The man who
drew the first
map was able
to see through
of a bird.
like dark faces
I have told
you too much,
forgive us both.
O stainless fuselage,
between the veils
before we darken
and dip into
the twinkling net.
Each small town
on the night’s skin,
a tumor of light.
A Lock of Her Hair
As a hoodoo-voodoo, get-you-back-to-me tool,
this hank’s thankless task is vast,
a head down to the ground impossibility, possibly,
since what I’m thinking of is your toe pad pinknesses too,
your soup hots and round-and-rounds, the fine
and perfect poundage of you on my paws, the very cause
and problem I moan and bemoan
the absence of. For Love, above the head
this reddish coil once lavishly wore, there’s an air so far away
it’s sad for me to even think the same sun’s rays play
where it was and do to you what I would do
if I were there or you were here. Still, some thrills
remembered do resemble thrills, one hopes, and the ropes
of it that gently fell around me bound me so well
no hell of miles can defile this dream I dream. I mean
the anyway DNA I can find of you. I mean the home
of bones and blood that holds the whole of you
and which this fizzed-up missive means to conjure, missy,
my world in a curl, girl, this man oh man half man I am
when you’re gone.
For you I undress down to the sheaths of my nerves.
I remove my jewelry and set it on the nightstand,
I unhook my ribs, spread my lungs flat on a chair.
I dissolve like a remedy in water, in wine.
I spill without staining, and leave without stirring the air.
I do it for love. For love, I disappear.
When it’s late at night and branches
Are banging against the windows,
you might think that love is just a matter
of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself
into the fire of someone else,
but it’s a little more complicated than that.
It’s more like trading the two birds
who might be hiding in that bush
for the one you are not holding in your hand.
A wise man once said that love
was like forcing a horse to drink
but then everyone stopped thinking of him as wise.
Let us be clear about something.
Love is not as simple as getting up
on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor’s clothes.
No, it’s more like the way the pen
feels after it has defeated the sword.
It’s a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped
You look at me through the halo of the last candle
and tell me love is an ill wind
that has no turning, a road that blows no good,
but I am here to remind you,
as our shadows tremble on the walls,
that love is the early bird who is better late than never.
–Mary Jo Bang
You know, don’t you, what we’re doing here?
The evening laid out like a beach ball gone airless.
We’re watching the spectators in the bleachers.
The one in the blue shirt says, “I knew,
even as a child, that my mind was adding color
to the moment.”
The one in red says, “In the dream, there was a child
batting a ball back and forth. He was chanting
that awful rhyme about time that eventually ends
with the body making a metronome motion.”
By way of demonstration, he moves mechanically
side to side while making a clicking noise.
His friends look away. They all know
how a metronome goes. You and I continue to watch
because we have nothing better to do.
We wait for the inevitable next: we know the crowd
will rise to its feet when prompted and count—
three-one-hundred—as if history were a sound
that could pry apart an ever-widening abyss
with a sea on the bottom. And it will go on like this.
The crowd will quiet when the sea reaches us.