We were a Colored Clan of Kinfolk
Who threw soilnot salt
Over our shoulders
Who tendered close the bible
Who grew and passed around the almanac at night
So we would know
What to plant at first light
We were a Colored Clan of Kinfolk
It was not Death, for I stood up,
And all the Dead, lie down -
It was not Night, for all the Bells
Put out their Tongues, for Noon.
It was not Frost, for on my Flesh
I felt Siroccos - crawl -
Nor Fire - for just my marble feet
Could keep a Chancel, cool -
And yet, it tasted, like them all,
The Figures I have seen
Set orderly, for Burial
Reminded me, of mine -
As if my life were shaven,
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key,
And ’ twas like Midnight, some -
The room I entered was a dream of this room.
Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine.
The oval portrait
of a dog was me at an early age.
Something shimmers, something is hushed up.
We had macaroni for lunch every day
except Sunday, when a small quail was induced
to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things?
You are not even here.
If today and today I am calling aloud
If I break into pieces of glitter on asphalt
bits of sun, the din
if tires whine on wet pavement
If we find we are still in motion
and have arrived in Zeno’ s thought, like
if sunshine hits marble and the sea lights up
we might know we were loved, are loved
if flames and harvest, the enchanted plain
If our wishes are met with dirt
and thyme, thistle, oil,
heirloom, and basil
or the end result is worry, chaos
and if “I should know better”
For why am I afraid to sing
the fundamental shape of awe
should I now begin to sing the silvered back of
the winter willow spear
the sparkling agate blue
would this blade and this sky free me to speak
intransitive lack –
the vowels themselves free
Is this what you intended, Vincent
that we take our rest at the end of the grove
nestled into our portion beneath the bird’ s migration
saying, who and how am I made better through struggle.
Or why am I I inside this empty arboretum
this inward spiral of whoop ass and vision
the leafy vine twisting and choking the tree.
O, dear heaven, if you are indeed that
or if you can indeed hear what I might say
heal me and grant me laughter’ s bounty
of eyes and smiles, of eyes and affection.
A hears by chance a familiar name, and the name involves a riddle of the past.
B, in love with A, receives an unsigned letter in which the writer states that she is the mistress of A and begs B not to take him away from her.
B, compelled by circumstances to be a companion of A in an isolated place, alters her rosy views of love and marriage when she discovers, through A, the selfishness of men.
A, an intruder in a strange house, is discovered; he flees through the nearest door into a windowless closet and is trapped by a spring lock.
And in a little while we broke under the strain:
suppurations ad nauseam, the wanting to be taller,
though it‘s simply about being mysterious, i. e., not taller,
like any tree in any forest.
Mute, the pancake describes you.
It had tiny roman numerals embedded in its rim.
It was a pancake clock. They had ’ em in those days,
That night the wind stirred in the forsythia bushes,
but it was a wrong one, blowing in the wrong direction.
“That’ s silly. How can there be a wrong direction?
‘It bloweth where it listeth,’ as you know, just as we do
when we make love or do something else there are no rules for.”
I tell you, something went wrong there a while back.
Just don’ t ask me what it was. Pretend I’ ve dropped the subject.
No, now you’ ve got me interested, I want to know
exactly what seems wrong to you, how something could
Research has shown that ballads were produced by all of society
working as a team. They didn’ t just happen. There was no guesswork.
The people, then, knew what they wanted and how to get it.
We see the results in works as diverse as “Windsor Forest” and “The Wife of Usher’ s Well.”