Timpani

I suppose my heart
May be just like that

Timpani

So coarse but limber
Enough

To stretch its membrane
Out of reach then past —

Before jerking back to just
Wobble out a pure note

Its soft swell harbored in
Hard frameworks

It’s difficult to know how
The hollow bowl

Resounds

Inside me my heart it
Rings

A strange sound
For a drum

I sit beside it which is stranger
Still

 

Winter is Always

Winter is always wintering
It covers up its wilderness
The hour before bedtime and the minutes
After departure,
It freezes bodies in the pantomime of quietus
A flicker of breath.
Fogging the darkness is the only sign of life,
Reaching out and pulling back.

Everything is prevented from blooming
Except in the flash fires that burn a kingdom
Around periwinkle cold skies,
Winking out.

A cry escapes — deafeningly silent.

He remembers her eyes were like ice:
The crop of tears hanging heavy from the tree.
Harvested, homes are made
That melt in Spring.

A Woven or Knitted Material

Made and unmade just
As the fabric of her mind that knows and does
Not know her mind and can’t
Make or unmake at all; it is
Only fabric: Toile clusters of late
18th-century pastoral flirting

It forgets and remembers
As an iron rose become suddenly
Thick and pink
Performing the blush is exactly
The thing that turns the shadows away
From their gathering, she thanks
Them one by one for leaving, laughs
At the parting
As she so often does
At the drubbing of love.

Bloom’s End

I tried to live at the top of that tree
In twigs, no matter the frailty
The green blaze, a din of temporality
Swept through with reserve

I fell to the trunk
The spine of an open book
Roofed over my heart:
The Return of the Native
Eustacia Vye’s heart and mine
Loosed in Egdon Heath

I wouldn’t mind all that furze
But for the hot walk home
Away from the tree and its supports
As it shoves me out
And back to Bloom’s End

I  run backward
And see it as a snapshot
Where I lived for a time –

I could say that it was green forever
But I’d be lying

The Performance

She wanted to but could not;
C
hest hot with words
Mouth even opened so
Each bee could charge forth

She assailed to the pillow
Softness breaking into
The even-softer

         — And I realize she hasn’t changed

Even in the face of all this she hasn’t changed
Enough to express a dislike for Chinese food
Or anger at being always asked
For more and

            Better and

            Longer and

            Thinner and

            Smarter and

            Richer and

            All

She feels you insisting she wake
And produce for you
Something she wants for only herself

You’ll take all your privilege
She, without protection
Only distance

And you wake her between nightmares
As if you’re about to take care of a child
But all you want is whatever she has
Left to give:
Some last drops of milk from the breasts

You’ve come to the Female trough
She has none but Medusas

You would always unsettle the slumber
To satiate desire for any body
Even hers, the hated
And hate on it

She said “performative”
And you so enjoy an independent woman
Who can deal with her shit on her own time
Congratulations:
You’ve just won her crushed chrysanthemums

Ten Years and you don’t
even know she is bruised at all
Except when she is drunk and wears red lipstick
For the performance

All you men
And your daydreams of the female wellspring

So resplendent

 

 

Requisite

Anything but hunger
       — ing

After all of this
Appetite

Has settled
Down debris, be seated

Pillage and core
Rows upon rows of deserted homes
Wanting kin

Each Friday evening set to burn
But too empty to catch, quite

Human hunger in the Autumn
Is better than none
For anything

Why dreaming of sinew and all that bone?
Everyone knows

The Marble Faun
Will not survive
Settled under all that soft on soft, soft too
Coaxes and heals

The hound of the self
Comes to feed no more
When hunger has a different name.

Any Small Donation

Mother’s Day
Isn’t for mothers
Wives
Sit in bed
Misty with smiling
While husbands push in their children
With pancakes on a plate.

It isn’t for mothers
Who brace the washing machine
While chicken roasts
And open lunch boxes
Sit on the counter
By a stack of dishes
While making a list
With one quaking hand
Cradling a little blond head
With the other.

Not for single mothers
Who fall into bed
Alone
After working four jobs
And relax to the sound
Of white noise
And weeping.

Mother’s day
Is for wives
Who can afford to
Expect
Any small donation,

Kindness.

Your Shirt, Purloined

I am afraid after spending some nights in the hunting ground.

Your shirt purloined
Within my gaping bag.

Finding such ration
Invented waver.

A finger-quiver
On the trigger.

It carried penchant
To a hesitant chamber,
Begot disorder,
Tethered hair at the back of my head.

I am afraid after pledging red grouse on a salver.

I track retrograde,
Wait, then, for a steady hand,
Hunt the cavern
For your bulk
To occupy the vagabond garment.

It stands upright
As engaged by some wraith,
Haunting rib-pitched chambers.

I am afraid to glance sidelong the heart
And entirely miss my aim.

 

The Red Armchair, By Picasso

Were I to paint
A self-portrait,
There you all would be.

Beneath my face, another
All you nesting dolls
Heaped beneath the sheath.

Seventy fingers entwined
Resting on my manifold thighs
Pointing all directions
Mostly behind.

A pillow breast so large
For all I stashed away and saved
A withered tag slouched
By my arm
For all the whiles I gave.

My body curves
In all directions,
Because muscle remembers
The body’s infections.

Croton Plant

Waking with nonentity
Beside

A leaf-adorned plant
Draped in all that green
Luxury.

So jealous
Of its photosynthesis.

All the veined fronds cuddle
Swigging light together
Toasting their companionship.

Organ over organ, stretching
Out for provision
From the sun.

But think of the pot
The soil
A relentless want
Of water
To heal
Its incessant wilt.

It too, is exposed
It too, alive
With the fear
That its sustenance
Will vanish.

Or that everything will:
Leaves, plant, and sun together
Leaving only a woman
Displaced
In uninhabited space.

Everyone knows
Loneliness
Must always be the tonic
For a longing of verdure.