‘To all the women skinning’
To all the women skinning
the world not as in to make a glove
for a fist stripped down turned inside out
but hanging the faces we all have hidden
on display the blood be damned
because blood is no stranger
Praise for you are no second men
bones split out of a breathing body
your own selves only
nothing other determinedly weaving
fierce words out of the water your bodies
are made of all our bodies are
Made up in the secret soothing dark
of the hearth made to leave
and come calling into the light
a poem of beginning becoming
being and you there to sing
the song taken out of you and back again
Because someone once desire You,
I know that we, too, may desire You.
Even if we renounce all depths:
when gold lies deep in the mountains
and no one’s there to dig for it,
one day the river brings it to the surface,
reaching in stillness into the stones,
into their fullness.
Even when we don’t desire:
-RM Rilke, #16, Prayers of a Young Poet
But he himself had given up
So instead he offered them
This bitter cup: You’re gonna die
We’re all gonna die
Could be twenty years, could be tonight
And lately I have been wondering
We go to so much trouble
To postpone the unavoidable
And prolong the pain of being alive
– excerpt of Priests and Paramedics, David Bazan
little pop-up container
mind’s closed fist
origami bends sharp
at odd angles
not the swan
fine china bowl smoothed
by a thousand thousand strokes
patient palms now cracked
and leaking sky
run all over this dirt
floor lick my toes blue
wait hovering eyes
over the emptiness of waves
find the faint line
lips lift away
The lenses bend so gently
it’s like wearing water. Like when
you were a kid and your brother
put his face in the fountain
to hunt pennies and came up
shrieking stars! At parties
my friends are disappointed
they can still see each other
when they steal them off
my face, hoping, I guess,
for some kind of blurred magic.
Mostly, they pass unnoticed:
the faintly smudged
window I see through.
Only when the sun streaks
and stays or sharp neon
sizzles their rims
do I remember I am hiding
in plain sight. At night
I set them aside to rest,
their arms akimbo
We eat ham sandwiches
in the lobby of the hotel
where he works.
He is soiled and dark
under the arms and eyes
from bending over soup
and chafing dishes all day.
The luxurious flesh shreds
willingly, as if in penance.
Iberico. The best.
We watch the revolving door
deliver the oblivious spectacle
of the world to our feet
like we were gods.
We don’t speak
of the waiting tests, the potential
for his blood to strangle him
from the inside someday soon.
I am not hungry
but swallow it all, unwilling
to waste a scrap. The sun cuts us
into soft ribbons, scattered
by the never-ceasing door.
What beauty lurks, loosed
in the face of the sleepers
holed up on Elliot and Pine,
all but invisible
draped in denim and plastic
laid out on their sides
as we all do,
as I will tonight:
one leg gently bent
nestled on top of the other
curled in on themselves
sheltering in the doorway
of their dreams
The rain, we all agreed, was torrential, Biblical, apocalyptic. And she with no god damn shoes. Homeless–tarped in a thin coat that glistened on the inside, sopped from head to foot–doesn’t do it justice. Her swamped life stowed in a handcart, lugged around behind her, looking for any sort of safe, dry place—and we said no. We with this big, empty building; this warm heart we profess to beat with the love of God’ we who gild the Samaritan in purest gold, we said no. We wrung our hands, dithering about paper cups for coffee, the smallest grace we could conceive of in a moment ruled by fear.
Out she went, wrestling all she carried with her. Again. She sheltered an extra stolen moment in our entryway, looking back over her shoulder. Evaluating. Wondering. Perhaps pitying, perhaps praying for these people who knew not what they were doing. Or fed one another the lie of it: the Body of Christ, broken for few; the Blood of Christ, poured out for some.
Or perhaps she spared one last look to shake the dust from her naked feet as we chased her silently back into the plague of rain
a shapeless black sack skiffs about
above the Sound
starling-dark thrummed smudges shift sudden
to pale grey dashes
that blink black and fade
flip flip wingtip
semaphores snapped to
and fro in the wind
heart-murmurs marking the sway
of the sea
and out and out
in and out and in and in
and out again
until finally a frenetic funnel cloud forms
entropic bonds collapse
down into each particular perch
Deepstep come shining (never again).
-elegy for C.D. Wright
She was all eyeteeth, as I recall. Oracular.
Concerned with nerves of vision and the smell of things–sweet
tea and rain on dust. What it tells you. And milky eyes. Cataracts.
And questions, grave and sad so it breaks the heart
a little in the asking. What she said
and what she meant by what she said I can’t say.
Only: sawgrass and scrub pine. Shade trees.
Only heat lightening quick, like a stab
in the side. A way of seeing, after a fashion,
that shimmered. A ghost laid by, one arm up,
over against the screen door, watching. Biding
his time until you turn and look right at it. When
he disappear. Like that. And now her, too. Deepstep
come shining. Never again. But. Her peace rose.
Her pocketful of fists. And questions. And dust.