Lines on Love's (Loss*)

what we do not dream we cannot manufacture

Art follows ear and echo

covers/chooses

selective

eyesight searches the dust

and is surprised by love’s

apophatic blinking

 

what love sees in daily light

holds open color – ink, roar, melody and quiet

is its own steady gaze

to better endure bumps

 

“always more song to be sung” between the words

jars memory and its subatomic underscore

moving at the speed of thought underscore

 

in random thirsts rise underscore

name the sensations, underscore

to fish for breath, underscore

combing through hair as tangled as nets, as underscore

 

thick as the beat of blossoms’ underscore

 

a fine line between mind and senses spinning underscore

in which her/my/their body becomes expert underscore

without waiting for unified theory,

 

loving the body of one’s choice andunderscore

 

to live so surrounded underscore

with fewer asterisks and underscore

more verbs andunderscore

fewer security alerts Underscore
 


there eloquence before underscore

and above

underscore the grave.
 

*For Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor

Related Poems

Flux

I am a city of bones
deep inside my marrow,
a song in electric chords,
decrescendo to mute, rise
to white noise, half silences
in a blank harmony as all
comes to nothing, my eyes
the central fire of my soul,
yellow, orange, red—gone
in an instant and then back
when I am, for a glimpse,
as precise as a bird’s breath,
when I am perfect, undone
by hope when hope will not
listen, the moon wasting
to where I need not worry
that bones turn to ash,
a brittle staccato in dust.

Forecast

I twist myself into a knot
the day pulls taut.

I am what I am
told. Good red meat

gone necrotic. A spot of black
spread out to ruin

a perfect evening. It’s the way
the weather wears me.

A cold, blank day. My blood-
burned fingers. A white noise

swelling in me. It’s nothing
but night now. That’s how

all the days end. An hour
glistens in its glass case, turns

rancid in my memory.
Another day, another

dress the day lays out
before me. I grow older

if I’m lucky.
And I’m lucky.

My sad heart in its excess.
Such petty injury. I am worn

against the weather. Limp and prone
to empty.

What came before this.
I can’t remember.

I dress for all the lives I want
behind me. I have come here

to make seen the day
I see. I fall from focus.

The day goes sour. It asks me
nothing. It asks nothing of me.

Advice to a Young Poet

“What is poetry which does not save nations or people?”
            – Czselaw Milosz

Ask the question.
Not once but forty-nine times.
And, perhaps at the fiftieth,
you will make an answer.
Or perhaps not. Then
ask it again. This time
till seventy times seven. Ask
as you open the door
of every book of poems that you enter.
Ask it of every poem,
regardless of how beautiful,
that whispers: “Lie with me.”
Do not spare your newborn.
If the first cry, first line
is not a wailing for an answer,
abandon it. As for the stillborn,
turn the next blank white sheet over,
shroud it. Ask the clamouring procession
of all the poems of the ages –
each measured, white-haired epic,
every flouncing free verse debutante –
to state their names, where they have come from
and what their business is with you.
You live in the caesura of our times,
the sound of nations, persons, breaking around you.
If poetry can only save itself,
then who will hear it after it has fled
from the nations and the people that it could not save
even a remnant of for a remembering?