Little God Origami
The number of corners in the soul can't
compare with the universe's dimensions folded
neatly into swans. In the soul's
space, one word on a thousand pieces
of paper the size of cookie fortunes falls
from the heavens. At last, the oracular
answer, you cry, pawing at the scraps that twirl
like seed-pod helicopters. Alas, the window
to your soul needs a good scrubbing, so
the letters doodle into indecipherables just
like every answer that has rained
down through history, and you realize, in
your little smog of thought that death
will simply be the cessation of asking, a thousand
cranes unfolding themselves and returning to the trees.
Mittelschmerz near Menopause
Lumbering though the day’s
dregs accruing in the pelvic
pit, I want to drown
in bed, birth the damn cabbages
with their hot breath. I want to haul
ache off bone like taffy. Peacocks
strut in the gut. Journey,
be done with me. Can’t you pass
without dragging your spurs
through the scenery? Awe
grows by the river, but it is a
bitter flower. Such heavy
machinery for a mere nit,
a pinpoint of gel spit from
this month’s anemone.
Two weeks later: an opera.
Love’s sad fortune drains
down my legs, staining
the white tile in wild roses.
-both poems previously published at Poetry Foundation
even in July
in green shawls of algae
the pussy willows
are busy knitting mittens
with a blizzard of light
my body is sweltering with summer
but even in July
my icy feet know
the mountainis thinking snow
-From Barefoot: Poems for Naked Feet (Wordsong, 2008)
Picasso's lithograph series, 1945-1946
In the beginning, he enjoyed volume
and meat, his hide twitched
with texture, bulked up on shadows
and light. Head down, rutting,
tail flipped forward for flies
or lust, cocky in his thickset
hooves. Six days later, his skin
is less generous. It spans
cartilage like bat wings.
The nostrils flare, but the eye
already knows what's lost.
By December, the tail hangs,
an impotent whip. The face
abdicates, the testicles dangle, rot.
The body is butchered
by triangles and arcs. This linest
ands for stomach, that,
a proxy for shoulders.
The eye comes and goes.
In early January, the legs confuse
themselves. The penis is straw.
Geometry continues its land grab
for rump and guts. In the end,
the interior; haunches, belly, gorge,
all confessed and obliterated.
Like the beasts at Lascaux,
the brute is tamed
by paint & palm-sized line,
brawn stewed down
to the sinew of symbol until
what's left is a name
that passes through lips
& barely stirs the air.
-previously published in Daily Poetry