Unacknowledged Pollinators

“If you were a star,” you said, “you’d be called Forgive me.
To which I smiled (you couldn’t see me) and said,
“Or Forgive me not.”

You said “Beware the ides of March on days we’re distant
from bees and flowers.”

“Not if the bees in the mouth don’t sting,” I said,
“and the air we move is a monk’s in a meditative year.”

“Are we the plants or the particles,
the planets or the elements?” you asked,
“and our touchless touching, vector-dependent sex,

and the honey mouth, are they
the silences that waggle the tune
on our foraging routes?”

“When I say honey,” I clarified,
“I’m asking you whose pollen you contain.
We’re no snowflake symmetry

yet to each pollen grain its aperture:
porous, colpate, yet blanketing the earth
as crystals might, and light isn’t refused.”

“And when I say honey,” you said
“I grip my sweetness on your life,
on stigma and anthophile,

and the soporific folded on its synchronous river
that doesn’t intend to dissect my paradise.”

“O captive my captive, we lost and what did love gain,”
I asked, “I haven’t fallen from where I haven’t been,
or exited what I didn’t enter.”

“Seen or unseen,” you said, “I’ll live in your mouth.
We have an extra room. The children like it there,
mead in it their stories and playdough.”

“As if a child is the cosmic dust that made me,
and I’m the suffix, its -ide.”

“And within that child a child.”
“And within that another.”

The Mind in State

Does consciousness exist only when
you name it?  Was the double helix a
stranger, the nucleus the  first brain?
I feel  therefore I am.  This  is  more
peptide than pep-talk. The tongueless
mood is sticking its tongue out at us.
The mountian  wool is  shaved into
vineyards. Without other there is no
self & and we are not always other of
other selves. Is the moon a self, is
wine or grape? The body & the as-if
body, taking time taste waking slow
rain healing grass.

Epithalamion

We hold the present responsible for my hand
in your hand, my thumb

as aspirin leaves a painless bruise, our youth
immemorial in a wormhole for silence

to rescue us, the heart free at last
of the tongue (the dream, the road) upon

which our hours reside together alone,
that this is love’s profession, our scents

on pillows displace our alphabet to grass
with fidelity around our wrists

and breastbones, thistle and heather.
And this steady light, angular

through the window, is no amulet
to store in a dog-eared book.

A body exits all pages to be
inscribed on another, itself.

Things You’ve Never Seen

When I tell it, the first time
I saw hail, I say
it was in a desert and knocked
 
a man unconscious
then drove a woman into my arms
because she thought the end was near
 
but I assured her
this wasn’t the case.
 
When he tells it,
he smiles, says the first winter
after their exodus
was the coldest.
 
Rare snow
came down, and his mother,
who knew what the fluff was
 
but until then had never seen it,
woke him and said, Look outside,
what do you see?
 
She called his name twice.
It was dark. Snow fell
a paragraph to sum up
 
decades of heat. He had
no answer. She said,
this is flour from heaven.
 
When he tells it,
he’s an old man returning
to his mother.

Related Poems

Elegy with Apples, Pomegranates, Bees, Butterflies, Thorn Bushes, Oak, Pine, Warblers, Crows, Ants, and Worms

The trees alongside the fence
bear fruit, the limbs and leaves speeches
to you and me. They promise to give the world
back to itself. The apple apologizes
for those whose hearts bear too much zest
for heaven, the pomegranate
for the change that did not come
soon enough. Every seed is a heart, every heart
a minefield, and the bees and butterflies
swarm the flowers on its grave.
The thorn bushes instruct us
to tell our sons and daughters
who carry sticks and stones
to mend their ways.
The oak tree says to eat
only fruits and vegetables;
the pine says to eat all the stirring things.
My neighbor left long ago and did not hear
any of this. In a big country
the leader warns the leader of a small country
there must be change or else.
Birds are the same way, coming and going,
wobbling thin branches.
The warblers express pain, the crows regret,
or is it the other way around?
The mantra today is the same as yesterday.
We must become different.
The plants must, the animals,
and the ants and worms, just like the carmakers,
the soap makers before them,
and the manufacturers of rubber
and the sellers of tea, tobacco, and salt.
Such an ancient habit, making ourselves new.
My neighbor looks like my mother
who left a long time ago
and did not hear any of this.
Just for a minute, give her back to me,
before she died, kneeling
in the dirt under the sun, calling me darling
in Arabic, which no one has since.

[You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior]

You ask me to talk
               about the interior

it was all roadside flowers & grasses
               growing over the cities

was made of wilderness & sky
               with God washed out of it

was the foreign prayer-word
               it was a list of missing persons

was the solid bronze charging
               bull on the famous street

was like the Roman method for making bees

was its taken-down carcass
               & its bed of apple-branches & thyme

was a new anatomy      a beaten hide
               a skeleton sweetening to glowing fluids

& the bee born out & the grist of them born
               glistening as coins

it was anthem
               was the listening

the way a searchlight listens over a lake
               it was the prayer-word out of your mouth

your thousand-noun request
               it goes up up to the florescent weather

was hurdle & burn      burning through
               the infinite      your overbright comet

was made of stones      made of berries & plastic & boxtops & eggshells
               it was like the word having reached the ear

& the words pollinated the dark      there was darkness there
                             like the afterhours inside a library

Beehive

Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
And I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey,
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.