Monday, May 30, 2011

Alone I fell twisted

Alone I fell twisted in a tumble
of army blankets from your bed,
fellating the dark green bottle
of your name in my head.
You walked in from Matins
to see me drunk on my own bower,
spiraled in the white jasmine
still-starlit sheets,
tonguing the thought of you
and twining the rose
wet conch of my lips
around my hot fingers.

You stared at me as though
I were a stranger
dropped from the sky.
We once were brothers,
soldiers together,
and here I had crossed the line,
betraying our friendship
with the purple outlay of my sex.

You left.

I got up, hoping to glimpse
the pageant of your life
I had never known:
So many players parading.
I sat at the foot of the stairs,
a child thrilled and clapping
at the endless twisting surprises,
Jacks and Jills kept popping.

But no one had a name.
I asked a man who looked
at me askance.
No one was so foolish here
as to give that sort of thing away—
your given name, your private,
sacred self.

Your wife appeared in a fanfare
of gasps, brocaded in barnacles
and circuitry.  Her auburn hair pulled
to an elaborate knotted chignon,
speared with scrimshaw
curved in loving homage
to the soft yellowing
nape of her neck.
Her palazzo pants
swept along,
satiny waves,
an inky caress
of us all.

I vowed to honor
your pledge to her
and bowed low
to see you lying laughing,
soft-spun in cashmere,
sparkling aquamarine,
starfish woven across your chest,
dredged in fine gray salt—
a silica confection
I longed to taste.

Silently I kissed your breast,
stinging my lips
with your impossibly
beautiful sand.


  1. Wowzer. Can something be so voluptuous and vicious at the same time? The speaker is so gorgeously plurasexed that the "brother in arms" flees in what I take to be utter confusion.Leaving behind a florid wasteland of devastation. The wildness here is rapt and mad. - Brendan

  2. I wanted to dedicate this to you, but, uh, . . .
    maybe that would have been too weird.
    I felt like such a shit after I left my crap comment on your Playalinda piece. This piece was spawned from that--well, maybe just the original visuals.
    Thanks for reading.

  3. The imagery here is breathtaking bold, beautiful.

    "twining the rose
    wet conch of my lips
    around my hot fingers"

    Brendan has it right, wowzer!

    PS: Palazzo pants, the details here, perfect.

  4. The writing here and in "The Strong Clasp" is startling and fantastic. I hate the pain you have been feeling, but this writing is phenomenal. Power on. There are too many wonders to list them, but know that I appreciate these two poems very much and will turn to them for study and teaching.

  5. "Eros is a mighty daemon," Diotima tole Socrates in "Symposium." The seeress of Mantinea saw more than chaste Socrates (in Plato's hand) could accept. You were the only one who responded directly to the original image with that post in something other than a giggle. The sear of nakedness on a hot day at the beach seemed archetypal to me--sexual but in some old-school religious way -- but I guessed that overexposure to that image, that perfection, had darkened our cultural opinions and devotions. Age changes plenty, too. But I think you divined the source--and thirst-- of it: And came around to this, which I don't fully understand but still dig the deep blue vibe of it. - Brendan

  6. jane. each time i'm left standing like a dope on your carpet with my hands out like i've lost my keys. see me?

    gender winds like a scarf on a neck
    lost in a crowd
    i love this

    the story is perfection, the telling - beyond.

    (i'm usually one post behind in reading because it takes me this long with your writing. i have to sit with it.)


  7. Terresa.
    Thanks for noticing the palazzo pants.
    I've been hoarding that image for awhile and hadn't meant for it to go in this piece, but it fit so well . . . .
    Does anyone else hoard imagery and squirrel circle little thoughts about a possible poem for days, months, years and then suddenly squander it (lines/words/images) on something new that pops up?

  8. Ruth.
    Thank you. Yes, it is/was startling to me as well--poems that tumbled out and I was astonished at what I'd drawn.
    The Strong Clasp came, well, the title anyway, from a Rilke poem, Perlen Entrollen. I had become fascinated with the phrase: starke Schließe, die sie verhielte, Geliebte.
    (roughly translated to "strong clasp, which would hold it back, Beloved.")
    It was surprising to me to see the drama unfold with me as the adulterer, already tagging myself as guilty in the first stanza.

  9. Brendan.
    I thought that this was rather transparent. I guess I should know better.
    I was jacked up from writing "The Strong Clasp" and a couple of glasses of Carmenère wine and feeling giddy. I felt that I wanted to gift you with a poem. I fell asleep and dreamed this up. I see it as a dramatization (broadly embellished) of the MySpace experience--Alice in MySpace?

    Your friendship there meant so much to me. Of course, you didn't leave because I exposed my plurasexed ways to you, but it seemed like a fine line. I valued you as a colleague, but we talked and wrote about sex. Sex & Gender roles is an area of confusion and wounding for me and I needed to work that out, among other issues . . . .

    And here we all are in this space, telling our stories and wanting others to acknowledge us and hear their stories and wondering, wondering.

    I certainly didn't mean this to be vicious, but I was uneasy of how it would be read.

    MySpace seemed like Drama Central, a big parade of it, at least it was for me.
    But it was also a huge opportunity to open up, and I did, and I wrote as I never had before.

    The wife stuff is something I remember feeling from your writing.
    Every now and then something about your wife would crop up and I remember it being a gasping, heart-breaking feeling for me. It seemed to shine so true, beyond all your blue dream merladies, and I felt a pang of envy, that that kind of love I had never felt from someone else in my own life--

    Does that make sense?

  10. Erin,
    I am so very grateful for being able to share with you. Reading your blog gives me the courage and inspiration to write more freely, and, I hope, more deeply.
    Thank You.