Miscellany & Poetry - On food, wine, film, lit & then some.

Wine Poem 4

Perhaps happens. All it is could be.
Another word for it would be—
maybe it’ll come to me—
Granted shape is just a phase. Granted form—
goblet, tumbler, bottle in the dark,
amarone and a body
clad in black—just comes between
to and from, from and to, abstract to
the touch, concrete as thought.
So it seems in light of these say
libations—in the light,
bare flicker, slight gyre
of their bilabials one icy eve.
Grape, grape, barbaresco, primitivo,
after such
anticipation the first sip nearly hurts,
a little bit, a touch,
like on certain liquids you could cut your lip,
the way of fluid having after all an edge

When the wine winds down,
nearly is nearby, the word is not to be.
I want everything, nothing included.


Brown-butter bread pudding with mulberries and milk jam
sounds like sculpture.
The heart is its own brain.
The heart pauses, then hesitates.
Something’s on the tip
of the heart’s tongue, the heart taps
fist to brow to jar
memory into place. Perhaps
it’s a name, the name is not Claude Muchmore, it is not
Javier Flores, it cannot be
Soso Kokynos, maybe it’s a place
near Verona, in the Rockies, on the edge of elsewhere.
The heart smarts
like a shin smacked yet again
on the leg of the couch, not a sofa,
not a settee or divan,
in the same spot,
damning itself
for its willed inattention to the world,
its faux velleity, so, so faux—
The heart thinks, I’ve heard this song
for twenty-something years,
the heart knows the lyrics by heart
(one night in Iowa, he and I in a borrowed car)—
The heart has hips and sways. The heart has lips and applies
its own pressure, its own logic, its own balm.
The heart acknowledges the dichotomy
between mind and body mind and body
fail to acknowledge
and in the moment
of so doing wrinkles and shrinks
to the size of a raisin, golden.
Thinking things is coming to not terms but blows.

Wine Poem 3 (Florence/Vernazza 1999)

The day to be the sun was the one Michelangelo made a snowman on
as the icicle’s hourglass ran out

from each branch of each tree on the grounds of the castle de Medici,
all day long the day falling

somewhere along a spectrum running
from cycle to continuum

—circle slipping into loop, loop
losing grip on curve, loosening the grasp, curve lapsing

into line, line going off on tangent
marked at points now and never by sparkling,

coordinates glacial and palatial,
shape and phase, monument and monument to the demise

thereof, from moment to moment losing momentum
—sun-motes sticking to vision like burrs.

Memo to self: become someone soon. A downpour
has left this view drying in its wake, view like a film on the surface of surrounding,

a beaded layer over it that is it—
the midst of a vineyard via a trail

as one by one the grapes drip from their leafy faucets,
the taps leak splashing green and black,

and one by one the grapes light up like rafter-strung bulbs,
or room after room as the sun sets,

and one by one the grapes come out and shine like pulp from a star.
Was it sweet of you to come?

If you were dead, the sky would hang
like a jade burial shroud sewn with gold threads,

but it’s hung like a shade rolled up to let in breezes of light.
So let’s vow, marry, wed. This view is a window

of time in which to act for act’s sake,
we who are drawn here together like drapery,

folds in woven duration,
folds in dusk’s bolt, drawn here

following the sun like two exclamation points in a row.
How the emphasis would taper off were you to go.

The day to be time passing
would be the one some unsung Impressionist whiled

away tracing the shape of a cloud on,
but in lieu of your death or dying

time less ceases to exist than it exists to cease,
and when the young Ludwig Miës van der Rohe was out building sandcastles,

those were the days to be the surf—
getting your rivulets all tangled up in seaweed

to wriggle out of the sea’s bruising squeezes, mottling your gilded strands and tassels to be the moat’s fulfillment and ruin,

and they’d have been the days to sneak onto wine turf and throttle yourself
with a vine, knot the noose with the grapes twinkling

like dots of pure green exclamation point all around you,
dangling a modifier with this ring before them—

These are the grapes that make sciacchetra
slant-rhyme with rocketry. It tastes like juice wrung from a star.

It sparkles like the coercion of space into spaces,
like the visible on the wane that the clear may wax.

Somewhere between the pivotal act of your life or living
and its riveting consequences, along the way

ad astra per aspera,

there must have been a night to be the rain,
a means of siphoning the energy of Sisyphus

off from the myth of inertia
as it snowballed from rock fact

to refuel belief in impetus. A way to confirm.
But the day to be a scorcher has to coincide

with the wedding on the palace lawn
in a pavilion lined with ice sculptures of the pantheon

and must subside in thunderstorm
with the gods of wine making pools

of themselves, fools for self-reflection as they melt down
into figures entering the centrifuge—

as what, rotating, separates—

Let’s pledge our devotion to perpetual motion,
let’s be the betrothed becoming otherwise,

composing toasts and going into shock—

Wine Poem 2

When the last corpse was drained and jarred he took me to wife,
whisking me over the pain threshold and into the honeymoon dungeon.
The hook used to extract the brain doubled as a corkscrew.
The test tubes bubbled over with champagne.
We dabbed our eyes with scar tissue as we played our song

and drank like plunging knife and fork, clashing blade and prong,
and drank like dart and arrow through each lung,
and drank like pharoahs with our hearts removed
to make room for more wine. And then the sound

fell headlong down the stairs.
We felt the shadow spill across the floor above our heads
the way a flashlight washes over treasure,
smearing gleam throughout the tomb.
The still lifes froze and the statues wanted down.

Before the mirror of creation stood reaction with a hood.
It was there reflection lay, stunned, may still lie.
As the darkness stopped before our portraits,
we popped the corks below and drank our brains out.

Some wine you let breathe, some you’ve got to smother.
We kissed deepest when we kept our distance, then we deeper slept.

Wine Poem 1

The pearl is merciless and fast-acting when dropped into the goblet of my exilarch.
It could as lief be aphrodisiac as poison. Once was my prophecy fair
when my object was dark. But he was born with a rare form
of profil perdu that lately obscures my success.
His countenance alters if at all
as a tortoise crosses shifting sands for as far as eye can see—
will this creature never stumble, underbelly sunward,
would darkness offer afterimages if images left nothing
to be desired?
Motionless all afternoon
beneath the silver chandelier
at my end of the dining hall, I feel it—
like Cleopatra in her dotage atop the wrong barge
until sunset, the harbor clearing of feluccas
whose unmooring moves her so, mind bobbing
softly in its slip. And I want to go hunting and fishing.
Other mouths fade in and out.
It’s as though I were doing the voices, reading aloud
from some suppressed text or other,
hidebound and bordered with whiplash curves.
My highness doesn’t turn around. He is so heirless,
silhouetted against an almond-shaped glory of light. I have the scars to prove it.
Tonight the dosage of jewel pills increases.
Wine, music! I have scars to prove.