Tuesday, April 07, 2009

City Like a Sukkoth Empty and Forlorn

but clean, like the words dew and refresh.
Or the cantor's voice this morning, clear
as winter-air, the crispness to twilight
shaken off Miriam's tambourine, a circle-moon
skirted in metallic leaves clang a music--steel,
and that word--steel too, clean, clean,
clean as a wiped-down kitchen.

Like the spaces between us yield
to the black tulip hour when we remember us
pure as the day before we met, unmoved.
Our fingers yet to leave their eternal vortex
of prints swirling off that rock thrown
on the puddle of us that first time we spoke.
Disinfected, we're no longer
a crime scene, dust anything and find
that no skin cell, no hair or spit
contaminates our caesura of no longer here
nor there, so sanitized, antiseptic, it’s nearly disgusting.

But I’m meditating on cleanliness
and we’re in the midst of Passover,
the metaphor inherent too easy,
too done, and there is nothing
more immaculate than the perfect
blonde haystack of coconut macaroons,
the scent of them too, like summer
and beaches. Someone from Israel
sings in a pitch that defines the clean
but nothing so much as a very old man resting
his head against the Torah’s scroll,
eyes closed, looking like a small boy
again fallen asleep during the service,
muffled as the first day of heavy snow,
rests safe against the certain purity of the word.

Dingy as the Black Tulip Hour Dims in

How little we’ve considered
pirates these last few years
until now. Then we radio
them in and they are both
contemporary and the pirates
we imagine, eye-patched, with parrots,
and so on. We’re packing up
around the aquarium, the fish
slide back and forth in the peripheral,
where their small treasure chest
breathes in and out, the plastic gold
of doubloons, spilled strand of pearls,
the tiny skeleton lounging as if bubble-bathing,
his plastic bones cleansed on the rubies, emeralds,
and rhinestones and I consider the pillage
and remember you, Sister, your shampooed hair, unrinsed
and-crackling-dry as we talked and talked ourselves
away from that bad night, each word a brick between us
and the sandpaperdoll we’d ground ourselves against
the bitter truth, against the planetary-grime
shaped like a man (who was no man) and whose dark garden
bloomed cruel blossoms but we picked them, dried
them and from those seeds found that what is buried
breathing dirt, scooting the ground out of the way
in search of a window of sky, and far from subway rats
and city mice, a year of hard-rain grew
this good harvest, this hard-won crop.

for V, again


Steph R said...


a-smk said...


Robin said...

I'm just catching up with your April poems. Love the world of the Black Tulip.

a-smk said...

Wow! Thank you. And this encourages me to catch them up myself. Remiss this Miss. Tsk!

Thanks again for the kind words.