Monday, July 30, 2007

The Oval Portrait

to Margarete

“Your hair holds a whole dream.”
- Charles Baudelaire

The image must begin with an aversion:
the trophy hair, detached
from the head of the woman
he once loved, covers the canvas--

preserved, now, against the wall
of the museum, where we will
never find the face, only the obscure
half of the lover's head, as Eurydice.

It is this that the artist has suffered
to reproduce using Margarete’s hair--
manipulating the soft spot of our objectivity,
where form and body are set asunder,

to assure us that the nightmare
which we view is human.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Body Language

“It beggar’d all description”
Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare

You could anchor the tip of your tongue
in my mouth and sing my diagnosis--

sing through the spaces of my body,
as if it had surfaced out of Lethe,

filling each blank with your breath:
only then would each caesura ring true,

my paraphasia-medic,
in the sieve of your mouth

with the song that would sing out
my drowning.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wish Bone

“The feminine in my soul will vibrate,
as inside a cathedral in mourning.”
- Cesar Vallejo, tr. Clayton Eshleman

You will not remember that dream
that fathered you-- drew your hands

towards my bones to shape a blank
for your own solidified wish.

The bone, with which you reenacted
your nightmare, could never crack:

the rib, in which you wished yourself
whole, was never realized, but was a fossil

from the future-- a late reminder
of the pain that will outlast your dream.

Monday, June 04, 2007


If the Sirens’ song could surface from
its own pregnant silence, it would say Swim.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I walked around your figure, holding in
my hand the rock to reprimand you with,
and in that ancient stone, that monolith,
found a Rosetta for our separate pain:
it broke your jaw-- you never spoke again.
The blood you bled for me had stopped your breath
and filled your mouth completely, so in both
of us the tongues remained as mute as stone.

I come back to your image in my head
among the ruins of my mind, in which
I find you with a scientist’s surprise;
your face has turned to fossil: I can’t rid
the trace of you from this past, nor detach
your figure from the rock in which it lies.


Your body didn’t stagger in that determined
lunge towards water but fell seamlessly
it seems fond of the waves that moved it
farther and farther away from me

There your face sank consolatory
as an anchor assuring stability
for the tired breathless swimmer
as if drowning was the only condition

Twin lover and sibling with whom I drown
in this precise water each night I come back
to this shore to convince myself you are
here repeating my own unmovable grief
I make revisions of our own tragedy
including caesuras for you to breathe