe

Scent of pomegranete (illusory potions)
His ice-thin hand, special in mine (he is too vulnerable too)

The earth heaving and sighing (an ageless mordant grace)
And rolling over nations (music please)

As light as slippers (we glide together through)
We waltzed (reflections only I can see)

Cadena = Complex Turning Figure of Enchainment


Compadrito – Ruffian; inventor of the tango

Milonguero – Tango fanatic whose life revolves around tango and who embodies the essence of tango.

Salimos a bailar? – “Shall we dance on the dance floor?”

Caminar – Balanced, fluid walk

Media Vuelta – Half-turn done when man’s right foot and woman’s left foot are free

Salida Cruzada – Beginning of a pattern with a cross.

Desplazamiento – Displacement of partner’s foot or leg using one’s foot or leg.

Sentada – Sitting action.

Boleo – To throw.

Dibujo – Drawing circles or movements on the floor with one’s toe.

Llevada – To transport; one partner’s foot sweeps the other’s foot.

Firulete = Complicated or syncopated movements used to demonstrate skill and interpret music.

Enganche – Hooking or coupling; one partner wraps leg around the other’s leg.

Amague – Make a threatening motion as an embellishment.

Mordida – The foot of one partner is trapped or sandwiched between the two feet of the other partner.

Quebrada – The woman stands on one foot, hanging with all her weight against the man.

Cadena – Complex, theatrical, rapid turning figure evoking a chain or enchainment.