Before blowing the gasket off
the manifold of the myth,
or at least subjecting
the myth to a radical re-tooling,
Darwin cites Bacon citing God
that Man cannot search too far
or too well in the book of God’s Word
and in the book of God’s works
in the margins of good science.
And still, so much rests on God as
the first cause and after that
is only effect after taxonomic effect.
Scribbled in the margin blows
the history of man’s hunger
for meat and the inductive logic
that shows him where to slit the throat.
St. Francis of Assissi loved Darwin,
if not his ism. But when he told
Charles that he loved his parrot,
Darwin put his clothes back on and,
as he buckled his belt,
he reminded Francis
that the parrot itself, like the chicken
or the egg, has nothing to do with origin.
The egg, unfertilized, is still edible.
The hen, who is not yet a chicken, learns to cackle dawn.
Β 24 HOURS
The dragonfly is Darwin’s most perfect creature. She swims,
Trapped on the Beagle
the Dragonfly lit
finger, shocked him
with her electric wire—Oh, Dr. Frankenstein,
cried Darwin. You have nothing on this flaky water nymph.
See how different the leaves of the cabbage are and how
extremely alike the flowers; how unlike the flowers of the heartsease
are and how alike the leaves; how much the fruit of different kinds of
gooseberries differ in size, colour, shape, and harriness, and yet the
flowers present very slight difference.
I shell peanuts for my dog—
Salt the earth—nip the fertile farm in the bud—
Salt of the earth—grandmother’s grandmother—eight daughters
and a plow. Salt: Language’s hydra.
into the mold
where it crisped
until the mold
was no longer the form
and the filler
formed the next mold
back into spore.
Sebastian Bach Livestock
Party frock Rachmaninoff
by the Panama canal
the Peruvian ocelot
lost his Mexican mate
and the cuckoo lost
her narrow nesting place.
the intention itself
spoils the outcome.
You must want instead—
a yellow fleshed plum
cut against the purple
of its skin and the yellow of your
skin. Ripped by purple lip.
The inside outed.
Cherry blossoms last longer
un-beed and un-stung.
On the shore
archipelago where trees
only bend to the wind.
Before: hoisted to a waist
After: you dove
right back into the water.
I sat still to keep the fish
from swimming away.
Ο SALAD DRESSING
What you can learn
from an animal in a zoo
or a plant in a garden
is that the weak find love.
Rabbits and ferrets
mate into ferbits—of course,
the ferbit is a dead-end
and does not lead to other
names like fabbits or rerrets
and no matter how many
times you say ferbit ferbit ferbit—
Well, Ok by the 9th time you’ve
at least born a new puppet.
Cats with blue eyes
are invariably deaf
In the desert where God lives,
when a sandstorm hits,
put your face down in the sand
and grip the silica with your fists
nose your ground. There, crystals stack
to leave between to breathe—like
pregnant women, their diaphragms
expressed—pack the sand deep
into their lungs and squeeze out
the air from in between like a bellows.
Turns out, the feature does not correspond
to sand swallowing but to that pre-selected
time when monkeys gave birth
upside down, and ate
sugar cane— ground it
in their mouths
and inhaled the granules.
When I was eight
or ten maybe
my best friend Tim King
and his friends
pushed me down
onto the no man’s land
between street and sidewalk
and sang the Queen song
“Another One Bites the Dust”
and I did not bite but
breathed it and came up
smiling ha ha funny boys.
When I tried to push
my other best friend,
she fell and broke her glasses
and no one sang
Another one down
Another one down
and they all said I was mean.
Θ VENDING MACHINE
Wolves are more the same than not.
Ν DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
Darwin’s pigeon, whose caudal & sacral
vertebrae measure equal proportion
allowing both flight AND distance,
flew to Dr. Darwin’s grandfather’s,
Dr Darwin’s, grave, and shat on the head-
stone to prove that honey you can’t love one.
Thus, the Rock Pigeon,
the platonic form of the pigeon,
is the granddaddy of all the pigeons
and yet, through lack of faith and volition,
ends up in New York City under a bridge
eating cheerios instead of seeds.
Madame Trousart, a renowned sheep breeder,
shocked herself by something
she had so purposefully done.
She took tweezers.
She pressed the scope.
She tickled the udder and pinched the teat.
She stuck her own long-nailed hand,
brimming with opal the way an oyster
shell cups its body cum tongue.
She did not thrust, did not spasm
but kneaded that reluctant cervix
until it opened like
an anemone. The uterine lining stung her fingers.
Her fingers opened a dove.
The face of nature may be compared to a yielding surface,
with ten thousand sharp wedges packed close together & driven inwards
by incessant blows, sometimes one wedge being struck, then another with
The pear tastes
its fat bulb
has been bred
to meet exactly
the slight space
between the lips
the yellow flesh veins
in an exhalation
that buries the kiss.
Variation Under Nature
Monster is outside—
she goes too far
she’s the one who calls at 4
in the morning to ask you
if what you meant what you said
when you said that she couldn’t
make a monkey love her fat ass
if you had really meant you
loved her and if you weren’t
hooked up with that twig
of a wife you’d like
to barrel into that fat ass of hers
like a doctor.
It wasn’t until the great famine
when your wife died so quickly that
you thought that she thought
that she might have had a point.
The X of the calendar
marks the thrill date to date
if you can just get there
make it that long
but the day passes
and you’re still waiting
for the tide to turn,
the bubble to burst,
for the rooks first move,
for the rose coloured glasses
shading pink pink pink.
Even in April, when everything IS
pink your nose is still
running, your hair is
flying, you’re turning into
a regular old witch
with a broom and
a cauldron and the magical power
to make another wrong choice.
F TEN TIMES TEN
The first rule of fertile ground:
let it be wet.
What is the pain of disappearance?
Darwin, stepping off the boat struggled
to find the one true bird.
The garden of eden, gone on,
thanks to the human having been
sent packing, had been left
to grow nothing but ugly.
Darwin swooned for his pouter pigeon.
In 7th Grade biology when we found
Kingdom Phyllum Class Order Family Genus Species and
referred to all life as organism my impatience proved me wrong again and
I blurted out orgasm. Only one person in the class giggled and only the
teacher blushed. Sex education doesn’t start until 10th grade.
Γ CARBON DATING
Things Darwin never considered:
Hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Pig gestation pens
But he would have thought of Dolly and would have attended
A donkey was sent packing
into the open air market with
20 LBS TNT strapped to his back.
The Donkey kneeled, the fuse lit
and the Donkey became part of the square.
I saw what you did
with Billy in the swing.
The teacher kisses her
& asks her was that it?
She’s unsure of the right
answer Her silence
undoes him. He undoes her.
He, a fair grader, understands
the variance between notches
—a B minus is not a C.
Did he do this?
He’s so careful with
the notches that
she’s sure to get an A.
x b n z o q l e a r s c w p d h y f v j u m i g k t
Birdman of the Black plague.
Ovid was not a liar.
A bear became a whale
not by metaphor but by metonymy.
The whale did not imagine
that the bear swimming next to him,
pulling insects into his cheeks like breell,
was anything like competition.
BE FRUITFUL & MULTIPLY
Beareth thou doubly. Make that which is light,
flesh. Eat thou the flesh of the apple and thou
willst conceive an apple for the eye. Eatest thou
the flesh of a mammal and thou shall go down
on all fours and bray like a donkey. The donkey
that walketh to Jeruselum shall walketh right back out.
It is probable that organs which at a very ancient period
served for respiration have actually converted into organs of flight.
ATHENA TO TELEMACHUS:
do I know the ways of birds clearly
The day before my father died, a bird
flew in my sister’s house through the back door,
open just to relieve the heat. He unfurled
his wings so quickly—all black feather,
flinging them at ceilings, breaking for the wall.
I opened a window to let him out
but the bird missed, instead hit the sill,
spun toward the ground, thrashed about
on the floor, finished his ranting.
Now still, it revealed color, broken star
sparkled starling, red and blue tinted wing.
We dared not touch it, afraid of flutter.
It wasn’t a premonition, just air
blown in from chaos, powerless as prayer.