Gasps
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
 
PART 42 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



42.
Nostalgia will never be outdated.
I am reciting that to stone walls.

The wind howls and howls against
stone walls protecting my eyes.

I become the wind on the other side,
condition precedent to becoming stone

walls. That is a better alternative,
don’t you see, than what I now detest,

what others have called “a woman’s
nature.” This ability to construct

a Home from barely-there twigs
of memory. I told you so many things

in the letters I never sent to your
blindness. I revealed so much

about stone, walls, and the wind
that doesn’t always blow them down.

Listen to Johnny Cash: to be a young
cowboy is to do wrong. This, too,

will be made irrelevant by the nostalgia
that mates stone, walls and wind

into a ménage a trois for which
my eyes remain distant and participant.

 
PART 41 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



41.
Sooner or later everyone begs.
Even those unsurprised

to discover themselves seated
in the grand salon of a luxury

ocean liner. Where portholes
frame insouciant sapphires.

Where pillars are covered
with red velvet.

Where my skirt is suede, my blouse
is suede, my gloves are suede.

Where you are telling me
a story of a certain hour

starring an innocent passer-bye
I had turned into my replacement

for a role requiring the bombing
of a black Citroen, as if karma is zero.


 
PART 40 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



40.
Children, be careful where you
build fences. Never should

barbed wire extend
against the blue of an ocean.

A silver wink suffices
for scarring color.

Memory, too, can commit
sins in the inhuman realm.

The strength of the intangible
is how no shield against it can defend.

See how winter light brings
a grey film that coats everything?


 
PART 39 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



39.
Between my thighs I was leaking
fire, fire, fire. “Fuck with

my business” and I drip, drip,
drip. You were the one who

opened your mouth. You, untouched
by others because of “an innocent

face.” Laugh. “Shining like
a beacon.” Laugh. “Skin scrubbed

and faintly pink with a pearlescent glow.”
Laugh. Then they held back dogs

to let you pass. Laugh. Drip. Laugh.
Fire. Laugh. You opened your mouth.

Laugh. Drip, drip, drip. Laugh.
Ye Ph.D. in Fire, your poems are mine.


 
PART 38 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



38.
Those in uniform always look
by pulling skin off

the faces of pilgrims. Nor do they feel
the flayed flesh sticking to seams

black beneath their fingernails.
To choose a uniform is to cancel

Truth. Listen now to their hymns—
always in a language so alien

it is foreign even to its speaker.
Nor do they see the fertile earth

where fields now lie fallow.
Bleat, bleat and more bleat.

My baby had a heart. My baby
had a heart. Damn you. My baby

 
PART 37 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



37.
Dyed my hair a cobalt blue
for that’s their color

in my dreams. Now
men begin to “look at me

by not looking at me.”
Of course. I am a creature

for which prudency dictates
the most furtive of manners:

the glance cutting
for slanting sideways.

Let me sample niceness
with a warning:

Beware your mustachioes!
I have bitten with my tiny

teeth. My tiny teeth have
bitten. When said teeth chatter

the sound released is
by a rattlesnake, not a baby’s

rattle. Not sound and fury
signifying nothing. Look at Moi!

Matadora lips form the fury of sound.
Whoooosh. Whoooosh. Whooooosh!


 
PART 36 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



36.
I earned a crown of thorns.
God rewarded my throat

with whiteness and a necklace
of rubies (though I pledged

to forego all gems after
the year that just ended. I broke

that promise -- so? It’s the least
of my sins). I earned a crown

of thorns for wrong translations
directed at war orphans. The least I can

do for my opposites: these fragile
ones too timid to ask for nothing.

Monday, September 29, 2003
 
PART 35 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



35.
Wind brushes with whispers
from men who brandished swords

and crucifixes. I know I’m being
watched. I hear peepholes. Saffron

scents air. Ambrosia de Castillo
reveals herself: “She tore the bandage

away, exposing her once perfect
breasts, now hideously ulcerated

and scabbed.” Such is the curse
of preferring flesh. A path strewn

with boulders, thorny bushes and
bladed cacti. A mountain path

over which swallows inadvertently dash
tiny heads against cliffs from sighting

“a smudge of blue sea.” What am I
dissembling here? Perhaps distractions

from a poor soul’s last wish as he
faced Africa: “Won’t you let me read

these words I wrote, just one more time?”
As if words were words instead of words.


 
PART 34 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



34.
Why did I write Part 33? What was I writing
in Part 33? Don’t I know, as you know,

poems conjure? Why do I wish to
foretell you into Ramon Llull, the first

liberation theologian who would write
The Book of the Lover and the Beloved?

As if witnessing you write for wife
over mistress would not slash my eyes.


 
PART 33 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



33.
No medicine for this just by having changed
its name from Loneliness. We both ran

like masters from rebellious slaves. I mis-
judged direction while you gauged with

precision. You also foretold accurately:
the stars will not speak of me while you

look at them from the island of Mallorca.
Such is the healing hue of which gold

also is capable. On Mallorca, to see
is to observe the world “from within a glass

bowl smeared with honey.” Not to mention
“the rhythm of shepherds and fishermen.”

I would have told you its coves are not
truly “paradisiacal” but you would not have

believed. Or you would have believed
but it would have been irrelevant as

you simply needed then to flee. Still, it is now.
You’ve left the island for me. Approach.

 
PART 32 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



32.
Listen. It’s okay. I know you’re wounded.
I know you won’t blind yourself. Now your eyes

stab yourself by seeing my body define
Loss in a path mythologized by astigmatic

historians as Transcendence. You have never
lacked imagination. But it’s okay. No need for false

bonhomie through, say, an unnecessary “thanks!”
complete with exclamation point to send

an e-mail that’s more accurately signifying
you miss me. (Maybe you’re not so

reticent after all.) Weren’t you the one
who kept insisting “broken bones knit”?

You said you couldn’t go there but you did.
Evil can be delicious. That we partook…

...what’s the use? Skip the answers that lie.
So. Listen. It’s okay. I’m not only

knitting. I’m on weeks at the weight
machines hewing my limbs until, soon,

a mere flicker from biceps shall suffice
to unfurl these massive black wings.


 
PART 31 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



31.
Once, you said you saw me in the color of
the clarifying sky, sun settling for the

Seigne. But of course! No, of course not.
Such foolishness. I am bigger than what others

want for me: the Pulitzer for recording
the idiosyncracies of the muse. Yadda, yadda,

yadda. Once, Spain battled France for
a mural discovered by the new owner

of an atelier formerly commandeered by
the Germans. Did I get those nationalities

right? Ah, yadda, etcetera. The court ruled
the painting belonged to the atelier owner,

a private citizen who sold the masterpiece to
the highest bidder in New York. On that

painting, the sun set deliberately on the Seigne.
Fire deliquescing onto water that, naively,

created a reflection for the sun that should be
anthropomorphized for believing its position rules.

That this Part 31 is muddled and muddy
befits its mistaken stance of being

anti-nature. As if light never lingers
on the peaks of mountains that broke to rise.


 
PART 30 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



30.
When we met, you had stopped singing.
A wife, three sons, a mistress -- your momentum

for days bereft of my eyelashes. When we met
I was singing diamonds gleefully stolen from

the realm of silence. THE REALM OF SILENCE!
Of course you and I _______________________.

But for the record, I returned you to the others
-- the choice not between me or your

scaffolding. The choice was strict: between
you and non-you. You singing now with family

consistently seated in the front row (the mist
-ress in the back) is the conclusion that forms

muscle to the wax linking my feathers together.
Your joy, my necessity. My necessities, not

my joys. For me, the bliss of scavenging.
I love stealing jewelry for my flesh that is

supposed to be unadorned: a fate my
collecting eyes have yet to accept.

God, how I adore diamonds! I am stringing
together a rosary of solid light. With each bead,

Lord, I shall pray you poems so blasphemous
I shall sing vampires back into your non-Paradise.


 
PART 29 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



29.
Cicadas never shrilled from verdant distance.
Sunburnt metal of red Lamborghini never seared

my buttocks bared when you lifted ________

___________________________________
___________________________________


“How do two people remember the same
event?” This did happen: you chained

me with the gold necklaces of a customer
‘s plump wife. You made someone else’s history

ours, as so many others have co-opted our
history -- like this lyric that never occurred.


Sunday, September 28, 2003
 
PART 28 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



28.
When departure occurs and nothing
replaces the one who departed

_______________________________
_______________________________

_______________________________
_______________________________

_______________________________
_______________________________

_______________________________
_______________________________

_______________________________
_______________________________

_______________________________
_______________________________

Sensual detail here is inserted – e.g. what
moved you to moan, “Do with me

whatever you want.” You said it…thrice.
But no taste, no scent, no feel. No felt.

Memory cannot replace what is desired
in the present and future. So: _______

_______________________________
_______________________________

As I said, I loathe Provence. Light has never
been, is not, and will never be butter or candy.


 
PART 27 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



27.
So it comes to this: a lovers’ quarrel
between two who never tasted

“desire’s anarchy overruling rhetoric.”
I have been shredding your letters,

not wanting our Poetry to depend on
the act we shared but never shared.

In 1969, astronauts landed on the moon.
We were alive then, and equally oblivious

to the veer of our paths seeking each
other’s trajectories. I am writing now

about your tongue bathing my hair. We
remain equally oblivious. I stuffed

hair into your mouth so capable, once,
of parting so wide. Now, non-sweet Reticence.

 
PART 26 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



26.
Actually, I’ve long lost touch
with the definitions of certain words:

obscenity, blasphemy, sin, morality.
I had to lose their culpable narratives

to understand something else (like
the passion of spiders) whose color

burnt me to ash (but pretty ash)
which only made me ever more enamored

of its singular raiment -- is that Egyptian
cotton with a thousand-thread-per-inch count?

This Word uplifts by destroying. No,
I am not thinking of “Poetry” or “Love.”

This Word destroys in order to…
but never mind that Word. The

moral -- moral? -- I meant to share
is that I did not anticipate needing

to recover words I had disposed.
It seems I sacrificed the wrong curses

while exploring the significance of my tongue
so promiscuous it even penetrated the sacred

curls slipping from beneath your blinding halo.
Nonetheless, Dear Reticent One, other words

fail to replace the hummingbirds’ drinking water
flavored with sugar. What stabs is that you will

never admit creating false idols with glimmer, gleen,
hint, wink.
To be a second-generation Merleau-

Ponty is to be as pale and matte as “compromised.”
That is sadness: my story that will never overlap with yours.

Let me fail to distract by noting my prayers for
the brown bird whose broken wings forced it to stay

on a concrete parking lot until noon arrived. The sun,
while non-judgmental, burnt it into ash with the same

light that’s inspired such sonnets as “Ode”
and the millions of letters I sent to seduce you.

 
PART 25 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



25.
What is most obscene to my eyes
(that have memorized the interiors of museums

dedicated to bones) is the field of your pristine
chest. A blank page lacking edges. A desert

expanse unforgiving for withholding visual relief
through a horizon’s line or the verticality of a tree,

even one devoid of leaves. After the kind of ravishment
only we can claw at each other, I swear

our nerve endings would have been
so taxed not a millimeter of our skin

would not have been numbed.
I would have taken, then, the nearest

blade to carve an initial on your chest. The letter
would not have been of my name but one more

powerful for its necessary step of pause,
then the remembering -- thus, emphasizing -- “Aaaaah.”

But the ravishment you promised never occurred.
And

 
PART 24 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



24.
I feel myself as you have never
caressed this skin. Here are generous breasts

that shall never droop. Whose tips
were never anointed by the wine

in your goblet, precursor to your suckling lips.
“When Christ was dying on the cross

it was a windy day too. Each tear he shed
was whipped in fury and carried to the

Mediterranean Sea to fall like a translucent
purple pear on the barren earth of Provence.

Each pearl turned to a seed, and the seed
to a vine and the vine to grapes. That is why

wine is the blood of Christ and each autumn
raisin is sweet, because Christ’s tears

were not from his pain, but his joy.”
I loathe Provence -- its lavender, its honey,

its wildflowers, its pollen as gold as the ring
you never pierced into the skin between my thighs.


 
PART 23 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



23.
The mistral polished the sky
into transparent sapphire.

No consolation there. Today’s
revelation: to be fearful on behalf

of another is to become more
courageous. That path is lost

to me who shall remain virgin
forever as regards prams and diapers.

I only chose lavender soap
to evoke someone else’s Provence childhood.

Then, “naked, hair trembling,” I ran to you
wanting corruption from your urban kisses.

Yes. That dim alley in Berlin?
I would have dropped to my knees.


 
PART 22 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



22.
Note to Self: Publish this book
in the reverse order you wrote it.

End with Part 1. End to begin
all over again. No one ever teaches

what the end of the circle reveals.
If life is a process, it’s not

the circle cherished by monks with
beaming smiles. Life is a spiral

-ing into a void where sin exists only
if one won’t move fast enough to

collapse North from South, East from
West, Top from Bottom, He from

He, She from She, You from You,
I from I, colors from muddling each other.



 
PART 21 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



21.
I am the author and if I could lose this book,
I most definitely! I sing as well

as I make tea! That’s me with the name:
Missy Can’t Boil Water But Can Melt Teapot!

But you keep calling me to the stage. I detest
the word “diva” but become said diva to wave

a canape. To signify the midst of my overdue
dinner. But you insist. Rude but cheerful

just like a fallen angel. Fine, chicken
drumstick clutched in one hand, I embark

on the fado with much kohl-lined dignity.
Everyone forgets my lips are greasy.

........................................Everyone forgets.

The floor is stomped and stomped again. Aptly.
But the guitar? Whose fingers are bleeding

on the taught strings? Who is the singer
manipulating my breath? If I could lose

the book I would. I am telling you
more than mano a mano because I am

woman: never mind the song
if it’s bigger than the singer. Rain lashes

windows. I lash back at hurricanes:
that story was concocted by man

not God. Song larger than singer?
That overrated story. Heaven is in us!


Saturday, September 27, 2003
 
PART 20 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



20.
“I deny the patience of water.”
This poem is not written in English.

This non-poem is not written.
I have memorized all failed suicide

notes regurgitated from civilized society.
I recall one where rusty leaking

made my tiny nose snort: I would
have done otherwise but I could not bear…


Cut-off letter. Who cares? Don’t
bother to tell others (though not my eyes)

ambiguity has turned me brutal. Your
persistent joy manifests the most

maximal form of cruelty. Bleat, bleat….
I am just saying. I am just saying

for the spit that speech disgorges
to corrode all vestiges of sentimentality

more resilient than cockroaches.
Like dust stubbornly trapped within my hems.

Wings grow stronger, sure. But the plump
-ness of my lips refuse to recede. To heighten

the irony of my seductive powers raging
as strong as ever when, nowadays,

I share conversation only with mute
reflections haunting the glass cracking with age.

I drink wine only with throatless reflections
haunting glass gilding its inevitable antiquity.


 
PART 19 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



19.
We met in a cell, remember? You did not
wear sackcloth, pretending to be priest,

monk, or anyone whose profession is prayer.
In your Italian shirt horizontally striped with

green, blue, yellow -- let’s just say rainbow --
you met me in a cell, remember? From where,

despite perpetually open door I would not
leave. I settled for imagined images

of sunlight splashing each morning
the stone steps at the far end

of the hallway beyond the threshold
memorized by my knees and hair.

We formed our intimacy through persevering
days when you, brow furrowed, watched

me prefer stone walls over the stone eyes
of still-breathing men. You. Simply watch

-ing until I began to behave as informed
by the knowledge of you watching me.

Does history exist if it dies without physical
manifestation? Not the first time I ask since,

you know, we cannot speak of it or speak it or…
that night, your hand cupped my belly…?

For descendants to know what your eyes
memorized and that your eyes memorized

I would have to reveal my “sky” was a
computer screen. “Empty” can be translated

infinitely when no translation exists. But
my fate, according to angels, is not to collaborate.


 
NAMING

Must update the title of this series. It's

FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS

The history of fallen angels -- unclear whether that can really be known. If not, then how does one footnote what cannot be articulated....except through Poetry?

I suppose one could Lie -- that would be reality, not Poetry....

This is a Poetry Blog. All fictions are truth.


 
PART 18 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


18.
My nipples ache. I am burning your
letters. Steel and hands continue to crush

grapes in wine country where tourists
believe they prevail. The spell continues to

elude. A spell to kneel you, brow pressed
against my door. But no more doors exist

to my exile. I am Rapunzel who cut her hair
to weave a rope for leaving her turreted nest.

That is, I am the older version of Rapunzel
unknown to purveyors of fairy tales. I am

Rapunzel who, having experienced this
so-called “marvelous world,” returned

to my antique jail by climbing the rope still
scented with jasmine and still dangling from

the turret that refuses its ruins. After clambering
over the windowsill, I unlatched the hair rope to

toss it back at the planet whose denizens
-- or simply you -- betrayed me. Here

I now sit with short hair, spinning banners
from stray breezes. That I sleep nearer

to my beloved sky provides zero consolation.
I have never desired compensation.

Is this Justice then? That I am alone
between earth and sky? Between you and

the destiny you insisted you could not betray?
A destiny you insisted is the embrace

I have sought all my human life? Foolish saint.
“Sky” is not synonymous with “Heaven.”

Heaven, Damned Reticent One, was the water
you would not convey to my parched tongue.


 
PART 17 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


17.
My elbow just struck the teeth
of a wolf. It glared with yellow

eyes, then ran off, melting into
night. Where am I? Damn you.

Once, you asked, “Where are you?”
You bludgeoning man were not

searching for me. Despite your
hearty agreement -- my wings are lovely,

my beasts are lovely, my lips are
lovely. Even my nonexistent waist

is lovely --
you say “lovely” is overrated
compared to a word like “holy.”

Damn You. Damn Me. You turned
me into a wolf with golden but

useless eyes while you were the
very furtive creature who escaped.


Friday, September 26, 2003
 
PART 16 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


16.
I’ve shown you more of my scars
than any other human has seen.

It wasn’t enough to seduce you.
So why remain hovering? Nice?

Don’t need nice from you. You
mortal saint. I chose a poem

between said poem and my baby. Muse
punishes me now by withholding

fertility. Fidelity. Damn muse. Why
didn’t you simply slap me

hard, proclaim, “Don’t be silly”,
proclaim, “Don’t be mad!” Proclaim, “Goose!”

I committed a sin, yes. But so
did this muse I share with poets

across centuries baying at the moon
as if it had cleavage, beating their chests

while leaning over the crumbling edges
of cliffs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You

hear me out, then whisper another stiletto
through my tears: “Eileen, I love you.”


 
PART 15 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


15.
I lied. Sometimes, my midnights do
not cancel the stars. Or

moon, whose liquid light reeks
of jasmine, steeled by motes

of green leaf tobacco. Should I
reveal the significance to how

I know the difference between
“cigar box” and dewed leaves

still battling wind over boiling fields?
I could say, “I am the expatriated

daughter of tobacco farmers.” You
would hear, “I can be myself

only in exile.” Another old
story. Myth even, insolently reminds

a cartoon character poking its head
onto the bottom of this page. When,

perhaps, I merely betrayed a country
whose weather is limited. Where

I come from, the air is usually over
-heated. And a tiresome virgin to fog.


 
PART 14 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


14.
No. Of course “You” is not
a haven. Just because “I”

is rarely the source of peace
I lean on you. But this is not

a song from a Hollywood movie
hoping for a golden trophy.

Notwithstanding the bird
who died trying to penetrate

the double-sided glass I ordered
for the windows. Tiny bird,

hence, tiny crushed head. Logic
dictated my empathy, what with

my own dinged forehead. Instead,
I found myself muttering, ill

-tempered, “Foolish. So foolish.”
After my wedding, my new husband

and I rode in different cars
to the reception. His parents

thought nothing of reclaiming
him while I was too polite to

protest. That’s okay. Form
mirrors ultimate Content.

Tonight, let me rely on blood
welling up to sheathe my eyes

as I finger gray flesh while
asking you and “you” and You:

Who amongst you broke my
lovely bottle of lovely absinthe?

 
PART 13 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


13.
Surely you suspected my intimacy
with men who, faced with moonlight,

pull down hat brims or woolen caps?
Sssshhhhh, I can hear your eyes

before you become once more
an etched seam. A blank line

_______________________
for me to fill in the narrative

I desire. I desire you whispering
--“which is to say,” your lips

nibbling with each letter – “to live
is to collaborate.” Once, I revealed

this hope in the aftermath of shared
laughter. Your face blanked.

You became more distant than
a priest behind a latticed screen.

But you were moved when I wept.
You invited me to take

off my shoes, loosen the top buttons
of my blouse, unpin my hair combs,

though also pretend you have never
been the role you now refuse: Home.


 
PART 12 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


12.
So many secrets form a day.
What about a life? Never

mind a life. What about
one hour in a hotel room?

I envy the tip of your tongue
for knowing the interior of my

ear. Once, I suggested, “Taste
of quince?” You only laughed,

Dear Cruelly Mischievous One.
Laughter neither confirms nor

disagrees. Laughter is like
Poetry. Or our Secret. It simply Is.


 
PART 11 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


11.
Fortunately, Pygmalion will never
become disillusioned with my hair.

I never betrayed girlhood with
cruelty, using whispers as daggers.

I still don’t today when, at forty
-three, I prove that, yes, time

consistently kills passion. This is
a discourse that makes me want

to tear off my clothes so I can
surround you -- quite a difference

from you penetrating. Pathos, here,
is defined by how I twist words

in yet another attempt to seduce
you into falling with me. Falling, I

plead: Fall with me. Oh, this memory of
Damn You. Damn Me. Damn You.

“My head bends, my mouth touches
my breasts, my lips taste a spot

of milk on thickening brown nipples.”
Love, yes, “is not about going back

but moving toward something.” So kiss
the stumps of my fresh wings. You

are the one who memorized
my sobbing. Damn You. Help me

make my tears a color.
Kiss my tears into sunlit blue.


Thursday, September 25, 2003
 
PART 10 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


10.
Do you remember the chateau
where you and I never slept

but compromised for a tango?
Velvet blackened my breasts.

You demanded velvet despite the heat.
A scene that will never be

immortalized on holiday postcards.
Beyond stone ruins, gawking villagers.

Your lips on my thigh lifted in a disguise
called “tango.” Nothing hapless about

a broken crown. Eldest sons, when royal,
are meant to be broken lest

they never become human. Ach!
The author got it wrong and fiction

does not provide an excuse.
Birds don’t chatter from

the canopy of fig trees. Simply, birds
eat the damn figs! Things so obviously

meant to be split -- things that
are too histrionic not to become

overripe -- are meant to be eaten
mercilessly. Because you would not

partake, you fueled my wings.
Damn you, proclaims this ingrate.


 
PART 9 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


9.
If “love’s innocence is a candle
that burns only once…,” yes

I am back to reading a book
whose author is wise for his

indifference to us. Beyond the borders
of this book lurks a man

who taught me a weekend
more than suffices for burning

down a candle into a mere mark
staining a table. A mark doomed

to obscurity. Not discernible
from the detritus of other, more benign

sources, say, the bottom of a glass
that bore the only matter truly

innocent in the universe -- so innocent
it retains its innocence: water.

Meanwhile, I have been drunk
all month for September begins

harvest season in wine country.
Trucks filled with grapes cruise

the valley’s streets. All winery hands
engage in crushing grapes. The air

is permeated with the scent of
wine-making, a process mirrored by

how the poet drinks the muse’s blood,
tears, sweat, saliva…tears.

Anonymous hands toss bundles of
grapes into steel crushing machines.

Sweet juice pours into barrels promising
alchemy via fermentation. From another

end, husks of grapeskins, leaves, stems,
and bugs tumble out -- dessicated leftovers

like my gray, faltering hands. Deveined
hands hunting for blood through words

wanting my fingernails to be painted
once more with Bordello Crimson.


 
PART 8 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


8.
Such dissembling. These clouds
subverting stars into static.

I even wished for the opera of a barking
dog from behind stone gates. What use

this lavender light? They reveal
cherry trees whose twisted

branches become an orphan’s thinning
ancestors. These eyes sunk deep between

wooden wrinkles. They watch me, of course, as I
open an envelope. “Naked, hair trembling,” I

pull out a letter addressed after all
to me: “Do not open.” Geez – am I not

Buddha? What use this lavender light?
Now staining this page you read to feel

useless resonance. Useless and embalmed
like eyes replacing knotholes on tree barks.


 
PART 7 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


7.
Bee pollen fraying a dropped halo
on my hair, fusing me to earth.

Absinthe tunneling its moss
through my opened veins.

Rosemary an innocent respite
by scenting a grilled rabbit’s skin.

Grease on our greasy lips
then your head lowering.

Tears leaving my boiled cheeks
for your heaving shoulders

Had I looked up
I would have seen

stars shaking loose
from the cobalt face of summer.

But no. The downcast position
allowed the witnessing, thus this

description, of tears that predicted
joy exists only before the gods must

disillusion us who believed
“as a couple we were exempt.”


 
PART 6 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


6.
I am so ordinary. Not
the first, certainly, to traffic

in secret compromises
in order to survive. My version

of The Lapsed Virgin. I force
myself to memorize maps.

But I always lose myself
when doubling back from

even a route I mastered
to go somewhere shiny and new.

I consistently return “well past
midnight.” Returning, I become

a postman envying letters
that accomplish journeys

between fixed destinations. And
during my night movements I am less

than a thief whose raised face
receives the benediction of sluttish

light. After my midnights, no moon.
Nor a glimmer from the farthest star.


 
PART 5 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


5.
So unfair how war transforms
a postman into a king.

So unfair when the one boasting
a uniform that will never

dodge bullets may now categorize
my ever-cushiony lips as “red

as the wine in a duck
sauce, or crimson as raspberry

sorbet.” A mere paper
-pusher. But he pushes from

you to me, me to you.
Unfair. So unfair an insolence

cannot peak the litany of sufferings.
Fine, I’m back to reading

a book instead of living, pre-book.
But don’t be distracted from seeing

blood on my fingers
when I never fought on a battlefield

grayed by ammunition smoke. Pale
but still authentic blood

of betrayals. Will absinthe
hurt a fetus already semi-starved?

You did not desire this privileged
position: unfairly, you possess the answer.


 
PART 4 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


4.
How to write Part 4
when Part 3 is forgotten?

Was there mention of
unmentionables, e.g. a failed pregnancy?

E.g., sacred mornings where birds
blanched from our lack of the most

transparent curtains? Historians are
the amoral – nay, immoral –

ones for lacking imagination.
For ignoring footnotes. For

reducing me to a convenient label:
Princess of Absinthe. The golden

green honey obviates the grayness
of my body, yes. Still. A history

of reliving penultimate past
was tedious the first time. Nor do birds

trill over how lapsed memory burnishes
light in a pleasing and unique way.


Wednesday, September 24, 2003
 
PART 3 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


3.
Shivery night. Breath-starved silver.
Battling to surface. Dew hunting

moonshine. Sundering night. Off
the road animals open their eyes.

All teeth now vampiric. Of course
You called me “My

Dearest Love.” Of course
I heard “Desperate Love.”

People rarely discuss how the muse
weathers a job called inspiration.

The gloriously wide-winged
butterfly turns gray. Wings of

widening dusk her fate. O, loneliness
while the gods remain deaf to self-pity.

“Immolation” translated as “lazy.”
We forget the planet

is always at war somewhere.
Somewhere, skeletons limp

on back roads with empty packs,
“plunging into bushes at

the slightest sound of someone
‘s approach.” I, too, wish

to disappear into my shadow.
But another flaw of gray is

incompetence as a mask. Lousy
translucence. So that, bleeding, I plead

for the return of my blood
now lingering as the sheen

over your very muscular eyes.
Damn You. Damn Me. Damn You.

I ache for the return of the left
breast removed from the skirted member

of the French Resistance.
Damn You. Damn Me. Damn You.


 
PART 2 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES

(to “Fallen Angel” series)


2.
On rain-slick streets
I was coming to you

knowing I will never be
the same again. Wet

daggers slashed at the Seine.
“Ahead loomed the cathedral.”

Of course I have lapsed
back to reading a stranger’s book.

This hunger to tell of you
to turn you into a muscled chest

against which I lean while
your eyes lower to inhale

burning jasmine masquerading
as my hair. A stranger is more

intimate than you, Mr. Reticence.
You have broken me.

You broke me. “Twelve stone

apostles gazed down at me.”
Mass had already begun…

I cling to you for you know
how to seduce a woman

of my kind: I outrival the Parisienne
who can fashion a million

scarves from a single scarf.
Jesus multiplying loaves and fish.

Who gathers -- no, harvests -- the dusty
feathers of fallen angels from marble

grottos perpetually shrouded in dusk?
I do. How do you think I

fashioned my wings? I’m no angel.
Even one who fell. I’m …

Wait, you don’t want to hear
what you already know. And I

know you know. “I could not see
you but heard your heartbeat.”




 
100 FOOTNOTES

Yesterday, I began this series that I expect to have 100 parts. A first draft of Part I was first posted in my Hay(na)ku Blog. The version below is the latest (for now). I'm going to start posting the series here as I continue writing it. So, gasp! come fall with me....!



FOOTNOTES
(to “Fallen Angel” series)

“For,the,sin,of,Nothing.
--from “104” by Jose Garcia Villa


1.
A delinquent beauty. Scabrous
stones leaning in defiance

of gravity. Once hearth
to a predator. Now a perversion

of an otherwise bucolic
scene. It begins in Reigne

with old columns from
a Roman gate. I was amazed

at the cars lining narrow streets.
Shiny limousines from Paris, Zurich,

London and Madrid. An auction.
A drawing. A “her” sketched

between sips of wine as she
prepared dinner by a gamboling fire.

“Even in black and white
her cheeks burned with promise.”

Did the billionaire bidders with bared teeth
notice the high forest ripe with truffles

and wildflowers? My Love --
all this is from the latest book

trapping my hands: the exercise a “code
for distraction.” I am inhaling

Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez.
I write this poem to share

a story I am permitted
to reveal. Not the frozen

blank page that must remain
our lyric. Sanchez also observes

“historians know nothing of private
universes where mortals exist

at their most vulnerable.”
Before my eyes began to leak

forth this poem, I wrote
another one: A “hay(na)ku.”

A form concocted in the cauldron
of a 21st century witch addicted to

the open veins of fallen angels and known
by the post avant as “Eileen Tabios”:

Eyes
permanently damp
wound the night



Wednesday, September 03, 2003
 
FROM A MENAGE A TROIS

Here's a poem from my forthcoming collection MENAGE A TROIS WITH THE 21ST CENTURY (early 2004) that, um, gasps. Two couplets towards the end of Section 1 are featured in brackets to denote that they are supposed to be presented with that line striking through them, but I don't know how to do that (or accent marks) via Blogger:


Park City, Utah
Where Gabriela Went Skiing (I)


1.
Together, we have only imagined the sky
a trapdoor with a lost key now seducing eagles

whose darting eyes never reveal affection--
Once, yours did (the setting the back seat of a cab)

which made me gather fallen petals
from roses gifted by an unnamed chambermaid--

I pressed them between the pages of a diary
I never write in but treasure for its lavender mink cover--

Another guest pacing the carpet has a secret lover--
Unlike you, she politely brought Hungarian crystal

bearing flowers whose lives last longer than an afternoon
tryst. Not that I deride stockbrokers

their hopes for another profession--
their boredom with pinstripes, “the European cut”

or ties emblazoned with purple stirrups--
In the museum the guards are dozing

except for one nicknamed “Petty Sergeant Napoleon”
and another written on the bathroom wall

with vermilion ink as “Missy Push-Up Bra.” Furtively
I am stroking a linear shadow that passes as my cleavage

by pretending to play with Mama’s pearl necklace--
such is the nature of my longing--

Somewhere, a window is opening
to enable a limping, masked burglar to grin

from dancing visions of fully-paid dental bills--
He will be disillusioned by a short-haired dog

trained to reject poisoned steak tartare
dribbling from a stranger’s palm cupped before its chin--

In Moscow, my cousin Harry chooses to ignore
the Mafia and winter’s muddy streets--

Cabbages crowd food stalls
hiding brown, gooey cores. In Moscow

my cousin Stella tries to weather
“discourtesies” and the onset of scar tissue

after surgery removed a football-sized tumor--
I keep counting the days as if enumeration

will decrease their number. But
no matter how many soap opera plots

I try to follow meticulously (lately, I take notes)
not everything succeeds in distracting me

from opening a closet door to reach toward the top shelf
for a cardboard shoe box encased in silver electrical tape

where a revolver with numbers filed off
contains one bullet--

I have wondered why I will not release
this souvenir of olden times

when I was always tempted to spank the fates--
I try not to spend too much time on the question

just as I would wish to ignore etchings which won’t fade
from my wrists had I chosen a different weapon--

I am focused on longing for our first child--
perhaps a son with your brains

your mother-of-pearl toenails and thicker locks of hair
ideally with my eyes--those portals to the soul--

for I am not as frigid as you--
Oh, do not scoff: genius is overrated--

You conceded that long ago
when your throat quivered while your knees crumpled

against the slow lapping of my promiscuous tongue
as I held you by the ears to press your nose between my breasts--

you called the “generous grazing” by my moth-stung lips
on the dented helmet for your brain

the best reason for Einsteins to bear brows
as broad as groomed terrain favored by

intermediate skiers on the Rocky Mountains
traversing Park City, Utah--

Somewhere I have paid an entry fee
for a private club I did not wish to join--

Somewhere I have swallowed rank soup
to please a yellow face above a stained apron--

Somewhere I have prevented a murder
by entering a church and committing a blasphemy--

Somewhere I have hindered a divorce
by seducing one spouse, then the other--

Somewhere I have never comforted a girl
crying, “I’ve become a smelly Russian cabbage!”

[[Somewhere I have kneeled in a back alley
conducting “research for a poem”--

which was another in my long string of lies
as I only meant to please you--]]

Here, the snow fell all night, compelling
cassava-cheeked tourists from Berlin to cheer

and raise their ski poles to penetrate
this sunlit sapphire you and I have named “sky”

then renamed as that which we will always share--
We were in a world waiting to happen--



2.
We were in a kingdom waiting to happen,
where a palace contained empty double-thrones--

No one would have shouted a challenge
had we chosen to sit on silk damask cushions--

Beribboned banners replete with impressive designs--
like dragons or roses or full clusters of grapes--

would have waved at whatever we mustered--
We were in a world waiting to happen--



3.
A red-eyed train sat at a station
smoking itself to depart. Uniformed men

bustled to lift leather suitcases and trunks
monogrammed with gold crowns--

I was straddling two steel cars, pressing a lace handkerchief
against my lips to dam any further pleas--

You had one leg on a steel step, the other
planted firmly on ground, its gravel still wet

from an unseasonal rain. My eyes were serene
for which I thank my childhood gods--

Your lips were moving, perhaps telling
the truth--for instance, “It’s better this way”--

We were in a world waiting to happen--
You pointed towards the sky

where clouds were sundering to signal
imminent exits. Between their fractures

a blue color peaked through as a promise
the same color of the chilled sky

in Park City, Utah making the same vow
with words I can no longer recall

but am certain comprised a pledge
from a world still waiting to happen--



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