Adam Cast Forth . Was there a Garden or was the Garden a dream? Amid the fleeting light, I have slowed myself and queried, Almost for consolation, if the bygone period Over which this Adam, wretched now, once reigned supreme,
Might not have been just a magical illusion Of that God I dreamed. Already it's imprecise In my memory, the clear Paradise, But I know it exists, in flower and profusion,
Although not for me. My punishment for life Is the stubborn earth with the incestuous strife Of Cains and Abels and their brood; I await no pardon.
Yet, it's much to have loved, to have known true joy, To have had — if only for just one day — The experience of touching the living Garden.
The Colossus . "I shall never get you put together entirely, Pieced, glued, and properly jointed. Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles Proceed from your great lips. It's worse than a barnyard. Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle, Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other. Thirty years now I have labored To dredge the silt from your throat. I am none the wiser.
Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol I crawl like an ant in mourning Over the weedy acres of your brow To mend the immense skull plates and clear The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.
A blue sky out of the Oresteia Arches above us. O father, all by yourself You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum. I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress. Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered
In their old anarchy to the horizon-line. It would take more than a lightning-stroke To create such a ruin. Nights, I squat in the cornucopia Of your left ear, out of the wind,
Counting the red stars and those of plum- color. The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue. My hours are married to shadow. No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel On the blank stones of the landing."
There's a book called "A Dictionary of Angels." No one has opened it in fifty years, I know, because when I did, The covers creaked, the pages Crumbled. There I discovered
The angels were once as plentiful As species of flies. The sky at dusk Used to be thick with them. You had to wave both arms Just to keep them away.
Now the sun is shining Through the tall windows. The library is a quiet place. Angels and gods huddled In dark unopened books. The great secret lies On some shelf Miss Jones Passes every day on her rounds.
She's very tall, so she keeps Her head tipped as if listening. The books are whispering. I hear nothing, but she does.
A hotel in whose ledgers departures are more prominent than arrivals. With wet Koh-i-noors the October rain strokes what's left of the naked brain. In this country laid flat for the sake of rivers, beer smells of Germany and the seaguls are in the air like a page's soiled corners. Morning enters the premises with a coroner's punctuality, puts its ear to the ribs of a cold radiator, detects sub-zero: the afterlife has to start somewhere. Correspondingly, the angelic curls grow more blond, the skin gains its distant, lordly white, while the bedding already coils desperately in the basement laundry.
GRIEF . God raised cows on a ranch in the sea The cows fattened leisurely eating grass There were no herders, no fences We couldn’t see even with our eyes open but every cow’s head was branded with God’s seal God played a flute when night came All the blue cows were gathered God scoffed at all the cows
I stole one of the cows and gave it to a Mongolian who with one hand kept the lamb’s mouth shut and with another made a hole in its heart He said, this cow belongs to the sea It has no fur, no flesh. We don’t eat anything from the sea The cow belongs to him – his body made entirely of tears The lamb he caught was skinned without a single drop of blood or a scream
This time I had no choice but to eat the blue cow by myself My body became covered in blue mold I couldn’t feel the cold and roamed the streets in sub-zero weather Except for the salt crystals falling from one of my eyes The sea grabbed my ears everywhere I went and rippled all day I couldn’t sleep at all
Cumberland Blues . I can't stay here much longer, Melinda The sun is getting high I can't help you with your troubles If you won't help with mine I gotta get down I gotta get down Gotta get down to the mine
You keep me up just one more night I can't stop here no more Little Ben clock says quarter to eight You kept me up till four I gotta get down I gotta get down Or I can't work there no more
Lotta poor man make a five dollar bill Will keep him happy all the time Some other fellow's making nothing at all And you can hear him cry
Can I go, buddy, can I go down Take your shift at the mine Gotta get down to the Cumberland mine That's where I mainly spend my time
Make good money, five dollars a day If I made any more I might move away
Lotta poor man got the Cumberland Blues He can't win for losing Lotta poor man got to walk the line Just to pay his union dues
I don't know now, I just don't know If I'm going back again I don't know now, I just don't know If I'm going back again
MARIA DEL CARMEN PAIVA ---------------- MIDDAY, REVERIES
I hear the murmur of flowers: they spring up from the forgotten spaces, near the orange tree. They exhale golden smoke of pure sun They put to sleep the ashes of siesta and cover my hot bed. Voices that flow from a secret river.
Flowers of ancient blood, of sleeping skeletons, of precipitous fugues and other ephemeral madnesses.
I turn around and the sheets twist around me, an undefined annoyance enters me. I go where the lilies and the well filled with leaves to lighten the exhaustion of my lips, so I wonOt fall asleep in this squandered strength.
7 daughters . a fume of smoke, a perfumed rain. a strong bull pulls a strong till. a fume of smoke, a fume. i cannot digest what i ingest in jest. what doth i protest? lungs in throat, rigged with wire and hay. a jewel from rote, shines strongs as binds. our jewel from rote, a jewel. tied with wire hay, pressed in rock and clay. 'til their not they. cartoon of self, rich in yes and no, no, yes, and no, no. a strong bull tills the strong soil. amused of self, amused. first born will be eve and second shed rebecca and third bred keturah. fourth birthed is sarah, fifth fifth fifth will be judith, sixth sixth left us basemith, seventh seventh truthful ruth, and eighth, oh, it's my turn.
My Hope Carries Me . Far, very far, into the world of the farthest beyond My hope carries me and places me On the sweetest lap of the unknown. There I behold my Self-form In the Dance-Delight of the Absolute.
A black biplane crashes through the window of the luncheonette. The pilot climbs down, removing his leather hood. He hands me my grandmother's jade ring. No, it is two robin's eggs and a telephone number: yours.
A Hall . The road led straight to the temple. Notre Dame, though not Gothic at all. The huge doors were closed. I chose one on the side, Not to the main building-to its left wing, The one in green copper, worn into gaps below. I pushed. Then it was revealed: An astonishing large hall, in warm light. Great statues of sitting women-goddesses, In draped robes, marked it with a rhythm. Color embraced me like the interior of a purple-brown flower Of unheard-of size. I walked, liberated From worries, pangs of conscience, and fears. I knew I was there as one day I would be. I woke up serene, thinking that this dream Answers my question, often asked: How is it when one passes the last threshold?
Help me, help me, I am never coming back to these weary mountains, never returning to your black skin . . . for white men do not truly know how to return to women who have waited for centuries.
Save me, save me, I was never leaving your custodial skin, never wandering off from the belief in what waited at your thighs.
It was the dead who waited there . . . you never told me your skin was so clever as to provide maternity for both dead and breathing, and I now see that even though you never spoke the words, your eyes danced again and again from the joy of this consummation.
You sought to marry me with the dead. Yet why must I leave? It is not you who sends me away, and not the dead . . .
then at the circumference I understood that I cannot see the enormity of the problem the dead souls must solve, while they, themselves, do not have the solutions provided me by touching skin.
CIRCULAR SYSTEMS . When one places the hand onto the kind of rubber and feels the knobs of a body frame beneath, then in escalator time a distance stretches out: between the hand that gradually takes a lead and the rest of the body in tow. More and more in that fashion till one lets go of the hand and gets used to forces again that are immensely restraining, as to an escape.