After the first glass of vodka you can accept just about anything of life even your own mysteriousness you think it is nice that a box of matches is purple and brown and is called La Petite and comes from Sweden for they are words that you know and that is all you know words not their feelings or what they mean and you write because you know them not because you understand them because you don’t you are stupid and lazy and will never be great but you do what you know because what else is there?
It’s been a long time since my body. Unbearable, I put it down on the earth the way my old man rolled dice. It’s been a long time since time. But I had weight back there. Had substance & sinew, damage you could see by looking between your hands & hearing blood. It was called reading, they told me, too late. But too late. I red. I made a killing in language & was surrounded by ghosts. I used my arsenal of defunct verbs & broke into a library of second chances, the E.R. Where they bandaged my head, even as the black words kept seeping through, like this. Back there, I couldn’t get the boys to look at me even in my best jean jacket. It was 2006 or 1865 or .327. What a time to be alive! they said, this time louder, more assault rifles. Did I tell you? I come from a people of sculptors whose masterpiece was rubble. We tried. Indecent, tongue-tied, bowl-cut & diabetic, I had a feeling. The floorboards creaked as I wept motionless by the rehab window. If words, as they claimed, had no weight in our world, why did we keep sinking, Doctor—I mean Lord—why did the water swallow our almost human hands as we sang? Like this.
Heaven was originally precisely that: the starry sky, dating back to the earliest Egyptian texts, which include magic spells that enable the soul to be sewn in the body of the great mother, Nut, literally "night," like the seed of a plant, which is also a jewel and a star. The Greek Elysian fields derive from the same celestial topography: the Egyptian "Field of Rushes," the eastern stars at dawn where the soul goes to be purified. That there is another, mirror world, a world of light, and that this world is simply the sky—and a step further, the breath of the sky, the weather, the very air—is a formative belief of great antiquity that has continued to the present day with the godhead becoming brightness itself: dios/theos (Greek); deus/divine/diana (Latin); devas (Sanskrit); daha (Arabic); day (English). —Susan Brind Morrow, Wolves and Honey
Gravel paths on hillsides amid moon-drawn vineyards, click of pearls upon a polished nightstand soft as rainwater, self-minded stars, oboe music distant as the grinding of icebergs against the hull of the self and the soul in the darkness chanting to the ecstatic chance of existence. Deep is the water and long is the moonlight inscribing addresses in quicksilver ink, building the staircase a lover forever pauses upon. Deep is the darkness and long is the night, solid the water and liquid the light. How strange that they arrive at all, nights on planet earth.
Sometimes, not often but repeatedly, the past invades my dreams in the form of a familiar neighborhood I can no longer locate, a warren of streets lined with dark cafés and unforgettable bars, a place where I can sing by heart every song on every jukebox, a city that feels the way the skin of an octopus looks pulse-changing from color to color, laminar and fluid and electric, a city of shadow-draped churches, of busses on dim avenues, or riverlights, or canyonlands, but always a city, and wonderful, and lost. Sometimes it resembles Amsterdam, students from the ballet school like fanciful gazelles shooting pool in pink tights and soft, shapeless sweaters, or Madrid at 4AM, arguing the 18th Brumaire with angry Marxists, or Manhattan when the snowfall crowns every trash-can king of its Bowery stoop, or Chicago, or Dublin, or some ideal city of the imagination, as in a movie you can neither remember entirely nor completely forget, barracuda-faced men drinking sake like yakuza in a Harukami novel, women sipping champagne or arrack, the rattle of beaded curtains in the back, the necklaces of Christmas lights reflected in raindrops on windows, the taste of peanuts and their shells crushed to powder underfoot, always real, always elusive, always a city, and wonderful, and lost. All night I wander alone, searching in vain for the irretrievable.
In the night I will drink from a cup of ashes and yellow paint. In the night I will gossip with the clouds and grow strong. In the night I will cross rooftops to watch the sea tremble in a dream. In the night I will assemble my army of golden carpenter ants. In the night I will walk the towpath among satellites and cosmic dust. In the night I will cry to the roots of potted plants in empty offices. In the night I will gather the feathers of pigeons in a honey jar. In the night I will become an infant before your flag.
Although you sit in a room that is gray, Except for the silver Of the straw-paper, And pick At your pale white gown; Or lift one of the green beads Of your necklace, To let it fall; Or gaze at your green fan Printed with the red branches of a red willow; Or, with one finger, Move the leaf in the bowl-- The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia Beside you... What is all this? I know how furiously your heart is beating.
Eventually we must combine nightmares an angel smoking a cigarette on the steps of the last national bank, said to me. I put her out with my thumb. I don’t need that cheap talk I’ve got my own problems. It was sad, exciting, and horrible. It was exciting, horrible, and sad. It was horrible, sad, and exciting. It was inviting, mad, and deplorable. It was adorable, glad, and enticing. Eventually we must smoke a thumb cheap talk I’ve got my own angel on the steps of the problems the bank said to me I don’t need that. I will take this one window with its sooty maps and scratches so that my dreams will remember one another and so that my eyes will not become blinded by the new world.
The flames don’t dance or slither. They have painted the room green. Beautiful and naked, the wives are sleeping before the fire. Now it is out. The men have returned to the shacks, slaved creatures from the forest floor across their white stationwagons. That just about does it, says the other, dumping her bucket over her head. Well, I guess we got everything, says one, feeling around in the mud, as if for a child. Now they remember they want that mud, who can’t remember what they got up for. They parcel it out: when they are drunk enough they go into town with a bucket of mud, saying we can slice it up into windmills like a bloated cow. Later, they paint the insides of the shack black, and sit sucking eggs all night, they want something real, useful, but there isn’t anything.
I will engineer the sunrise they have disassembled our shadows our echoes are erased from the walls your nipples are the skeletons of olives your nipples are an oriental delight your nipples blow away like cigarette papers your nipples are the mouths of mutes so I am not here any longer skein of lightning memory’s dark ink in your last smile where the stars have swallowed their train schedule where the stars have drowned in their dark petticoats like a sock of hamburger receiving the lightning into his clitoris red on red the prisoner confesses his waltz through the corkscrew lightning nevermind the lightning in your teeth let’s waltz I am the hashish pinball machine that rapes a piano.