Poem with a Line from an Asterisk on page 15 of Marguerite Yourcenar’s Dark Brain of Piranesi

We hang this morning over a twine line
   like laundry between
the seesaw and the pendulum.
   Smoke a few words
to feel the vowel catching its breath near the fricative.
   Sure, no one is braver than I
with the lights extinguished.
   Hell, no one is brighter than you in that putrid blue
sun visor. House plants bear witness
to murder and hold it in hues, wordless.
   Ellul me, etcetera. Revelation
crosses the heart by revealing. Oblivation makes art
   from concealing. Some things we feel
aren’t worth speaking. I lick the dirt of
   our latest cenotaph
from the midnight I adore on your
   fingers. * Manus ad ferrum, baby.
Leaf blowers win all their wars.
   The roof is chipping.
The kids are ancient enough to inventory
   the ways we botched them.
This porch is your god’s slick philippic
   against our existing. I guess
a star is a crypt for the script
with the sword in its hand.

The Year I Intended to Crusoe Myself

      I wanted to be the girl
who takes off her clothes under a comet
for Elias Canetti. To be only for him
and the lonely. To bring a little Electra
to the family reunion. To feel that smooth
silver coin with the dictator’s grin on it.

      Another unstrung violin among
the charlatans. But music is the ink between
homage and damage. Its presence prevents me
from unhearing your despair in Rachmaninoff.
Say the thing about counterpoint

      is how it keeps pressing
its pinkie against the collateral to gain an
again-ness. And yes, I wanted to be used
furniture, the diabolic blue teacup,
the evening’s first comma and the
night’s final fugue. In the event
of the catastrophic unmentionable,
I wanted to be your formative unreality.

Why the Revolution Sits Beside a Willow and Braids Its Own Hair

(for M. D.)

The man of the house turns off the war just before a bomb lands on a

She blames the sky for pouring molten gold over the ratshit sofa.

Silence yawns, stretches, lengthens its legs like a meow stranded on
              summer’s sidewalk.

Silence presses its stainless fingers against her forehead.

Daylight is the color of slapstick and bent saplings, the scent of a notional
              sketch inventing its genre.
Everyone seeks a proper form in which to continue.

Dear notebook, please hold my head to this bed.

The men’s words wore crosses, flags, and symbolic objects that screamed
              the thing beneath the things very loudly.

She wrote five syllables on the reverse of an envelope addressed to her
              birthland: will fuck for lightning!

Everyone goes home to die, said the man carrying mail between houses.

Everyone wants to be buried and read in the undead
              verbs of their first language.

After Performing a Beckett Skit with My Partner

I was a mess
who once had a little harp,
a tool for self-mortification.
I played it to fill in the gape
where self-esteem wouldn’t sit.
But there are things you can’t fix
when carrying the kitsch
trophy, which is what the wise
thunderstorm called our
pre-existing condition.

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