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

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—
motionlessness—
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.

Temperamental

Let’s come up with our own diseases
and come down with them—
I’m sick of what I’ve got—

the typical afflictions, tics, growths,
seizures, puce hues of pus and pustule crusts,
sick of the -oses,

themselves out of sorts—
diagnosis with its telltale symptoms,
prognosis with its ever worse case of scenario—

Let’s develop a severe i-won’t-ness
after enduring a series of bouts
with itisitis

from coming into contact with some realia growing wild
in the field among silvery delirium and pink hysteria,
then scratching—

Let’s not and say we did, like poets.
Let us put the extra-strength in aspiration,
let’s pop time capsules

until our heads wobble and our eyes roll back so far
we develop double hindsight, 20/20/20/20,
causing us to rewrite all our poems as we go—

elegies belated odes, odes preemptive elegies,
pastorals prewritten, found poems lost,
dry haiku moist in psalm.

And let’s make lovesickness—you exert your undue
influenza over me, I’ll undo the tricky zipper of your cicatrix,
we can produce little antibodies

and then let’s really go into intensive care—
hijack en route the emergency vehicle,
our metaphor stretched out hooked up

to things, and even as we abandon it
let’s become the automobile—
jump out, leave the ideomotor running.

Self Defense

(with lines from museum placards, a menu, the dictionary, a turn-of-the-century journal, and Roland Barthes)

It is not gregarious or migratory

as much spectacular as alimentary

Bird eggs have given it a black name

Tupelo, Sour Gum, and Pepperidge

Words that are far too botanical

Squab and Foie Gras with Fingerling Potatoes and Lingonberries

Both sexes are horned

Roots, tubers and fruit but sharper, more refined

fruitiness imparted by a genuine ale

(The rosettes of the leopard are not spotted in the center.)

cheesy tubercules often in the lungs

Taste buds cannot function when they are dry

a dry capsule, not a berry

already been turned red by frost

over lime-poor, granitic rocks

in periods of remission, schizophrenics have written

dream drawings painted demons, Picassoid heads

(a moment when the animal has no contact with the ground)

Thurs. Dissected opossum all day,

minor cruelty will conclude in lace.

Sap

I shot that footage of the paratrooper
favoring my left eye.
Not to say he wasn’t swinging around the sky
like the monocle
where the general’s neck used to be
or a gay burro-shaped piñata.
How is the piñata like the monocle again?
That you could see what was inside
before you broke it—
at any rate, they’re all in some state of
suspension, every particle poised for
flight—for involvement in seemingly isolated incidents
of disturbing the penultimate peace—all particles guilty as charged
of taking their rinkydink swings at the pendulum
the world over hops with its eyes shut, screeching
higher! on the brakes of one voice.
Everybody knows the penalty
for killing time is doing it,
doing it, doing it.

So he stews in his own sky-blue juice.
I shot the whole thing in my head, mind you.
You had me on the front lines?
Sweetie.  Mars isn’t
further from my range-of-lens.
Now train your gaze on this descent.
How the parachute adjusts itself atop that tree
clinging like a beanie scalped of its propellor
to the head of the butt of the ambush.
And there’s our dumb subject,
barking his shins against a low branch.  Hold on to your hat!
I dubbed that over me shrieking Cut!
(You can’t just leave him
hanging for the sake of brevity.  Gravity won’t have it—)

Memory issues a decree.  We his subjects are summoned
wall-to-wall into the projector
room with the scroll ready to roll.
Thus upping the periscopes of our necks
we can follow along.
Light takes our eyes
on its flickery back, scrambling down
the rungs of each frame and back up
as memory repeats itself—a presence for its absent-
mindedness, insofar as it serves,
the subversive head’s ideal figurehead,
insofar as anaphora clicks.
With the page only doing, reel-to-reel, as told.
The upshot was to use a hand-held camera for your epic propaganda.

Dead of summer.  Not a flick we haven’t caught.
What’s left for us to ruin for the rest?

We were in heat in French.
It translated with a splat.
We didn’t call each other little cabbage that we didn’t hear a golden-blonde litter
of puppies whacked against a chainlink fence.
Every pet name fell flat.
Lest we confuse inhuman with diminutive.

Or there was your take
on rhetoric as the proverbial trap
the voice of a people will rise and fall
into. 1-2-3 Hitler, your father jumps in
as you begin to strap theory naked
to a pastoral backdrop of fact.

—When in fact you didn’t have to
be there.  You had to have a father telling you time
and again there was really nothing
to tell, his memory
like an 8-track donated to Goodwill, then stashed
way back in the back with the other outdated crap,
a heat-warped collection free with the record player whose
speaker’s disconnected.
A silver screen in the sense
of valuable filter, of clearing the air for awhile.
He was sent overseas to translate what
few words weren’t fighting.
Soon he spat in quotation marks.  Nor did he ever
fully regain the powers of speech once
his voice dropped out of the corps
and took up dancing
around things.
In the toe shoes of commas it went en pointe.
It stepped the stones of ellipses.
And then it just trailed off.
You never could follow.

Here’s to each of us being
the phantom limb of some faraway tree,
at the top of whose family tree
is the tree the top of ours
swung from.

Profile

Your head is the balcony
from which our heroine just flung herself!
In chiffon she is one frothy comet.
That yellow’s the plummet.
From down here one suspects the usual
trajectory—French doors, and a startled chandelier
swooping around the room
to alight with its shadow of claws in her scalp.
One is wont to trace glow back to source.

Your head is a meadow
where poetry grows wild
and she, a piebald cow,
is led to pasture. She goes in
for the flowery clumps. When she chews,
her eyes make like mud puddles.
The brown swirls around.
Her cud is truly bewildering.

But your head is all the land.
She’s the fairest in it—
hence banished,
trees being the forest’s electrified fence.
The city meanwhile’s unwalled,
the palace gates going unmanned
as the nondescript queen within
pulsates, as wish pulls the switch on command.

It’s the zoetrope of the thing that gets me.
Half of me cheers her on
as she gallops nude through the steeplechase,
steed clearing the hedgerow, the ditch:
The other half off
entertaining a host of gala ideas
as to who got this head of yours spinning.

Adaze in the infinity of passersby,
I fall for the first mathematician
I happen to zero in on, where you sought
to apply the lotion of the theory of entropy
to me, to my—still, you pass
for a hero. Or else
why do they keep your profile?
It looks dismal for us rough figures.
There falls the guillotine-
chop of dawn now!
Let’s get out of this decimal place.

Mutation, a love story

“[Evolutionary biologists shot] a few minutes of footage taken by a tiny camera affixed to the underside of a man’s penis just prior to intercourse…”—from Elle, Oct. 1996

Frontiers of a precoital era. DeCrespigny led the expedition
backed by our own S. Smooha. Cliffs sketched in, sand stretched out
like flesh forming a habit, or uninhabited skin;
oh breathtaking treachery, fresh
out of people—
A man goes Ahab
over a native
as, when Eve turned out to be a diva overnight,
Adam filled the backstage void
of a matinee in progress, hand in deep
hip pocket.
This timeline’s an incoming sinusoid.
From out of the figleaf springs the trenchcoat,
to quote the biographer’s trenchant analysis.
We would go on to chronicle
the lives of the first honeymooners.

I followed you on to the deck.
Green was just reaching
the boiling point.
As though we’d never watched it,
the green was nearly ready.
A camera so loaded the lens filmed over.
Foliage was coming in droves—
fronds moved in on the periphery—
To capture it all I had to keep moving
to a minimum. A scuffle ensued to achieve that
effect, the horizon cruising along
at sea-level, where the jungle formed angles.
Thickness by degrees. Here and there
a mango glimpsed like something nocturnal.

Then the dream of careening—
making slowly derivative love below deck
as our only hope, Renfrew and Cherry,
mutinied above—

In the long silent documentary
a minute camera is mounted
onto an ill-standing tripod—
filing gradually into the darkroom.
Soon a theory of editing develops.
We look for names in the credits
reminiscent of ours.

What can we say we have seen take place?
Vines overtook us and held fast.
Us dead at the foot of a tree
was the worst case scenario, but
first was a starry discovery. That one will last.

Infinitive: To Make a Little Something

Upsy-daisy! Come taste.
I know but this isn’t cooking.
I’m just making your favorite.
Careful of your tongue,
I may have been a little
pepper-happy. A little pepper-happy.
I think not. Let’s you and I
please go on being sweet. Anyway
I need for this to simmer. I do,
I like you lazy most of all.
You like me how, most of all?
Let’s be hungry and sleepy,
since you’re going and you do go.

I have a favorite spoon,
the institutional Thor.
To speak highly of the dish,
to wax so far from pusillanimous as damn nasty
for he would have baked beans
off our good china! I think not.
He is endearing
and the spoon I have him use is,
is yes, you said it, stainless!

A faminifesto:
Write like you could eat a horse.
A manifasto:
Write like you could
but you wouldn’t think of it.
A manifeasto:
See faminifesto.
Amenifesto:
Write like grace was said,
and the hot rolls are coming your way.

A masturbatory gesture,
a tic of the wrist—
no less definitive
v. definitive, no less—
there’s beckoning, there’s flicker
of recognition. I stir. I knead.
I toss lightly. I think not. I fold into.
And then I knead some more.

Hinge

Let’s put the hinge in thing. It’ll take some doing
but once it’s in all the world will begin, back and forth, to swing,
swing out onto the fluid and the blurred. It’ll need/require/necessitate some being
but once it’s been, all the world will take wing,

thisward, thatward,
to alight, midflight, anothered.
Birds and stars turn into stars and birds—
flocks constellating, stars in chevrons overhead, starcalls overheard.

Field stars hop around. Birds fade/dim at dawn over fields.
Starlight smears a cracked windshield.
A bird to find your way by, fixed. A star wheeling
aloft. Stars on a wire. Wishing on the first bird, a thing being, as we speak, fulfilled.

*

The elevator and the waterfall slide
past each other through the world and into place, up the shaft, down the side.
Let’s take the water to the top. Let us let it let us out on the top floor, let’s ride
the strata up and be awestruck at the sheer, the solid

drop. And when zigzag and undulation shift,
in the slippage between sea and cliff,
surf and crag, let’s hear beauty calling surface tension’s bluff.
Experiencing texture in and of flux,

*

let’s attend a fête where snacks and trinkets, buffet and display, start/begin to gel.
Silver platters circulate with raw pearls on the half-shell,
diamond chips and gold dip, (citrine squirted over) jumbo gem cocktail
(squirted with citrine), jewel skewers—cabochon kabobs with chunks of/achunk with fire opal

as the guests circulate dripping with triple strands of coral roe,
parsley(ed/-sprigged) tiara s, cherrystone cameoes—
clams attached to platinum clasps—bits of pimiento
through holes in the lobes, studded belt buckle of a softshell crab (faux).

**

Wedging the ginglymus into the rigid thing,
thrusting ginglymi upon things—resisting
is natural, bending gingerly. But once essence begins
to know range of motion, there’s no turning

back, only turning and turning each into (/)the other.
So aura becomes beam,beam aura,
until guards and guardians, angels and interro-
gators appear to us in altogether

altered/new/different lights—glare and glow,
focus and diffusion, laser and halo,
illumination’s source and course clear and unclear, shadow
and silhouette—gradation gaining the edge on edge. So

*

interior turns exterior, the furniture (geo-)phenomenon
(of geology). Let’s redo our home with the world—sofa and ottoman
a length of rock ledge and a boulder, tides/the tide rolling up and down
where once were/in place of windowblinds/shades—let’s roll around on

rugs of tan sand, send a runner of white sand
down the stairs, install wall-to-wall sand carpeting in russet and
rose, the colors of sunset over /upon dunes wind-tracked and land-
markless, the hues of pinpointing nowhere, of standing

still through the day surrounded by no sound but the animal cries
of wind. So in our bed of meadow, mattress of matted dried grasses
on soil box spring on bedrock frame, come sunrise,
lying ear to (your) chest, I am/let me be in for the daily/everyday surprise

*

of outside sounds coming from within you, bodily sounds
coming up through the window from our block/the street below, grinding, ground-
down sounds, stomachs/tummies rumbling past, (bull)dozers briefly drowning
out the neighborhood’s soft, steady pounding.

Little construction site, small(est) dilapidation. In you a fenced heart barks.
An engine starts up in you, off to work.
The occasional plane drone makes/follows an arc.
The chained heart baying near dawn, in the dark.

**

Soon the body and the soul will start to bleed
into each other like colors exceeding
the grasp of their (own) wavelengths, off on a hue spree.
The voice will run the spectrum, describing how it sees

*

the soul as the town cripple, not shuffling through the park
so much as getting caught in the scuffle
between his legs, while the look
on his face stays as sweet as a leaf, a little

detached from the petiole—as when a branch
stirs, leaves blink in the sunshine
like a glimpse of nocturnal fauna
hidden in selfsame/identical/indistinguishable flora, leaves blinking

in the breeze that blows that look across
his face, startling when the tree opens its windowblind
of branches, or at the freaks and flukes of birdcalls.
Or the soul is only one

*

among a hilltown’s crippled populace
whose tendons unravel in legs like runs
in stockings, legs like sheer pantyhose
with no legs in them—all the tender pendulums

of limbs aswing, limbs like emblems
resembling/of wings flapping on flapping flags,
limbs like needles climbing seismic registers,
indicative of (subsurface/sudden) activity,

legs caught in the trap their own knees spring,
twisting back to chew free, snapping at the knee—
the soul the body in the stairwell every step amounts to,
the body taking the stairs of its own making, flights of air—

*

the soul the body that is its own springboard into the whirlpool,
hurling itself off itself into the whorl, the loose end(s) of the loop—
turning the/its/a leap
into its/a plea, (the) movement letting out a whoop—

Come on in. The word for water is warm. TKTK
as though the relation of the body to the soul hinged
upon the answer to the question: In the sentence
injure tinge spring fringe linger impinge
“Upon reaching the site, we found the ruins in ruins,”
what are we to picture,
rubble doubling or the resurrection of the/a temple therefrom?
When the reversible and the irreversible finally blur
Ur-/remains inter

it will be for good.

Grand Entrance

Of all my beauty secrets, hurdling the railing into the courtyard of the Grand Hotel is the one I’m keeping—
I gave away floating and sprawling, crawling on all fours,
I showed which floors to get knocked to and pinned to
beneath a gleaming dress shoe in the foyer, the ballroom beyond still
tinkling, twinkling, blurred and starred—
the hostess knows—
I disclosed gliding down stairs in wraparound raw silk spitting blood—
kimono of ecru, robe of mauve and old bone, blood coming out of the mouth—

too, I divulged spurting
and bird calls
from the bird that lives inside me,
a honeycreeper, a bananaquit,
let one thing, I slurred,
make you tropical and sheer, let them
think they see through you
to the fluttering bird
that feeds on the fruit growing there—
I suggested you live like the door to the cage
were, unbeknownst
even to you, ajar—
But I kept falling

past the windows, the windows, the windows of the Grand Hotel
and there was the sun at the top of its clocktower, sunning back and forth upon the tolling of the aureole, radiating chimes—the sun too a bell
I could see as I fell
and me passing the glass elevator and hearing the bell strike the skull and the brain start ringing, applause from the mezzanine—
and the lounge act
clear the lobby of equipment—sheet-music stands and sheet music, quick—
It was farther treetops that were moving in the treetops, it was a spire rising.

I said don’t fill your diary
with entries, only entrances—