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Elegies – Updated Mar 6, 2009

The juice upon the keys

if as the fingers that play the ivory doors were
there on the shore when the dark eyed keys were sent off

if as the lanterns of Japan when the candle is lit may seek the only sky

if as I were to tell you something that would forever leave you mute

if as at the breaking of bread there were no crumbs to be left

if as the astrolys could draw within the tough green buds
the flowers it so carelessly shed

the morning the sun would go back to its harbour

the child would go back to its labia

the shallow breathing if as the metal needles in arms and legs were a

if as the molecules of its aiming were to seep back from tissues taking
with them

only what is red and leaving the body as colourless if as the limbs had
already moved on


Where you are

Genesis 28:12 Jacob’s ladder

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the
top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God
ascending and descending on it

You hear only the leaves when they turn away

The green backs of them disguising the threadbare distance

Disguising it with their thin green bodies that in their thinness
turn you to slumber

What you find there in the autumn is the silver of their leaving

They are the pigeons of the square in their washer-women clothes

The male in his circles the female of his attention

The silver is the lining of their green summer plumage

Then they are gone with the gold of your early eyes

Perhaps they are a market of fly-bitten dates

Perhaps the pigeons know that the green and their silver

Have always been the same but they do not hear

Your anguish that the sleight of hand of summer has you

On its wavelength between the flowers and the heaven


Ah the industry of waste

As though the animals in their mute dumb offering

As though you were there in your nakedness penis a kind of true

As though morning is the revealer of something better

The blonde beautiful white that took the hour

The flakes of which we hold in awe and do not catch their drift

The day the tide receded and the gulls there now their lifting

As though the hair of my forehead could call itself away

The loon and its laugh that bends the flesh to brokenness and bends it
even more

As if we could by simple show of hands claim forgiveness

The shore the grass the sand that is the work of wasted time

Could we but warm to that and drink the blood of lambs


Notes toward an aesthetic of death

consider the peat bog the one where sphagnum lays down so purely it
cannot be discerned from its ancestors

it has kept the secret of its memory and the information of its kin from
the ragged tissues of prayer that are touched in the windiest mountains

by hands of Mongol hands of Tibet where the sunflower saffron makes
an eye detach its magnifying glass and offer itself as gift

consider the last piece of cliff where the last few fingers blow ochre
and blew cinder and blue the bitter cherry and the yew

how to know the looking back would be like this: to the ancestor of
sphagnum the time-tested handshake

with peat that is there in its dissolving of flesh you did not expect and
made you slip your pretty ankle in its promise of living forever

(oh and never forgetting)