Havoc my country, my lord, my lair—
This is no natural forest.
My lungs can find no mirror of mica, no flaked red
garb of leaves.
Blind at night, blind in the light.
Who here prays to the Snake god?
Who discards the twin he wears on the outside?
When he lays white and waxed and wrinkled—I will double, triple—
Sometimes the child-mind collapses like an umbrella,
spindled ribs and an ivory handle—
Which way may I rise?
My mind’s finger traces the hem, raggedy
edge, a river, the time (unkempt) (shabby)
where the lake laps at the glass line of pebble and piping
to shatter its black cloak of water again.
Dole your coasts and coal-fires.
Quiet the flood that fades in the child’s pale eyes—
Inside the hall, the common balm of men, none to blame,
serve & eat, clean the worn frame of time,
for a far din
gleams beyond the range of my ear—I hear
Brute comfort, cold and shield—
A kingdom inside my heart. The way out, the way in.
There could be sparkle, elsewhere the road rolls outward like the future
My heir apparent—something quickens
The eye of my camera blinks black.
What is inside opens like a flower to receive the light.
Here you are.
Thick fleece blankets in pink and orange, stacked high against the windows.
Peel our paint like a fingernail piercing an orange!
The house—the fruit—the way
Spackle & stucco.
Step over and through this aluminum doorway:
The way here—the way there
A soldier who borrowed my face steps forward, camouflage
wraps around his limbs, he looks
nothing like a tree, he walks on the surface
of the earth—“No
pictures here.” We spin and circle,
loop backward in a V formation.
This wanton migration.
The rough wood against my palm, cut maple, cut oak.
The wine of red peppers, the dream of a scent.
Gathered from the ground, brown gills
feather the hoods of the mushroom jungle.
My childhood was flavored with sweet
miniatures from the sky’s favor. Heat, damp, hail—
Ice sheds its blue skin, reddens and
reads my palm, my fist sobs white, hot
with cold, star-dust, the pregnancy of clouds.
Greedy mouth of ponds and streams.
Underground rivers and your dissident teeth gleam.
Here. The Alley. The camp gate up ahead. The debt. The distance.
Yankee wife. Donkey. Milk. The ringing of the pail!
I do not live here. I live here. I do not live here. I did not live here. I never lived here. I knew who lived here. I
am living here.
Here, I am living. I am living.
Breathe though there is no air. Breathe time.
A man who never existed except as lines of letters on a page said,
“There is a way to be good again.”
I might flock to such a phrase, gather it like a basket of apples under my arm, carry it back through a past, if I could tune time,
if I could fold time like my body,
if I could battle through the air like a god, if I could
open the earth like a god, if only
I could swallow
the sword and the maiden—