A Date

The first seated takes the chance he’ ll be
stood up. She’ s getting on with the hope she may
get off. One and one make one
in this riddle. Or, more closely, comedy routine:
first, impressions; second, observations.
Impolite to have thirds. Bachelors and bachelorettes
beware: more than tonight they can mess up your order.
Who would go for the lobster expects the claws.
No pets allowed, keep your shirt on, places this strict —
like loony bins — require a jacket, sir. Mark sudden pauses,

I Shall Be Married on Monday Morning

As I was walking one morning in spring,
I heard a fair maiden most charmingly sing,
All under her cow, as she sat a-milking,
Saying, I shall be married, next Monday morning.

You fairest of all creatures, my eyes e’ er beheld,
Oh! Where do you live love, or where do you dwell,
I dwell at the top of yon bonny brown hill,
I shall be fifteen years old next Monday morning.


Pass by the showy rose,
blabbing open,
suckling a shiny beetle;

pass by the changeless diamond
that falls asleep in shadow —

this love is a lichen,

alga and fungus made one fleck,
feeding on what it feeds,

growing slightly faster than stone
into a patch of gray lace,
a double thumbprint,

its bloom distinguishable, with practice,
from its dormant phase,

crocheting its singular habit
over time, a faithful stain
bound to its home,

etching on the unmoved rock
the only rune it knows.

The Artist

Why do you subdue yourself in golds and purples?
Why do you dim yourself with folded silks?
Do you not see that I can buy brocades in any draper’ s shop,
And that I am choked in the twilight of all these colors.
How pale you would be, and startling —
How quiet;
But your curves would spring upward
Like a clear jet of flung water,
You would quiver like a shot-up spray of water,

Scenes from “The Passion”: The Evening

There is an alley
where you can go,
where you can kiss
someone’ s mouth
until you climb
inside them, force
your way in, push
your cells into their cells
and become one
creature — angelic.
It isn’ t the way
you’ d dream it.
There is piss,
dew-damp moss crawling
across the brick.
Some nights it is so dark
you must enter only
by touch.
Walk by in the light
and it will seem
like nothing.
The scripture
is written by wenches:
4eva, L+ J, I. T. A. L. Y.

In Praise of the Passivity of Paper

I felt suddenly convinced that I had feelings for the wallpaper.
I was especially captivated by its blonde hair and bad dreams.
I had the impression the wallpaper needed longer to properly 
By the time I left, my affections had produced this abrasion on my cheek.
People looked on the abrasion as unquestionable proof of my sincerity.
The abrasion was produced by rubbing my face on the paper’ s smooth surface.
It only occurred to me later that it might have found this sensation disagreeable.

The Work

A great light is the man who knows the woman he loves
A great light is the woman who knows the man she loves
And carries the light into room after room arousing
The sleepers and looking hard into the face of each
And then sends them asleep again with a kiss
Or a whole night of love
and goes on and on until
The man and woman who carry the great lights of the
Knowledge of the one lover enter the room
toward which
Their light is sent and fit the one and the other torch
In a high candelabrum and there is such light

“When I’d reported to the couple, thus”

When I’ d reported to the couple, thus
That up there no one murders now for gain
Since no one owns a thing, the faithless spouse

Who’ d beguiled that woman so improperly
Lifted his hand, now tied to hers by chains
And looked at her and turned perplexed to me

So no one steals, if  there’ s no property?
I shook my head. And as their hands just touched
I saw a blush suffuse the woman’ s cheeks.