Friday, May 08, 2009

Ah Craig, Rebecca, Jackie, and World, Most of all You...

Terrible news just found me.

from A Place of First Permission

AT a still point of the turning floor
there is a dancer you would know her
even across a crowded room
the way she sways is so familiar
She weaves with the easiness and grace
of someone so completely in
possession of her body the beat
she lays down with her hands and feet
is all that keeps the cosmos in its groove

She is a lash of flame
spiraled to fire-colored hair
Her hands unfold a flower out of the air
If you reached out to take it if you came
closer you would liquefy like wax
pooled in a candle's crater you would spill
past possibility of shame
She says
Smoke me a bass line to go with that
thick as blackstrap molasses she says
Give me the buzz of oboe between your lips
the tingling tambourines the sweet
percussive patter of palm on palm she says
The whole world is poured into the deep bowl of my hips

Now get on up she says and shake
the creases out of your clothes she says
Your life is nothing but the thread
you spin behind you every step
a turn a loop a figure-eight
until the day that blind witch Fate
opens her scissors and snips you dead

What would you do if you could take it
between your fingers if you could feel
every knot and snag and tangle
loosen and gather softly round the spool
What would you do with such permission
how far would you wind it what decision
you made or didn't make

You can sit the next one out together
here at this table you can share
a glass of white vermouth pretend it's absinthe
green as venom green as Eden
seawater wormwood pine-needle
and watch the dramas and the comedies
playing around you you can ease
into one of those silences
that never feel the need to fill
And you can say what you've been so afraid
to put in words what's tied your tongue
for years of useless reasons and excuses
the apology you never made

Love from you I learned
to dance you taught me with your body
and not words your movement answered
mine and mine yours you gave me back
to my own body we passed between us
all the speechless gestures of admiration
of those early in love who aren't yet
careful to say so much and no further

But each time we kissed you kept your lips
closed however much I pleaded
Open the petals of your mouth for me
you never let them part I thought your heart
too was closed I was afraid to see
how happily you would have offered
everything had I done the same

Love forgive me all I've given
has been a form of taking
talking over a table of scarred wood
talking always about the table
I've held out my hand and drawn it back
in case you took it always afraid
to take away the table altogether

You laid a coal on my lips you made me
bend my chromatic into blue
You taught me how to spin my line
back and forth in a broken prayer
and give it to the all-assuming air
Now here it is my gift to you
if you will take it oh my Ariadne
my muse my lady jane my valentine

She takes your hand her thumb circles
lightly over the backs of your fingers
How have you never noticed
the sweetest galaxy of freckles
scattered across the fine skin of her wrist

Outside the ragged trickle of the rain
the dark snarl of branches the blades of grass
bend and flutter caught in the wind
that sweeps over the wake you leave behind
As if it all were bowing briefly
toward your passage nodding as if to say
Yes you're going to get away
with everything
As if the dancers
happy or disappointed loving or leaving
their voices the red velvet curtain
swaying from side to side the broken glass
the girl you loved and you and the whole train
were nothing but a line of thread
licked twisted drawn through
the eye of a needle and slowly pulled
another stitch in the cloth of the world
that is all stitches a piece of string
lost in the weave never to be untangled

Look did you see it
The eye blinks
and the bud of the moment blows open
shakes off its sleepy petals
and you are sitting there
listening to a girl in a pink sweater
gossip into a phone
and she gets off
at the next stop (there is no keeping her)
leaving a dimpled seat a hole
shaped like her in the air a long blonde hair

and the smell of rain in wet wool

Craig Arnold

Made Flesh

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