December 28, 2008

Paradox of Plenty (The Blind Leading The . . . )

There is a scarf across my eyes,
black and silky; I wore it once,
I think,
to the office, or maybe
to deceive you, but now

you've tied it around my eyes.
But you didn't tie it
tightly enough; enough
light fingers in
at the edges to know

where I am,
with a black scarf across my eyes,
and a ribbon whimsically looped
around each wrist and ankle.
Ah, our props are pretty.

You are closer now, I see
the color of your skin edging
the blindfold. You twist my hair around your hand
and pull; you place your fingers on my mouth
and stretch it into screaming shape, and then

you pause. I know,
you will not do anything you have not done,
and maybe less than ever,
for when you are given everything,
you are unable to take anything.

It is the burden of choice.
It is the waste of surrender.
It is the paradox of plenty.
It is the secret of the cornered.
It is the weapon of the cold.

December 22, 2008

Phantoms & Mirrors

"If I could make the world as pure
and strange as what I see,
I'd put you in the mirror
I'd put in front of me."
-
"Pale Blue Eyes," Lou Reed


Was it his phantom
that moved past us,
lightly strumming our vertebrae,
playing Pandarus
while I flushed and stammered,
truth growing limp
in my sweating palms?

Was it your reflection
that skimmed across the mirror
behind him,
curving momentarily
into an archer's bow
as the smoke-slow arrow
found its target at last?

Were you the omen or the opening?
Was he the promise or the place-holder?
The cartographers are stumped,
but the numbers
work out,
as numbers always do
in the algebra of fortuities.

Here, x=y
and the answer is
zero.

December 18, 2008

Chalk It Up (lyric)

I won't say that you are unlike
Anyone I ever met
Anyone who says that is a fool
In fact, you look familiar,
Though I'm sure we've never met
At least we never have been introduced.

I've seen you around, I think
I might have even heard your name
Or maybe I just noticed it in the phone book's pages
It wouldn't be a tragedy,
But it would be a shame
If we passed each other by like perfect strangers.

I know,
You're probably running late
And I know
I'm about to miss my train
But I hope
You find a reason
To change your plans & chalk it up to fate.

Oh, weren't we once on the same flight?
The one that got delayed by an extra hour
Didn't I once let you bum a light?
Or borrow your cell phone when mine ran out of power

Didn't we once work on different floors?
For the same company in that big skyscraper
Didn't you once yell "Hold the door"
And ride up with me in a silent elevator?

I know,
You've probably got a date
And I know
Mine is waiting for me
But I hope
You find a reason
To change your plans & chalk it up to fate

Yes, I've seen you around, and
I know that you've seen me too
'Cause I recognize that slow, slow smile

And I'll get where I am going
With or without you
But it would sure be nice to walk together for a while . . .

I know
You're probably running late
I know
I'm about to miss my train
But I hope
You find a reason
To change your plans & chalk it up to fate.

What We Have In Common (Song For a Happy Horse)

"O happy horse, to bear the weight of Antony!" - Shakespeare, "Antony and Cleopatra"


Well, now I've stood where you were standing,
I have seen what you must have seen,
And I have lain where you had fallen,
Wanting to never rise again.

I have slipped on the cloak of silence,
Made heavy in the rain of tears,
And stepped, reluctant, on the journey
That you, too, must have once endured.

What did you carry in your pockets?
What weapons had you at your side?
Did you bring shining, golden trap-nets
Or honey-coated throwing knives like mine?

Did you ever stop to wonder
How the road got worn so smooth,
Except for all the broken pieces
Scattered like pebbles underfoot.

What did you struggle to hold on to?
What did you lose along the way?
Did you ever look behind you,
Or did you keep your eyes straight ahead?

You have no reason to remember.
It's been years since your happy ending,
Since you reached the crystal castle
And entered through the swinging gate at last.

You have no reason now to hear me.
You have no reason yet to fear me.
But was it worth it, was it worth it?
That is all I want to ask.

December 9, 2008

Roll On (A Kiss)

He said, "When you kiss me,
I can feel your soul."

She said, "When I kiss you,
I can feel my soul.
Can you feel yours?"

He smiled and said nothing.
The waves rolled on.

December 4, 2008

Your Body is My Country (lyric)

You call me at a quarter after ten
And for a while, it's all "How are you, how has your day been"
And anyone who heard us would just think that we're old friends
And then you say, "Wanna come over, we'll have a drink or something."

And twenty minutes later, I'm jumping in a cab
Your spare key in my pocket and my toothbrush in my bag
Tomorrow is a Sunday and I have got no plans
And even if I did, I know I'd break them

'Cause your body is my country and I know its map so well
I have sworn it my allegiance, I'm a loyal citizen
And I've been to all the temples of its ancient, pagan gods
But I still have never found my way
My way to your heart

At your place, it's no surprise I find
You've lit a candle and you've poured the wine
In all the time I've known you, you've never been unkind
To me, and, as far as I know, to anyone

And it's not true, what all of my friends say
That I'm just another girl that you've learned how to play
I think that you must love me, in your own way
And if you've never said so, well, it doesn't really matter

'Cause your body is my country and I know its map so well
I have sworn it my allegiance, I'm a loyal citizen
And I've been to all the temples of its ancient, pagan gods
But I still have never found my way
My way to your heart

December 2, 2008

The Passion

Upon a visit to the Prado. August 2003.

You -
who lived insensibly
and loved insanely;
you -
who made God
in man's own image
& gave us images
to pray to
were declared
heathens.

You -
who lived by vision,
lived invisibly
and died
in penury,
disgraced,
alone.

You starved
& slept on naked earth
& were accused
of vulgar sensualism.

You wept
turpentine tears
& bled
in every color
of the
imagination,
to give birth to
Beauty
in great pain.

You fought,
you lost,
you loved,
you lost,
you gambled
& you lost,
& lost again,
& then were
lost entirely,
and yet,
you LIVED. Oh, how you lived!

And now,
I read between
your strokes
the words -
"Forgive them, Muse,
they know not
what we do."

December 1, 2008

Afternoon of the Wolf (lyric)

To Bigby, with affection.

I can't quite see you, but I can tell,
because it's true, fear has a smell,
that you are there, that you are frozen.
You know you've wandered too close.
You know who I am, you've been warned
that I can cause a lot of harm.

But don't be afraid, it's been a while
since I was young and fierce and wild,
eyes like moonlight, fur like silver,
a hungry predator, a killer,
sharp of fang and fleet of foot,
hunting flesh and trailing blood.

I made this whole forest tremble,
thought I was invincible,
and somehow, foolishly, forgot
you're only lawless till you're caught.

She was alone and wearing red.
I don't remember what I said,
but she didn't run, she didn't hide.
She never guessed what I desired,
never even looked away,
had no idea that she was prey.

Giving in to the temptation,
I took a chance I shouldn't have taken.
And then, I ran, fast as I could.
You only run until you're caught.

They tracked me down, they dragged me out,
shoved their hands inside my mouth,
wrenched the teeth out of my jaws,
clipped my ears, pulled out my claws.
Then, they let me go, laughed and said,
"Let's see now, wolf, who's big and bad."

This all happened long ago.
And now, I'm slow and weak and old.
So you can pass, I won't even chase you,
though you smell like something I once tasted.

You should get home, the day's near over.
Ah, but what's this? You're coming closer.
Your eyes are sad and sweetly tender,
your tears fall on my fur like silver.
Your arms slip round my neck so light,
and it's been so long since I was touched,

so long since I have played this game.
But I think I could win again.
I do believe I make you wonder
about the hibernating hunger
of wolves who can no longer bite.
Old habits rest but never die.

Well, your look of naked fascination
could make me rise to the occasion,
but I don't think that's what you want,
for this would only be a hunt.
So you should go now. Go, before
you get more than you're asking for.

And if you ever come across,
someone like me, who talks as soft,
and moves as slow, and seems as harmless,
and asks you for your trust and kindness,
stay clear of him. Take my advice,
beware the ones with moonlight in their eyes.