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Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18, No. 4

Allegro ma non tanto


When I cry, my tears let you know who I am. What I want
from you is a dry space to soak up grief. Some of it is mine.
Some of it is the world's. The silence lets me know you're
there, in what is allowed, in what I carry into my different
rooms. I've sized each room for my mood. And the room
where I sit, now, alone, in front of a monitor is the only one
I know. It is my safe room. My words are safe. And when
I'm done here, the room where I will go to sleep is my heart
room. It's tiny. I have to let go of so much to get through
the door. But when I'm inside, I blow myself up like a fish,
to squeeze against plaster, and squeeze so tightly that the walls
begin to crack, exposing studs underneath that hold up slices
of dark sky.


I feel delicious and wicked, as though the words I intend are not
the ones you hear but are the words that would fill the world
if the world had been another world.


I'm not sleeping now. What I am doing is thinking
my body to your bed, your sheets, my heat against
yours, and, without your even knowing, I listen
an hour to your breathing, stealing each caesura,
lines I've always known. I listen to fill your space
with my own breathing, couplet against couplet,
companion pieces in a narrative, a ms lost in the deep
shadows of both our skulls.


—Z. is making sense. The words she overhears she writes down
in a small notebook she carries with her, always. She listens.
She writes. Listens. Everything fits. Someone comes up to her
on the street. And Z. says, “true popular music?” or “genealogy
of morals?” or, and this one is my favorite, “it's stupid and yet?”
Every word a question.


After years of sleeping, I realize
the need for waking, for touching,
for the gift that doesn't need to be
held, for the holding that always
wants more than can possibly be
expected. After years of this,
I should know the story by heart,
now. After years of reading
between your whispers and
my having to speak.


a poet inside a hamster's wheel, finding the end


What I most believe in is an order. A tree falls
in the Amazon basin and fists of smoke drift
over a slender roof, disappear into the vast
Tibetan cold. You eat Indian take-out.
I read French in translation,
a text on philosophy,
a book of dreams.
“what's buried is about to explode”

Scherzo: Andante scherzoso quasi allegretto

Sonnet with a Missing Line
—After a photograph of globe lilies

The albus rubellum hide their secrets,
have little in common with the table
where I write these words, half a world away,
in the deep hours. They were a surprise,
fragile questions of rain, the will and can't
of living. I'm sure the photographer
couldn't have guessed my struggles with language
or your need for words, but here's the picture.
It carries truth on a determined back.
The petals loom, like talismans, their bold,
certain heads over our economies
that beg us to “deny, deny, deny”
the slow improbabilities of change.

Menuetto: Allegretto; Trio

What I Should Have Written

Some losses are final, but discovery,
like Keats' lovers, is the terrible tease.
Some things we lose in out of way places
or find where we have no expectations.

Everything we know, everything that is real,
waits in the next room or in cyberspace
which is nowhere and is everywhere,
and that waiting is sweet, bitter, exact.

Sometimes we can't tell the difference
between the here and the need. A poverty
of words is the lost connection, so I breathe,
your lungs contract. You inhale, I whisper.

Allegro; Prestissimo

Desire Is the Final Word

The insides of volcanoes are addictive,
their hot, liquid stone, smoothing all
your words so that when you speak
a story slips its leg into lovemaking,
your own legs a clamp holding me
to truth, my body, a field at the mercy
of storm, shaking under yours.
What I groan could be a poem
if you would sweat it onto paper,
so that years from now, we both
could climb sheer walls of stanza
to the first line and stare into the maw
of this moment, this late, beautiful hour
that belongs to what we most desire.

speaker.gif: Desire Is the Final Word.mp3





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