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Only Skin

PostPosted: 17 May 2010, 13:31
by milky moon
    and there was a booming above you
    that night, black airplanes flew over the sea
    and they were lowing and shifting like
    beached whales
    shelled snails
    as you strained and you squinted to see
    the retreat of their hairless and blind cavalry

    you froze in your sand shoal
    prayed for your poor soul
    sky was a bread roll, soaking in a milk-bowl
    and when the bread broke, fell in bricks of wet smoke
    my sleeping heart woke, and my waking heart spoke

    then there was a silence you took to mean something:
    mean, run, sing
    for alive you will evermore be
    and the plague of the greasy black engines a-skulkin'
    has gone east
    while you're left to explain them to me
    released from their hairless and blind cavalry

    with your hands in your pockets, stubbily running
    to where I'm unfresh, undressed and yawning
    well, what is this craziness? this crazy talking?
    you caught some small death when you were sleepwalking

    it was a dark dream, darlin', it's over
    the firebreather is beneath the clover
    beneath his breathing there is cold clay, forever
    a toothless hound-dog choking on a feather

    but I took my fishingpole (fearing your fever)
    down to the swimminghole, where there grows bitter herb
    that blooms but one day a year by the riverside - I'd bring it here:
    apply it gently
    to the love you've lent me

    while the river was twisting and braiding, the bait bobbed
    and the string sobbed, as it cut through the hustling breeze
    and I watched how the water was kneading so neatly
    gone treacly
    nearly slowed to a stop in this heat
    - frenzy coiling flush along the muscles beneath

    press on me: we are restless things
    webs of seaweed are swaddling
    you call upon the dusk
    of the musk of a squid
    shot full of ink, until you sink into your crib

    rowing along, among the reeds, among the rushes
    I heard your song, before my heart had time to hush it!
    smell of a stone fruit being cut and being opened
    smell of a low and of a lazy cinder smoking

    and when the fire moves away
    fire moves away, son
    why would you say
    I was the last one?

    scrape your knee; it is only skin
    makes the sound of violins
    when you cut my hair, and leave the birds the trimmings
    I am the happiest woman among all women

    and the shallow
    stretches as far as I can see
    knee-deep, trudging along
    a seagull weeps; "so long"

    I'm humming a threshing song
    until the night is over
    hold on!
    hold on!
    hold your horses back from the fickle dawn

    I have got some business out at the edge of town
    candy weighing both of my pockets down
    'til I can hardly stay afloat, from the weight of them
    (and knowing how the common-folk condemn
    what it is I do, to you, to keep you warm
    being a woman, being a woman)

    but always up the mountainside you're clambering
    groping blindly, hungry for anything:
    picking through your pocket linings - well, what is this?
    scrap of sassafras, eh Sisyphus?

    I see the blossoms broke and wet after the rain
    little sister, he will be back again
    I have washed a thousand spiders down the drain
    spiders ghosts hang soaked and dangelin'
    silently from all the blooming cherry trees
    in tiny nooses, safe from everyone
    - nothing but a nuisance; gone now, dead and done
    be a woman, be a woman!

    though we felt the spray of the waves
    we decided to stay till the tide rose too far
    we weren't afraid, cause we know what you are
    and you know that we know what you are

    awful atoll
    - o, incalculable indiscreetness and sorrow!
    bawl, bellow:
    Sibyl sea-cow, all done up in a bow

    toddle and roll;
    teeth an impalpable bit of leather
    while yarrow, heather and hollyhock
    awkwardly molt along the shore

    are you mine?
    my heart?
    mine anymore?

    stay with me for awhile
    that's an awfully real gun
    I know life will lay you down
    as the lightning has lately done

    failing this, failing this,
    follow me, my sweetest friend
    to see what you anointed in pointing your gun there

    lay it down! nice and slow!
    there is nowhere to go, save up
    up where the light, undiluted, is weaving in a drunk dream
    at the sight of my baby, out back:
    back on the patio watching the bats bring night in
    - while, elsewhere, estuaries of wax-white
    wend, endlessly, towards seashores unmapped

    last week our picture window produced a half-word
    heavy and hollow, hit by a brown bird
    we stood and watched her gape like a rattlesnake
    and pant and labour over every intake

    I said a sort of prayer for some sort of rare grace
    then thought I ought to take her to a higher place
    said: "dog nor vulture nor cat shall toy with you
    and though you die, bird, you will have a fine view"

    then in my hot hand
    she slumped her sick weight
    we tramped through the poison oak
    heartbroke and inchoate

    the dogs were snapping
    so you cuffed their collars
    while I climbed the tree-house
    then how I hollered!
    cause she'd lain, as still as a stone, in my palm, for a lifetime or two

    then, saw the treetops, cocked her head and up and flew
    (while, back in the world that moves, often
    according to the hoarding of these clues
    dogs still run roughly around
    little tufts of finch-down)

    the cities we passed were a flickering wasteland
    but his hand in my hand made them hale and harmless
    while down in the lowlands the crops are all coming;
    we have everything
    life is thundering blissful towards death
    in a stampede of his fumbling green gentleness

    you stopped by, I was all alive
    in my doorway, we shucked and jived
    and when you wept, I was gone:
    see, I got gone when I got wise
    but I can't with certainty say we survived

    then down, and down
    and down, and down
    and down, and deeper
    stoke without sound
    the blameless flames
    you endless sleeper

    through fire below, and fire above, and fire within
    sleeped through the things that couldn't have been if you hadn't have been

    and when the fire moves away
    fire moves away, son
    why would you say
    I was the last one?

    all my bones they are gone, gone, gone
    take my bones, I don't need none
    cold, cold cupboard, Lord, nothing to chew on!
    suck all day on a cherry stone

    dig a little hole, not three inches round
    spit your pit in the hole in the ground
    weep upon the spot for the starving of me!
    till up grow a fine young cherry tree

    well when the bough breaks, what'll you make for me?
    a little willow cabin to rest on your knee
    what'll I do with a trinket such as this?
    think of your woman, who's gone to the west

    but I'm starving and freezing in my measly old bed!
    then I'll crawl across the salt flats to stroke your sweet head
    come across the desert with no shoes on!
    I love you truly, or I love no-one




    fire moves away, son
    why would you say
    I was the last one?

    clear the room! there's a fire, a fire, a fire
    get going, and I'm going to be right behind you
    and if the love of a woman or two, dear,
    couldn't move you to such heights, then all I can do
    is do, my darling, right by you