Each morning I made my way
among gangways, elevators,
and nurses’ pods to Jane’ s room
to interrogate the grave helpers
who tended her through the night
while the ship’ s massive engines
kept its propellers turning.
Week after week, I sat by her bed
with black coffee and the Globe.
Each morning I made my way
I went for a walk over the dunes again this morning
to the sea,
then turned right along
rounded a naked headland
along the inlet shore:
it was muggy sunny, the wind from the sea steady and high,
crisp in the running sand,
some breakthroughs of sun
but after a bit
The week in August you come home,
adult, professional, aloof,
we roast and carve the fatted calf
— in our case home-grown pig, the chine
garlicked and crisped, the applesauce
hand-pressed. Hand-pressed the greengage wine.
Nothing is cost-effective here.
The peas, the beets, the lettuces
hand sown, are raised to stand apart.
The electric fence ticks like the slow heart
of something we fed and bedded for a year,
then killed with kindness’ s one bullet
and paid Jake Mott to do the butchering.
What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.
We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,
and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.
these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
the time i dropped your almost body down
down to meet the waters under the city
and run one with the sewage to the sea
what did i know about waters rushing back
what did i know about drowning
or being drowned
I have a twin who bears my name;
Bears it about with him in shame;
Who goes a way I would not go;
Has knowledge of things I would not know;
When I was brave he was afraid;
He told the truth, I lied;
What’ s sweet to me tastes bitter to him;
My friends, my friends, he doesn’ t love them;
I walk the daylight in his dream;
He breathes the air of my nightmare.
Archaic, his gestures
hieratic, just like Caesar or Sappho
or Mary’ s Jesus or Ann’ s Mary or Jane
Austen once, or me or your mother’ s you
the sudden baby surges to his feet
and sways, head forward, chin high,
arms akimbo, hands dangling idle,
elbows up, as if winged.
Other-lips whispering between my legs.
What they called black hole not-thing
is really packed full of secrets. A rebel mouth
testifying from the underside. Careful
not to let it speak too loudly. Only hum
demure in polite company — never laugh
you want to eat me
out. right. what does it taste like
you want to eat me right out
of these jeans & into something
a little cheaper. more digestible.
more bite-sized. more thank you
come: i am greasy
for you. i slick my hair with msg
every morning. i’ m bad for you.
got some red-light district between
your teeth. what does it
taste like: a takeout box
between my legs.
plastic bag lady. flimsy white fork
to snap in half. dispose of me.