The queen of the kingdom
Is unhappy, the king’s away.
She twists her golden hair.
Such ennui in the palace,
The jester strung out
On his jangle-pills, the royal
Dog with its hotspots.
Each morning the rooster crows
Too soon and the rose garden
A tangle of thorns
Crowned with blood-blossoms.
Enter the woodman.
His charms and his velvet.
The dark brings its gifts.
Somewhere a blade opens it opens—
Little whir of planets.
Little stage of stars.
Like a missing color
a single green fly
arrives on my window
with his needles and his rhymes.
So late for summer.
It rains. Has rained
for days. Arroyos bring
their drowned ones,
their tinsel and swirl.
I dress for dinner,
my rings and my coat
of moths. Hold a mirror
to his pupil-less eyes.
Do you have a light? I ask.
The clouds continue to unravel.
The butcher next door
loves me, I tell him.
I return his favors, I tell him.
He drags a foot across an eye
while outside on the sill
the local empty bird
imitates my lover’s
viola. Imagine his despair!
All day singing the same minuet
for a single green fly
the color of sky.
A silverfish climbs from a shoe.
Sometimes I go to the theatre,
moonlight fragmented by heavy clouds.
Blowing snow. I receive, unexpectedly,
$100. I use it to buy what I need.
The boys here stretch and yawn
like animals. Soon they will break
each others heads open and no one will know—
the usual glitter. I passed a row
of reddish houses, a piano player in every one.
Dull thuds. I am no longer afraid.
In any event, one must speak clearly.
2. The Dream
She rises from a dream—
the drowned girl with muddy shoes.
Endlessly scrubbing the church
floor. Pushing back her hair.
Do you have a window, she says.
Says a plot, then? —No, I say,
weeping. The black Christ staring
behind us. —Only the light
from the door.
3. Return to the City
Meals are difficult—too much fish.
Moon fish, phosphorescent fish,
well fish. I myself drink nothing,
denounce unending dogs, bloodless sailors.
I am always sweeping
dirt from the sill.
Yesterday I found a cadaver in a canyon
between buildings. A floury white hand
against gray cement.
I don’t mean that I liked it.
Naturally, I wish for your health.
||And yes, I’ve seen the heart unravel
like a spool after years of tedious spinning,
not to mention care of the sheepyard
with its sloe-eyed visitors. One day the dye
is slightly off, a vat of ruined wool,
and then nothing’s right, we’re bankrupt,
it’s too late. I flashback to a scene
where I have killed or worse, you’re
about to say something fucked up
and we’re off, this time running
down the aisle, the marble floor
slick and risky, you in your sharkskin
jacket and me in my leopard print boots,
glissading past the priest, out his private door
and onto a lake of ice. Look around:
there’s an icehouse, a sky window,
birds frozen everywhere and not an icicle
in sight. Who would guess our breaths
are numbered, the atmosphere above
an impenetrable indigo? It’s a wonder
anything moves in the still still cold.
But listen to what clangs and rattles
just below the surface of us—
that familiar, unstoppable white noise.