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Night Rain

                …presently after they shall be honored and exalted,
                shall come to nothing and vanish like smoke.

Our kingdoms shall not last. The rain says that
In every word that drips from eaves tonight—
Soliloquies in sluices, gutters spit
Their gargle out on the driveway’s concrete
Like morning coffee pouring cold and hard
Into tomorrow’s undreamt cups. The words

Of rain are not to be trusted. Tonight
The roof sizzles with them—like meat on a spit.
We listen late between thunder’s concrete
Exemptions and windy inclusions that
Prescribe our mortared brick. End-stopping hard
And final as a trumpet-blast of words,

Each kingdom states the risk. What more concrete,
More sound and safe a thing to say than that?
But liquid eloquence is drowning night
And counting syllables with all the spit
And polish of modern minds that, pressed hard,
Mushroom haloed plumes, like songs without words….

What kingdom ever lasts? For those who spit
Upon their mothers’ graves have made concrete
The mystery that reigns in darkness—that
Which irrigates our time: The rain tonight
Succumbs to its own rules—its laws are hard
And fast as tongues evaporate their words.

Envoi
So rain takes note of rust, and toads (discrete
As thoughtful lovers) crowd the waterspout—
The weather front decays to scraps of snarled
And scudding cloud—the kingdoms of this world.

Seahorse

seahorse

                                                               I think you can do a thing like that best
                                                                              from a detached position. – Nelson Algren

I catch a glimpse of you: your nightshades are galaxies that burn
The core brown light of an urban dawn. Receding with the sea,

The city streets replay their chord progressions with tenacity:
The story of a sea, of a city by the sea. Within my skin, beneath

My flesh, a hundred horses gallop fast as steam trains out of breath,
A thousand offspring drifting around in me. The darkest enemy

Of light, the city traffic moving past with gentle tendrils — anemone
With venom blue as the bluest sea, and flowing all over me. The sky

Has veins of marbled blue. My veins do too. I am a seahorse and I try
To cling to coral, caught in tiny monster currents. The fathoms bloom

With pain and flower nightmare petals. The breaching symbols loom
And yet the waves outlaw the moon reflected in a spoon, and you

Were there too, upside down as the moon was and needle-blue,
A marlin hooked and running deep. I lost my view of you, your little blacks

And blues absorbed by a hundred suns, the manic bloody tracks
My eyeballs knew. I was ready for a drink and ready to drink

The sea, the moon, the glimpse I caught of you. I could not think.
And you slip away but first you cast a glance my way, a mermaid

Parade of glances, virulent with smiles, and your smallest smile said
I was there and you were there for me but time was there to drink

The blood away. The Milky Way rides it out on the back of a skunk;
A violet in the alleyway is singing poison, opening its petals to burn

The scaly mane of a sea that washes over me like we were never born.

Remember This Guy?

heydrich

He made his Korrektiv debut here.

And now Hollywood – or at least Czechslovkiawood – found him. 

So now we await the word of a famous film kritik, whom we all know and admire, on whether Korrektiv gets to kollekt any royalties from the movie…

 

 

Advent

dunes

The time of the first advent was foretold; the time of the second is not so; because the first was to be obscure, and the second is to be brilliant, and so manifest that even His enemies will recognise it. But, as He was first to come only in obscurity, and to be known only of those who searched the Scriptures….
           – Pascal, Pensees, 757

They say I wear the scriptures on my sleeve –
Not true. I stitch and sew and scratch my soul
With them – the way that desert winds believe

The shifting sands will move and, on the whole,
That scrub and pine eventually break down.
They break down alright – and count the roll

Of boulders, mountains, and whatever crown
That Empire wears… These, lost on me now, hail
The high song of the wastelands: days that moan

The coming of another. Flies recall
The rhythm, locusts eat the melody
And honey adds the counterpoint. It’s all

The food I pick from barren fields. I see
It building up from wilderness; it comes
To search the slough and sift of enmity…

Remembering my mother’s cry, my dreams
Of distant visits haunt my head. So I search
The dunes of Palestine, obscured by time’s

Redundant landscape – even storm clouds lurch
With fits and starts that always promise rain –
The heavens’ pact with earth: You shall not parch

The grasses growing green upon the plain,
And I in turn will turn the sky to blue.

What thunder cries, a wilderness of pain,

That’s the work of God. I only call you.

Love Among the Bins*

766px-Librarian_working_at_the_Pointe_Coupee_Parish_Parish_library_in_New_Roads_Louisiana_in_1936

Think, in this battered Caravanserai
Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,
     How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his destined Hour, and went his way.
         -Fitzgerald

It was only a minute between bins (searching
     For the will I am to be the will that is Shakespeare),
Amid the critically grey patches of C.P. Snow
     And/or the redundantly anthological: Ancient American
British Byzantine Greek Modern Oriental Women World . . .

I was singing down bargain barrows and stalls,
     Intoning e.e. cummings, refraining A.A. Milne,
Reading stormy pages from Lear to hear the fear
     Of the real in his nonsense and the queer nonsense
Of the real in fools, kings, verses, hearses, pussies and owls…

But as if out of those untitled leaves of time,
     You came to sift the bins with crisp feminine whispers
That feather-fingered in litany down my spine,
     Searching for Early This, Late That, or Posthumous The Other
And the forgotten period allusions of Last Name Only:

“He is the most important of the Fitzgeralds,
     After all,” you declaimed ambiguously to Children.
Then, after hovering like a muse in Religion,
     You genuflected briefly at Travel. “He may have written
Something about Algiers and Alexandria, at that time, as well.”

You can what you’re able to do, O Lex
     Legendi! In pencil skirt and penciled eyes,
You index finger put to crimson lips collects
     By their purse the pebbled pearls of Demosthenes,
While other letters scatter, inspirited by your catalog

Of silence. Thus, overdue, my love was indexed:
     Like the frank contents in an earnest table;
The sincerely erotic in the merely episodic;
     The Dick Diver in my translation, the Calypso in yours;
Never again to leave this lovely, enchanted, bookmarked aisle.

*I tried to post this on Rufus McCain’s Facebook Page in honor of his being put in charge of the prison library and license plate pressings. Naturally, I made a hash of it – so hopefully he’ll see this and post it himself on his page…

Arcimboldo_Librarian_Stokholm

Handless Charlie

Campfire_Pinecone

Out back of Pittsville, down by the lumber tracks
Trains have stopped coming since top-hats and beards
Swore to give us all the three wishes we wanted and

Even keep good on them. The chronic shanty towns
Live for less and less each day. Dying out and drying up
Have become the twin dogma for living between

The cracks. The hobo jungle fires lick up the face
Of night, hungry for a story. “I’ll tell you,” says
A black man, his face abloom with flame. “But afore I do,

You gotta go and pass that bottle thisser way.”
An amber genie squirms down through the bottleneck,
Pushing desperate against his mouth, wanting in.

The man sucks his teeth, grimaces, and holds deep fire.
“Ah, that’s a poison for you! Keeps the passions
Right in front of you so you gets to check ‘em square!

“So, yeah, I seen paradise at hand in a dimity brassiere.
All fancy edged in silk and lacey daisies swelling tight, see?
And all holding back some holy mountains of revelation!

“But she was foregone, see? Her dark forest of hair –
Her fine china skin, see? Some women like that are like
Tabernacles ain’t no black man ever goin’ to get to touch –

“Let alone enter. But mercy! Those nipples! Whoo!
So hard at pressing me – so soft in that cotton finery.
She’s never telling, she say. A favor’s all, she say. Well…

“Won’t no favor no how, but like I says, hard and soft,
I thought they wanted some touching – wanted being free
Is all.” Again he grabs the bottle with nimble stumps.

“Nope, I’d say no nigger ever found paradise in cotton.”