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Brian Johnson
POETRY
 

Luxury Appointments

 

I.

Red leather,
gold flowers.

Morocco,
beauty of

palm trees,
towels

minarets,
breasts.


II.

Voluminous book,
sort your lovers.

Sit up, leaf
turn colors,

turn over,
talk

breathlessly
in a shadow.


III.

Which monkey, and for whom
climbs the fruit-tree

as if no other
climbed the fruit-tree?

As if no other
fell from a branch

in the history of mansions
fallen from the sky.

IV.

In my one eye
undimmed by time

your stripes
palpitate

your strings
glow

so the failing
one sees.

V.

Between us,
a pillar

a caterpillar
makes it.

I love you
inch by inch

our temple
of inches.

VI.

Nails
spidery...

hips plush
selfless

the eyes
thrown back

and legs
akimbo.


VII.

I’m not afraid of love
this morning.

I’m afraid only
of losing you:

your green eyes,
your glass of water

our balcony
in Rome.


VIII.

Friends come and go, like old dogs.
Words stay in the house  

as full-time servants.
I watch them

in pearls, perpetually strapless
pacing the floor—

and wax-faced Madonna
guarding my door.

IX.

A bird
fit for a king

cannot fly.
Poor kingdom.

A king
fit for a bird

can only sing.
Poor bird.


X.

Punishing journey
by any means

my coming to you
is never kind

or over, or quite
begun

to make you a sea
in my keeping.

 


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