Poem for an Urban Mythology

 

Here is what I know. Ash tree in the yard is frozen again,

Icicles hang as doomed men from the tree, in shapes of black

and crystal against the frost of window. I know that

to make her fall in love with me, I read Cummings. Her hands are always small.

 

I’m under the tree, noose round my neck, spear in my side.

I close one eye for knowledge, and give myself to myself, for myself,

as she gives herself for me, and I for her.

 

I can make her eyes close if I slip my fingers light

down the back of her neck. I know her mouth will open slight

if I touch the space behind her ear. In bed, poetry

and music become electric, skin against skin crackles

with peculiar fire.

 

The tiny pocket notebooks of prose read with mouths curling

into smiles, tongues curling into the slant of the body.

 

My walls are cracked and hollow, I know there are wires where there

should be nothing, and I know my lights will give way at the

softest of touches, for I live in a house built of chaos

and senselessness.

 

I am the one-eyed man – back stooped – hat tucked low under the

empty socket I traded away. I am the great King,

who cut the head off he who came before, and from his corpse

made my house and the house of the giants and the elves and

the monsters. And Death.

 

Shakespeare becomes euphemism, the Jackson Pollock of

our bodies, of our bodies, our blankets curl around the

crippled forms of human beings in love after love.

 

When she says “There are fountains there, you know” Her lips are wet

butterflies on my skin.

When I say “Yes, I’ve seen them run,” I am speaking about ourselves.

My tongue is an orchid behind her ear.

 

Take two birds, send them out into my universe. They spy

on she I love, they I watch. They my Raven signals, sing

thought and memory in mine ear through cable and sound at

the speed of wireless.

 

I know she has been crying by the tracks made in tears in

the redness of cheeks. I know how desperate they feel; I know

the tinge of failure digging under fingernails when asking

me to read Whitman in the dark. I feel the digging too.

 

I can’t, I can’t. I can’t.

 

When Thought says “There are fountains there, you know,” it is speaking

of my injured side, of the scarlet that slips out from between

the lines of the spaceman on my ribs. When Memory caws

“Yes, I’ve seen them run,” It is speaking of the end of the universe.

 

Lilacs and Atoms of myself are for sunny times, in

the fields of specimen days and drum beats of sharpened summer grass.

My house that has frozen over, shadow stories on white walls.

I’m the father of all, and I will sleep forever as

my house wraps itself around me. I am hanging myself

for myself, for us all.

 

Slip Bohemian out from floorboards instead, a house of

dragons in disguise. We lovers who sit in a

house of solitude, letting us alone together.

 

I read the Letters to the Young to the young and words of

words of words bounce off the walls that hold in the orchestra of our being.

Words paint themselves into the chipped floorboards and curl into

empty Mom’s Korean takeout from down the street.

 

I know why we reach for words as the heating of dusk break

down and spiders climb through the windows, for I must, I must, I must.

When on the buses there and back again, will ask I read again.

I know I will reach for sad birds and hi-ho because I know, I know, I know.

I know.

 

When we and talk about faraway places, we are lying and

dreaming of the stars.

“There are fountains there, you know.” She is speaking about chocolate.

“Yes, I’ve seen them run,” I am speaking about ourselves.

 

I am the god of gallows – I am not hanging, and battle

– I am a pacifist and poetry – I am no poet,

the book falls from my hands as I look at the frostbite tree

The world tree is painted on its pages; she is painted on me.

 

I know there are no gods. I know that everything is real,

and there I am, I am. I am. Ghost Feet tickle the small

of my back as my cold fingers dance across the moon.

 

I know when I say “There are fountains there,”

I am speaking about ourselves

I know when she answers “Yes, I’ve seen them run,”

she is speaking about chocolate.

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