Galileo

I thought I could stop
time by taking apart
the clock. Minute hand. Hour hand.

Nothing can keep. Nothing
is kept. Only kept track of. I felt

passing seconds
accumulate like dead calves
in a thunderstorm

of the mind no longer a mind
but a page torn
from the dictionary with the definition of self

effaced. I couldn’t face it: the world moving

on as if nothing happened.
Everyone I knew got up. Got dressed.
Went to work. Went home.

There were parties. Ecstasy.
Hennessy. Dancing
around each other. Bluntness. Blunts

rolled to keep
thought after thought
from roiling

like wind across water—
coercing shapelessness into shape.

I put on my best face.
I was glamour. I was grammar.

Yet my best couldn’t best my beast.

I, too, had been taken apart.
I didn’t want to be
fixed. I wanted everything dismantled and useless

like me. Case. Wheel. Hands. Dial. Face.

Hypothesis

Whether it’s true
that the moth mistakes the candle’s flame 
for the moon or the bioluminescent 
pheromones of another moth,

I can’t say.
I was the candle. 
I was the flame

conceived in and by reason of 
darkness, nibbling on a darkening wick. 
When moth after moth after moth 
swarmed me with their powdery wings,

I asked why. 
I asked how. 
I asked if

I could survive knowing
that not everything has a reason, 
that not everything is capable
of or interested in reason.

Nothing answered. 
Nothing spoke
my language of smoke.

Related Poems

Essay on Submission

Having ebbed in the disbelief of it instead of its weight.

Stone-tiled the floor the blood a trickling fire confessional.  

Here the ocean metaphor refused.

He tore me shut & seeping no vastness. 

To marvel or hide in.

Being told i don’t exist i laugh with wounded teeth into.       

The folds of his larynx a choir of bees rattle me.

Into myth less the mechanics of.      

Throat than the usage the context neither divorced from combustion.

Of birth more or less i forgave him before. 

He entered because he swelled for me i could never trust. 

Myself in his hands but i did want. 

Him. 

Knocking leaning into the sliver of light he.

Missed the wastebasket he couldn’t bear. 

The sight of me i never slept.     

With the lights off i don’t know that. 

History.  

But i named it so it can’t be.      

Holy.

Or rather question.

Of distance my skin.
 
And cold waters my skin and woundless.

Skin i wade in the contradiction. 

After i wanted only to be. 

Held. 

No.

Distance his hand & the small of my.

Back his hand & the lip.   

Of a waterfall here i reject the landscape.

Its vastness i don’t think.

We’re looking for the same thing you. 

And i you’d think olympus.     

Would dethrone itself of goldenrod leaves i told you it was. 

Blood did i claim it.

Mine i am built of avoidable. 

Violences with one drop apocalypse. 

The burning wilderness you can see yourself.

Out now histories like this cannot. 

Be known let alone escaped even the one.

Where i set fire to my colonizer i can afford neither. 

Reclamation nor reconciliation.

No.

Unfragmented i cannot give you an ending. 
   
That isn’t body lunar. 

And concave staining instead. 

The bathroom floor. 

Let It Be Forgotten

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
   Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold,
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever,
   Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.
  
If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
   Long and long ago,
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
   In a long forgotten snow.

 

Lust Money

That slick monster sat down with us all.
A man wants to know mouth-first

           what my face does looking at him,
           if my eyes are cogitating wells

of sweet soup. He imagines me forward
then bent as in over. The idea is I’ll say yes, 

          go to the car for unbuttoning
          but a wife flashed back in the way.

So I don’t visit the details of convention.
When I say I like a man who knows

           what he wants, there’s nothing more
           about him to like. Nowhere else to be,

I stand under the snow face-
first, the mouth my summoning shrine.