Intending to begin at the billowing page, the flesh calls back its bulls, the divers arrange themselves, occur as gods (loa) occur: that is pliant, beds of mushrooms (pendentives), intersected by light.
Think of the bardo as forty-one or 2,700 intersecting tiles. The mosaic has a fundamentally Caribbean soul. The under-flesh of a fugue, of cosmic background radiation. A treasure of static is blossoming there. Her wallet is blank, which is incidental. This is the context in which Ayida treasures. This is also the context in which childhood attempts to recur.
Avoid nail head, inset, mouths. Avoid the participle and bread-winning verb. Avoid collusion.
Avoid bulls deranged, fearless in the streets.
Avoid flagstones, re-instatements. Avoid vendetta.
An ocean plucks one, two, three, five, seven feathers from its flank—hands them to you. They are intended to highlight sound. With them, you fall back into the life of a painter.
You work construction: Remember that at six in the afternoon February is not accountable to anything, remember the favorable time, the field (namesake). Leviathan in the heart’s salud disminuida. A peacock stands in the street, shakes out its crest of freshwater. The animus of childhood in the end
gets whatever it wants from us; it is not an uncanny burden or dusty crop.
your name in strawberry leaves.
One red mouth traveling.
Pentacles like lunettes open through the walls.
Speed and seeing are the only requisites
to positioning oneself in tradition
or catching rhythm
bare-chested, youthful …
Our binary heritage does not turn anachronistically, but skillfully through watersheds of fear. Laughter credits us with binary code the color of olives, soil the color of olives. Possession and transformation take place over months or in the time it takes to eat a meal. Tissue threaded across certain occupations: military, police, prison, illness. Compassion trims the moon until it is unseen.
The eye is present if the rain is out:
threatens to bend not only reeds
but pitch, guitar, eggs of the macaw.
Not just the river but the shadow the river travels.
I know what it means to burn a bed with lights still startled in it. Know when five or seven stars are made clear. Sir Stanley Spencer saw pillows of water. Velázquez saw a lakewater eye rising into itself.
I think the bacchanals of the vision are left to sunflowers.
Plaster of aching and fucking
cartels of life
the meat stinks, the vowels are infirm.
The vowels wear dark halos, of which they are ashamed.
I sat beauty in the mud and drank her
the structure of ransom
beside corn fields
unanticipated weather fell.
this Louis XIV crest I wear
to insinuate my youth
among deadly company
& the soul goes on up the mountain …
& the poem’s sex cruise
everyone on the beach should
take their bottoms off it’s
not smoking glass at dawn but something
men running sweat bands of light surrounding them
sun pure body blistering word
the vultures, blond fins beneath their wings
the sun in tiers …
a spell of black balloons vanity up
spruce your balloons up
spread those balloons
offset that meringue
“so the bullet that found its way into Roque Dalton’s forehead
took its pajama bottoms off
scratched its upper arms felt ashamed
before settling into the worst sleep
in the history of El Salvador …”
with your lovingly razor-thin feelers,
cleaning the trapdoor lashes of the I
the pig emptied, strung up,
smells like wild rain
no fun no longer
now the redheads
now I know
what Mann was talking about
& why Marianne Moore wearing that silly smile beside that pony
was in fact Satanic
Consider: these Botticellis their rough hyper-masculine proto-schizophrenic features, or that the thunder does not have wrists
a mask of pearl
at the ox-tail banquet of probability …
daylight does not apologize but undresses that fear
the cock pecks at human dreams,
causes drops of blood to flow
eating souse in London:
I watched the sun
walk in its black wave,
wash dirt from its hooves,
exit the river
synthesis of an accurate city—
with increasing interest you watch the stars
the shadow of a stone pushed,
flat as an abdomen, beneath the sun
steps an egret,
a lash of time in consciousness
opening the doors
of the senses,
like a bull
if I were a girl
I would be hymnal
if I were a woman
I would be pithy
if I were a husband
I would be a touch-sensitive lamp
if I were a widow
I would uncross turnstiles
if I were a virgin
I would clip energy from fear
if I were a master
I would plant time
if I were a maze
I would wear a prettier dress
if I were a guitar placed in sunlight
I would close my hole
Ayida is jealous of the snow
or—the herons and I are blending under searchlights
a vèvè travels across the walls
& our Rimbauds burning $7 bills
at 7 p.m. in
a city inverted and strung
with balloons the color of hospice,
a sea of friends …
as vocables are stones entire, stone’s wholeness, so the wind
pushes back my name
in my hand, stark, with which I carve a whorl
say grey carnations threaten skin
& the soul, a fountain through which carnations fall
that money is fierce and grows on trees
that the hyena is the only other animal that laughs
that a honeyed crucifixion has courage
that the wind commissions horse-hair sofas
that I dust the cushions out, their flame-retardant thickness
I drew myself up
hell smells like shit
in the pines
a tonsured drunk,
librium, terraces and wrath
in Sophoclean Emirates
& heavy business cards spraying
from Valentino suits
show us what to do when crystals inhabit us
the bright meat of the lights
the hard-foam life vests flaking red
the clusters of red grapefruit
the facades like blown loa
as a pearl Ferrari approximates
the angel of history,
so our mourners shy off
into flatness and ice
the day undoes its belts and we have seen
what others have not necessarily wanted to see:
the shells, intricately folded,
like Brando in an aspirin tree
Hart Crane surfacing,
wrapped in a Haitian flag
paper us a will, an instant
of numbing ointment along the gums
tomorrow beauty shifts its name,
the seams vanishing across that discourse
and the rows of claw retracting in the eye