And Now Upon My Head the Crown

1.
             In the first place—I wanted him and said so
when I had only meant to say. His eyes
opened beyond open as if such force would unlock me
to the other side where daylight gave reason
for him to redress.

                                          When he put on his shirt,
after I asked him to keep it off, to keep putting off
the night’s usual end, his face changed beneath
the shirt: surprise to grin, to how even the body
of another’s desire can be a cloak behind which
to change one’s power, to find it.

2.
                                                                 In the first place
he slept, he opened the tight heat of me that had been
the only haven he thought to give a name:

Is-it-mine? Why-you-running? Don’t-run-from-it—as though
through questions doubt would find its way away from me,
as though telling me what to do told me who I was.

Hunter

            When you were mine though not
mine at all permanently, just a body borrowed
without permission, a body interrupted,
interruptive—

                           the sky opened like a secret in a mouth

mouth with a word in it
   
word with an arrowhead in its flank: Love, small

creature it was

                                     crying in the night beneath me

Order of Events

First, he taught us to use the dead as shawls
in the viscous winter escorting his arrival.
Next, he taught us to forget the dead
were dead, our dead, and dead because of a wager
we did not consent him to make with the thin-lipped
savior of his own pantomime. Third, he delivered
on promises that blew off the tops of homes
in places whose names he could not pronounce.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown1
forced to fit a quiet country that has no need

for a crown. Where once was honey unhived
competition. The drones meant for war
prepared for war. We dusted our shoulders
of Shadows’ silent reconnaissance, surveilled
as practice for a slaughter we did not consent to.
The royal parade pride’s malady stomped
its sequence through beat drums of human skin
from which emanated a rhythm impossible
to decipher. I too would shake my ass
to the sound of stars falling night-
wise into a pit of myth-bent nomenclature
if the names sounded like home. Under eroding
circumstances, this kingdom could become home.
Under eroding circumstances my gasp
has become home enough, love not
consented to yet detected from beneath
my mindless right hand pressing its devotion
to ritual over my heart, flag above waving heaven
and blood into the smoke-diffused sky I
quake my way through anthems beneath. Rockets
glaring off my breath forced to evidence I belong.
The crown is crooked. We straighten it
with vote-vapid hands. The crown sits too heavy
for the king to carry on his own. When it falls
“O say can you see,” strikes its inquisition.
My knees, summoned to straighten at the hinges
permission most questionably opens from,
strike the earth with a kiss. Could I
kneel my way to revolution?
Would that goad the king to unzip?


King Henry IV, Part Two

Related Poems

a note on the body

your body still your body
your arms still wing
your mouth still a gun
 
          you tragic, misfiring bird
 
you have all you need to be a hero
don’t save the world, save yourself
 
you worship too much & you worship too much
 
when prayer doesn’t work:      dance, fly, fire
 
this is your hardest scene
when you think the whole sad thing might end
 
but you live      oh, you live
 
everyday you wake you raise the dead
 
          everything you do is a miracle