brief lesson on marriage

I asked my wife
to check the hive,
to see
if the hive
were burning.
(I had 
no wife, no hive.)
Yes, she said,
rising up
from where she’d
been
embroidering
a new wind. Then
—Yes,
she said again,
only this time
a bit more softly.

What Is a Soprano

I call to you as a prism to its oracle denies any prescriptive allure. What is a high sound when a sparrow takes it. When breath snatches. A latch catches. Dear diary. I am home now and affect a suitable disregard.

On a screen everyone is very particular. Does this explain.

It is this bird we want, not that one. This one not that one. Myth is the difference between birds.

Is this a letter for us to open. It is. Red yellow blue green and violet. Pressed between as petals in a bound volume for their proper keeping. Repeat, as necessary. A gift expresses the meek constituency of a recollected pleasure.

Who is happier when blind or blinded. Who says happy now.

My Beast Made of Gold Is My Vocation

My beast made of gold is my vocation; it walks with me
and makes a peaceable sound. It has no wings and it has no clay.
I never touch it, if I can help it—though sometimes, knocked
roughly, I brush it by accident. That is when the pain comes
and the great poems cover their famished faces. Which is the true
prison: the church, the garden, the body, or the mind?
My beast doesn’t answer, but I detect a slight modulation
in its earthy hum. I cannot leave it and it, evidently, will
not leave me. I wish I had a cord with which to bind it up. Bless
the rain, which washes the eye clear and remembers nothing
but what we have discarded in the skies. It wraps my golden beast
in its wet hands. I want to return the earth’s broad phylacteries,
which it left in my care. This is the furthest I will get from love
and love’s children, adrift in the blue-eyed grass. My beast
prepares a place for me. It is not the place I wanted, but
I recognize myself in its contagious mysteries. Oh beast surrender
I call into the night’s tight coin. It remains beside me, unblinking.
It is a beast, and I am a man. Together we make our worship.

Related Poems

Stories About Love / Wedding Poem for Ada & Lucas

In one story, the lovers are two halves
split by jealous gods, and in another story,

the lovers are victims of a wicked baby
with a bow and arrow. In one story,

love means never touching, but exchanging
a lot of handkerchiefs, and in another story,

love means a drastic change in brain
chemistry that lasts a year, even though

the after effects are lifelong. In one story,
love is the north star guiding sailors,

and in one story love is a sharp blade,
a body of water, and a trophy all at once.

The truth is that love is nothing but itself,
an axiomatic property of humankind,

like storytelling and explanation giving,
which explains why everyone explains

love in stories, the way I once called it
a form of disappearing, and my favorite

philosopher called it a holiday. Listen,
storytelling animals: today, we say, love

is only love. Put down the crossbow, baby.
Put down the handkerchief, Lancelot.

Put away the easy chair, Babs. Let’s let love
be felt in its touch, and be known by its face.

Let’s let love speak Ada and Lucas,
and then let’s let love be silent.

Waiting for Happiness

Dog knows when friend will come home
because each hour friend’s smell pales,
air paring down the good smell
with its little diamond. It means I miss you
O I miss you, how hard it is to wait
for my happiness, and how good when
it arrives. Here we are in our bodies,
ripe as avocados, softer, brightening
with latencies like a hot, blue core
of electricity: our ankles knotted to our
calves by a thread, womb sparking
with watermelon seeds we swallowed
as children, the heart again badly hurt, trying
and failing. But it is almost five says
the dog. It is almost five.

Notes For Further Study

You are a nobody
until another man leaves
a note under your wiper:
I like your hair, clothes, car—call me!
Late May, I brush pink
Crepe Myrtle blossoms
from the hood of my car.
Again spring factors
into our fever. Would this
affair leave any room for error?
What if I only want
him to hum me a lullaby.
To rest in the nets
of our own preferences.
I think of women
I’ve loved who, near the end,
made love to me solely
for the endorphins. Praise
be to those bodies lit
with magic. I pulse
my wipers, sweep away pollen
from the windshield glass
to allow the radar
detector to detect. In the prim
light of spring I drive
home alone along the river’s
tight curves where it bends
like handwritten words.
On the radio, a foreign love
song some men sing to rise.