Posts Tagged ‘fire’

Utopia on Fire

Home is the brick facade
of the hearth
decorated with ornamental
flags recently made
to look old.
Unlit, it looked like trash
with father’s hind quarters
raised in the air
and his face against the ground.
This is no place for a girl on fire.

And do you find a place?
When this is your home.
With mother quietly attending
to the house clutter.
The girth of the attic threatens
a cave-in constantly.
She persist to accumulate
the weight of her burdens
like Atlas
while Prometheus brings
life to the trash.
This is no place for a girl on fire.

Dust has never accumulated
enough to trace a path
of your own in the cherry wood
desk in father’s office
nothing but naked organization
too clean to be made dirty
yet the mind will mark it
with burnt curves and edges.
How mother would agonize
trying to hide that in the attic.
This is no place for a girl on fire.

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The struggle
is in the area between
(here she thought of
Caravaggio fondly)
the shadow and the backdrop.
Where the wine
but translucence
descends into the glass.

(she had endlessly
is best
when you don’t realize
it is beings used.
(They would kill us
if we told them)

But still the wine ends,
its dark shadow depths
now inside us.
Our heads are a light fire
and lips are loose.
(Things hidden
become visible)
Our hands meet
over the remaining grapes.

(Separated if not
distilled by age)

Here we had been
looking for love and seeing
friendship. But emerging
from darkness
were friends looking for love.
Distance is hidden for a second
(performing words not meant to be spoken).

She pushes her hair away from her ear
(and plays with her wedding ring.)

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In the Spring

The sun is a harsh
binary between the overhanging
shadows caused by
trees exalting.
She is the center of the day
and the language of night.
O, firmament!
O, leafy hands of Atlas!
Why do you crack under
the weight?

The wind is hubris
spring from the air.
From where does it fly –
down Irish cliffs
and across the blue ocean.
O, breath of life!
O, wings of Icarus!
Why do you melt
against the skin of lovers?

The earth is fecund.
Apples left to rot are
feeding the children.
We have gained gravity
from sauces and pies
joviality from cider and
Jersey Lightning.
O, mountain of laws!
O, the perch of Zues!
Why can’t we understand
what is above us?

This is the heat
she said.
One must sweat.
We worked;
and worked
ourselves to the bone.
Over like the sky
Under like the dirt
we rolled.
O, sweet Penelope!
O, the towers we build to God!
Why are we here rather
than there?

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We were cold…

so we built a fire.
Big enough to warm
God’s feet.

Or Consumed.
Either way it fed
on what we had
to offer.

In the offering
more was given
than appeared.
Pallets. Paint cans.
Two by fours.

More was gained
from their being lost
than what remained;
Charred pavement. Scrap metal.
They gathered at the tip
of a magnet.

We built a fire
big and round.
A swallower of worlds.
The gift of a titan –
our shadows thrown
against the garage.
Exploding paint cans
were cannons announcing our

We had returned to the native
tongue of creation. The language
that once bound us all
in the shadows of our own devices.
We beat our chest.
We danced. Our primordial Bacchic
hooting frightening the trees.

The stars we made envious
eventually disappeared in the rising sun.
We cleaned the next morning.
Not a soul knowing.

I drove to work smelling of smoke.

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16% Oxygen

She wears the scarf she made,
waits tapping her toes
in tune with music,
outside the bar she works at.
A city fire is the setting sun
feeding on cold night air.
Breathing is visible
in her chest
and exiting from her lips.

Fingertips twist a helix
into her hair
filaments of a light bulb
black as carbon.
The whites of her eyes
alternate quickly
blue, red, white
in rhythm to the arriving emergency

The soundtrack of the bar
is Paul Simon
a smile crosses her face,
ten minute breaks are
never so breath taking.
Snow banks store memories
of the winter.
Salt rimmed jeans of strangers
passing by remind her of head
on imported beers and wax collecting
around the edges of a candle.
They await her.
She exhales and enters before goose bumps
form on her skin.

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The tongue is a pillar of salt
it turned back against command
to see its kin burn.
Before it died it saw the sky kiln
churn and devour.
Before it died it heard the screams
and smelled the sulfur
of a dying race.

It didn’t say anything though.
How could it, when all of a sudden
it knew why it shouldn’t turn back.
It felt the bloodline pass
in the fire of justice
and new that it should’ve been there
with its neighbors, with its friends.

Love is a strange thing like that.
It moves through history-
like history – making endless connections.
The heart beats, the blood flows,
the tongue speaks because it loves.
Yet here at the edge of a turning world
our tongues turn back
and they are salt.

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Her Eyes
There is a green pasture in Italy
littered with Vestal columns
-broken and profane
they point back to a community
that no longer remains.

That greenness surrounds obsidian
with its verdant Sylvan bloom
with more authority than kings or even Gods.
The center of this garden recalls a deeper doom:
A rock from which flight is impossible
The child of Tarpeia’s womb.

And when she blinks poetry is silenced.

Her Skin
There is Dresden porcelain in her skin
forged from Augustus’ private stock
of the cleanest white and softest soft.
Her heart beats shyly within –
I trace the master sculpture with an eye
if not a hand. A brief passing by
to sooth the conquering demand.

When we touch, she averts her eyes.

Her Lips
She never blows bubbles but
She chews cinnamon gum
So her words come fromVolcanal.
It is a brief reminder that she is ancient
and naked somewhere under there.
Sometimes she sings to the delight of the world
and her heart pours from her mouth
with the molten golden words.

She doesn’t smoke because it gives you wrinkles.

Her Hands
Her hands have the curious habit
of touching everything –
They are constant vigilant explorers
searching for any light
to break the thick dense fog
of unimaginative reality
that clouds her sight.
They are so cold even in summer
that I can only imagine they search
for some towering lighthouse
to steal some warmth.
Ten tiny promethean digits
that can tickle ivory or children.

She plays with her gold ring when she’s nervous.

And could you imagine that
Heraclitean furnace at her core.
The way she worries that it
burns out of control.
She is anxious often but never sad
like energy itself
and to look at her you would never
understand how she couldn’t adore
the way she laughs uncontrollably,
sighs absent-mindedly or
snores only when she sleeps alone
and presses her pillow so tightly to her face.

She prefers the company of humans.

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