Electra Swimming Back
In the age of the electric-powered Japanese moon,
the morning crowds file in subway trains
in straight lines
in two directions.
The garden divides in five parts,
each wringing white
toward the fifth season.
She would have been the one who designed the road,
the way it actually narrows as it distances,
the way it thumbs downhill slightly,
easing the walking-on.
You’ll think twice to go back, Mister.
Uphill after all this.
I don’t know when exactly it was
that I began to walk ahead of myself
—seventeen perhaps, . . . twenty-one,
walking until I saw a girl with loose hair like mine
her coat blending with the going-coat of the crowd
—just the hat moving—
just the hat joining the slouch-hipped men at the gate,
spinning their keys and smoking
against the widening slack of October sky.
Blackbirds struck and stuck to the sun,
peeling down like flies.
Still rackets shaking in their shoes.
The stitch and hum of that honey bee.
I live on this kind of air.
Summer’s coming with its engine of rains.
A girl sips and stirs from the fish scales in her tea.
O Night shake down a leaf.
Uncurl a word from your tongue.
Doesn’t the legend say that a woman is best left to her own
Like this, I heard it taking shape once, . . .
Night query. Song of slipper shoes,
Carrying your lung of light.
March 6, 1998
Dear Lady Blackbird,
Looking again for an honest woman, I have found that there are
only honest girls we fancied once, in dreams. Each slumbered
bedpost to rail until the Dreamer reached her hand toward the
door. She paused for a moment, taking her pulse on the doorknob.
My Dear, between breath and reason, no one thinks clearly. One
wakes and here we find ourselves: Horizontal. Slimmed breast to
toe. Orion’s Northern Stars spinning overhead.
Once upon a time, desire was a man showering
in a perfect cone of hot rain.
His hand curled and the dark curled.
The streaming Angels lisped
making it hard to hear the water birds creak
Where to, Where to . . .
And the need to take someone along.
All those baskets packed with sandwiches and shoes.
Could you be more yourself than in this?
Could you explain more yourself than in this?
And the moon in her loose sockets says, . . . go . . .
And the stars in their narrow lots say, . . . go . . .
And I go, though I cannot say where.
Walk amidst these people.
Walk amidst the women who stare beyond themselves,
beyond concentration at the back door.
Walk with the man who has stopped mid-sidewalk,
cleaning his shoes.
With the boy who drags a lazy music in his walk.
The citrus lipstick girl puckering up air.
Let the others be.
Your ghosts are always starving:
speaking on air.
But they walk . . ., I said, they walk . . . sometimes
. . . without
the heavy shoes.
trees crackling in bird verse,—
branches netting in a third of sky
merging the blue nerves at the roots.
We believe when something becomes us.
I light a candle. Angel’s tongue
and later pinch it out.
Once again, the story starts like this:
—The old moon is carrying the new moon in his arms.
go . . .
go . . .
go . . .
The motion (notion) of ghosts.
Absurd to wonder.
Or not to.