Half woodland, half rising --6
for a dollar --hurry, hurry!
And the number is 2
straight between the eyes
--the girlfriend hugs the bear
--the sailor watches it die
though he knows even the claws
are stuffed with a wide, heavy wheel
that leaves no tracks
mauls everything in front the kill
till the booth, number by number
spinning apart, steered by a wind
that's hidden between the spokes.
He thinks he sees that wave
chosen at random, the others
following on water --jumps the rail
tells the cops, Let go!
They come from nowhere.
It takes just minutes to make a calm
--already the waves are invisible
--all afternoon calling man overboard
and the girl bathing the bear
the eyes and the healing.
The shirt kept lifeless, tied
by its neck, pants torn, worndown shoes
held tight with string --I bring along
hot cocoa and the usual sleeping pill
though a withered song gets me in sooner.
With each visit, before anything, I ask
for someone remembered only as sky
and combing for rain, slowly one side
more than the other --where else
can a song --by morning the rain
reshaped and my whisper is filled
with your eyelashes
as if you were there and lost the way.
Where did I begin this singing
while the warm cup, barely a mouth
or your breast held by a cold, white sleeve
--before anything! closer, closer
a man without hands, without memory
--there's still a trace
a now-and-then sheer from some primordial sea
--a senseless off-center where rest
is needed most, and light --all night
till I almost drown sorting the rain
and kisses gone back to your throat.
Or paying off someone :each funeral
once only at night, the hearse
still black and along side
another shadow :the witness
closest to the wheels, holding fast
swells then withers
then stretches out :each breath
begins with a few words in your ear.
You dead contradict only in whispers
are still in doubt about these trees
and the soft sound falling into snow
into those small stones
already taking root, that grow
only in winter, in mouths.
Everything you do is whisper.
There are no wings on birds anymore
and everything falls into this ground
as if it were a sea and your shadow
set adrift among the calls from seabirds
one behind the other --you dead
go everywhere in crews
and though I rode with the others
I leave unprotected, afraid which shadow
is yours, slowly from its continuous night.
A plain paper bag yet in its night
this popcorn needs more salt
--a fragrant grip and I am Hercules
muscle-bound, shaking the screen
the actors giants, grotesque
--each finger has its own cry
huddles beside the others
the way mass graves are opened
reach out for a voice --lips move
and the floor slopes toward that mouth
till nothing can stop the fall.
I pound my seat the way all light
stops its wandering, dims
waits to be rescued, then devoured
--count the emptied rows
and the same red, unshielded bulbs
lit over those two doors
where for the first time
fire is expected, the ceiling
drifts closer, smells
from stars left out to die :blooms
are forbidden here --in this dark
I take hold some great arch
that exploded , one half
slumped over the other
as if they hear a faint sound
no one has heard before.
Four in the morning and the dog
wants to talk about her dream
afraid to stop in the middle
--the barking smells from salt
wants to be brushed and the sky
made ready, shown to someone
before morning arrives --I calm her fur
to lay down the way an echo
is trained to retrieve, waving
to something I can't see. It's no use.
I need a glass, a spoon
but the tea no matter how near
darkens with each goodbye --I need
to set the dog adrift :an island
on all sides left facing a great sea
warning me where sleep is treacherous
and the mist, louder and louder
wanting to come home.