juvenal and juvenilia (until you rose and left me)


Back from when Deucalion climbed a mountain in a boat
as the clouds lifted the waters, and then asked for an oracle,
and then little by little spirit warmed the soft stones
and Pyrrha showed naked girls to their husbands,
whatever men do – prayer, fear, rage, pleasure
joy, running about – is the grist of my little book.

Ex quo Deucalion nimbis tollentibus aequor
nauigio montem ascendit sortesque poposcit
paulatimque anima caluerunt mollia saxa
et maribus nudas ostendit Pyrrha puellas,
quidquid agunt homines, uotum, timor, ira, uoluptas,
gaudia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli est.


the steps to the attic cellar
of age are spinning coins

might I fly


but empty

cohesion rises
when blood has not
solitude becomes idea

severing constellation ties to each iris


plastic lizards amazing bouncing balls
protect me from gasoline and body hair
return the late day glow
of the nursery the eating
of a moth dirt and roaring
I will build a home from my sleep


old man in a charcoal suit and a yellow tie
wrinkled like similes wrinkle a thought


I want to go blind for words
cataloged neatly in cabinets scattered
about tables under glass pinned labeled
destroyed indistinguishable brazilian reds
every word a tree black eden
in bloom under halogen bulbs let me go blind
for you my eyes turn to milk for you
let only the words of god sift through


the half man shuffled in
the mommies and aunties could only shout
as daddies and uncles rose to turn him out

they must have forgotten the season
“It is winter,” I said
and they replied eerily in unison: “Amen.”


my friend bends to the water’s surface
she calls this surface stars
she gives a cup to me
and cannot keep it filled


whisper to me your name
I have forgotten
its difference from heaven’s
“there is no difference
we are separate halves of one kiss”


this silence I once feared like madness
like falling from great heights like drowning
flailing as my lungs filled with water
I used to talk all day
tonight I whisper your name
into your soft admonishment
with only silence to speak
I kiss you until the dawn


you stretch across the night sky
in disguise but I know you
I pretend not to
I touch the stars beneath your skin
and gaze at your soul changing color


your legs tremble
and my soul ceases to recognize itself
you speak and my soul becomes your words
you breathe and my soul is inside of you
telling you my secrets and beckoning me to follow


the universe teased with my teeth
shuddering tightening escaping gasping
immense and infinite under my lips
her firmament with its heavy scent
floating like fog her stars pale silver
beneath her skin the places she is pink
heat my only air the pulsing the continuous
bursts of light the collapsing exhaustion the slow quiet
breathing the charting of limbs onto maps of the sky


yes the ax is sharp
you have seen others
their life seeping into the stone

but look at her hair curled around her collar

that image will remain
as your blood balls the dust


search for a balance they say do not indulge
the only balance is falling everything
weightless while I fall and fall and fall
tumbling around the syllables of your name


until you rose and left me
I was eternal immense and drowned


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