V E T C H

 

 

There should be food.

 

46.If a man has food

††††††††††† a dream eats it

 

it was before we learned to say

this is bad

 

unfortunate means

there is no luck in it

 

luck is what youíre born with

as 47 says

††††††††††† a trick on the road

††††††††††† spills a spinster

††††††††††† into her traveler

this equals sunrise plus a [large kind of cabbage grown in swamps]

 

so much for fortune.Luck

(born together, white feather

from a hawk, then a stepping stone

maiden tumbled in the stream

lad fallen in the mire)

luck is half of 18 but twice 9

 

because we always must remember to divide by time

 

and mince your sleep

the radical hash

oozes typical cream

 

It is a new moon in the sky

or none or ribald caravaners

sit around drinking laurel tea

sweetened with persimmon memories

 

(we never know why we do what we do)

 

but here are the jokes they tell:

1. Backside of the Moon

2. The Fatherís Water

3. The King of the Cats

 

or Cates, this is skin theyíre talking, this is soft

as the broad of the back in summer, this is sweat

 

after this they fall asleep, each dreams

a far away hillside covered with vetch

 

Vetch is a small pink or mauve or lavender

flower with tenacious roots

planted to stabilize soil and this maintain

sloping highway margins, railway sidings, Vetch,

 

the thing that holds the earth that holds you.

I see it beside us as you drive

though you have a cold

the coffee must be ready now

[53] prepared from a berry red

then pale green then roasted

almost black: the colors

of Aphrica the Blest

[53b] we drink what we are

the prophet said

 

Everything we drink is motherís milk

 

how could it be otherwise

this is Kansas [87] by the cottonwoods

Drancy where they wait to die

no place is no place

it all gives milk

 

Does one feel a slight breeze at this hour

or is it sacred, or is it left to one

 

to do it all?Breathing,

it means

 

Go get the coffee, itís the same as a telephone

 

Eating is the oldest technology

Everybody does it [67]

Before that we just lay there waiting to die

 

which is what we thought the wind was called.

 

History of the World.

 

Explore the habit patterns of the rich

whim grows into wish, wish

is perceived as need, outgrows contentment.

Teach need. Sensed need runs the market.

No one must be left unwanting.

Arrogance and itch.The rest is leather.

 

I miss you so

when the leaves grow alternate

the berries ripen

so far from my lips

 

That door leads to another thing.

If you go through it

nothing bad.

Only you are not here any more.

 

But what was the wind called, Daddy?

We called it nothing

it was one more weather

 

an apple gate

an esplanade

 

an archaic system of exchange.

 

If it werenít for the solids in the world

what would shield us from the look of the sun?

The empty gaze that makes us tremble,

our eyes the feeble answers to that scrutiny.

The house helps us.In its shade

at dawn a structure cherishes the western dew

 

are you a movie

that you can talk that way

language swaying your hips

 

and in between each picture nothing waits

 

[24] roadmaster

coup de grace

the first car (Kipling)

changed the whole world forever

 

distance sickened

and came close to die

 

even if a carís not red it goes too fast

 

four crows on a bare branch system

solar timetable

the elves in twelves unmake the clock

 

angels?I donít even believe in the girl

across the street.Sara?I was speaking

metaphorically (how dare you?)

but Sara will do ---- 24?

Not yet.Behind the blue

her eyes are the color of slate

 

she hides in a spring fed pond her husband dug

when revenuers cringe up the road

sniffing for the telltale

marmalade smell of morning

under the limestone cliffs

 

how dare they

disguised as numbers

travel up our little roads and nerves and veins

 

trying to carry everything back to the father?

 

And you arose then

in your fresh skin

hovering on the meniscus of my mind

not touching

 

[66] before pronouns were invented

and we were all just anybody else.

 

But you have been before

in many guises

and it was always the skin that told me

who you really were

cool in summer warm in lilac

where the missing me is buried

 

safe in your meaning

like a cat answering the telephone

 

you know your house is still standing

you know the air still moves

shadows of levanting crows brush through locust trees

 

and all of this is yours (mine)

doyou understand

we met to part and part to meet?

I donít know what it means but I know that itís true

 

across the street from the cathedral

drinking espresso and watching you

finish the Sachertorte on your little plate

eyes delicate with greed (yours) (mine)

I dieted because two beings need

to negotiate a single, simple, space

 

[11] and everyone is homosexual

didnít you know that?

 

all evidence is contrary

we are alone inside on either side of sleep

 

hence the World Trade towers had to be trashed

by self-consoling heteros

 

they thought they were but they were queer as we

they hated how we advertised against the sky

 

[11] our structural identity,our separateness

two tall bodies side by side, not touching Ė

 

but I digress.The unity is [23].

Sara hasnít reached it yet

and Sarah never will.

 

Seven million years this skull from Tchad.

Avatars of Africa.

Number of life. [cheth yod heh]

And luck is born there

one number among many

 

as the woman teases half-forgivingly some sleaze

Iíve got your numberÖ

 

but who has mine?

Who knows the robert rapture white with terror

the wine-soaked counterpanes the barren

mountain full of rain and gulls

and believing everything the ocean says

waves hurl me on to you, you

 

weíre all just hawaiis scattered on the sea.

 

What else can the poor sleaze say?

††††††††††† Why did you come into the world if you didnít want me,

††††††††††† into the bar if you were not looking, looking for me?

we live pronouncing every day

the simple script love wrote for us

way back when we were simple

when we were good

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† and we remember

because it wakes inside us when you come in,

 

because it canít tell you from you.

 

If you wait just ten minutes more

the bees will get tired of the sun

 

come home with me and taste

the sacred dew I gathered from your roses

 

before they grew

before you were you

 

gathering with more than my usual patience

and unwonted delicacy each lucid drop

 

I wheedled into this crystal little flask

proposed to you now

 

break your fast in me

for I have need of your receiving

 

[number lost] kabbalah,

listening to your husband talk in this sleep

 

or he cried out with a great sound

as if one crushed him with a stone

but it was only the sun, rising.

 

Because you own everything

the light and the window it calls through

the apple gates and humble bees

and passing SUVs

you own the plumbing underneath the thought

pale checkmarks on the teacherís roll

the glue that holds the book together

 

and you arenít even there [22]

sad multiples of what I mean

 

one cylinder shy of the adequate machine

 

so this flower is planted

against erosion

I think they think the color doesnít count

as long as the dirt stays on the slope

 

things do their work

and we look at the colors

left behind to sway our eyes

by nobody, the king of trees

 

only one more faggot for the fire

 

(unimaginably) big number

your hands canít hold all the zeroes,

roses, gnoses,

terebinths of Uncle Mose

my Egyptian

father in law asleep beneath his cherry trees

 

random numbers of flowers growing here and there

and every number of them organizes

an unmeant history that the flowers tell

 

because we listen ---- what else can we do

in a silent world?

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† A car door slams

a bird flies away Ė

do you believe me at last?

 

In this dark dance

there is a thread of touch

follow to the quiet

wall that holds us all,

the forgiven and the living

 

hushed in the arrogance of air.

You spinsters, get up and follow me.

you bachelors, close your books

and wind your letters round a bobbin

tight until the alphabet falls out

 

nothing is dependable

except keep moving

 

I donít say a word and you hear me perfectly well.

 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 13 July 2002