Gasps
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
 
WILL YOU BE MOVED TO ROUND IT UP TO 100?

From my CorpsePoetics Blog:

I've just posted the entire series of the Footnotes to the History of Fallen Angels. Now, do note that there are only 99 poems posted, but it is "100" if you round it up. And, yes, dear Reader -- that's the space I gave to you, if you wish it: round up 99 to 100. Because that act, if you are so moved to do it, is a metaphor for how I [hope] the reader invests hirself in my poems[...]

As one might expect, some of the poems are better than others. But (to my own surprise) I actually don't think it's a bad body of "first draft, last draft" work generated over 15 days. I am not belaboring this to brag (for once). I am belaboring this because I want to raise one of the ten thousand sub-texts to this project. To wit: I want to show that *writing* a poem is not that difficult...it's living the Poetry that's a true challenge....


Note on Blogger: I posted the poems as I wrote them, which means that they're featured -- via Blogger format -- in reverse chronological order. But I actually feel the series's poems can be read in any order, regardless of how they were chronologically written. That seems fitting if a Poem is to transcend time...

May the poems cause you to fly as I would wish for you the experience behind the sky,
Eileen



Tuesday, October 07, 2003
 
PART 99 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



99.
Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse,
Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse

Those who helped the muse of Velazquez
write her Love’s Autobiography

form a short list of names. For shame...!
I am writing a long list of your name,

your name, your name, your name…
A list that shall never end “(perhaps)”

for my pen writing your name will cease
only if I ( “undress” to) lose this liturgy.

You deciphered that code for me,
ignoring my desired translation:

               “Verily would I shed clothes
               to lose my name in yours.”

Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse,
Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse…

I would wear the black smock of
a “Good Woman,” carry a spindle

from room to room. But each drop of
the spindle would be my anti-Lord’s Prayer:

Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse,
Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse…


I would not miss my rose-skirted gowns
or earrings of sapphire birds.

I would not miss the fast horses.
I would not miss half-spoken sentences.

I would not miss the cache of stones
I netted in my skirt to protect Magdalene…

Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse,
Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse, Muse…

 
PART 98 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



98.
Velazquez’s Las Meninas
reveal God In All His Glory

cracking a dark mirror.
“Apollo! Not another woman!”

Obra culminate
de la pintura universal.


I long for your eyes
the same color as mine.

Did I tell you of squeezing
limes over papayas?

I can borrow them from
another poem. I want to lick

your juicy chin, your lips
parted by the blindfold.

Or you can lick my juicy chin,
my lips parted by the blindfold.

 
PART 97 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



97.
We understand this misunderstanding
as something that must remain

untouched. O, air leaving palms split-
ting for three crosses… O, ex-Taste…


Degas wrote as he became blind:
“The heart grows rusty if unused.”

Come over for breakfast. I have
mastered lime squeezed over papaya.

I no longer believe, “A mistress makes
for a better poet than doth a wife.”


 
PART 96 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



96.
It’s not the dress. It’s the woman.
I dress in holes parading through

chateauxes. Let me tell you, children:
Crucifixion is the least of it.

Lace is lovely, but why work
the needle? Leave the fairy

footprints to pink faeries. I am
woman telling you, You are

Woman!
To make tapestries
possible, Diana hunted stags.


 
PART 95 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



95.
I obviated atheism
for a critic. I destroyed

a critic’s career.
Preen! Hell shrunk!


 
PART 94 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



94.
The favor I will never ask you:
something tangible for moi verbose lips,

its Platonic approximation the pale coins
of dough sold as flayed from the flesh

of God’s Son. My bedtime prayers as
you watch from the other side of a half-

open door scores the dry litany, “More,
More…” You are sumptuous fragility. For

you, I shall end these poems by opening
the book I shall write entitled Silence.

I was orphaned by Truth, hence ancestry:
haeretici perfecti dragging me by the hair

through left over days scaffolded by
your distance behind a wall of woven holes.

You pledge: “I vow the constancy of mine
eyes.” How to hold on to that when I remain

Sincerely Yours, An Avid Meat-Eater?
Recall the “shivering beef” we shared

with villagers of Montaillou. Afterwards,
you bathed in my hair. Afterwards, our

trance of translating the Bible into
the vernacular. Vernacularly now,

Fuck it! I am blathering. I can blather
all I want. I never hid my Faith as

one of betrayals. While those who hurt
me -- thus you -- were simply cheats.


 
PART 93 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



93.
We outsmarted ourselves: our non-
marriage means no divorce.

O revelation swooning eternity…
Your ring hangs between my thighs,

illegal on purpose. The sun sinks
into the sea, casting golden light

“into a small bedroom carved into
the cliffs” as crickets announce night.

We survive the world by living
on an island shaped as a comma,

a profile irrelevant to the sea
our island interrupts, irrelevant

to birds, lizards, fishermen who do not
pause. Quite fraught with significance

to local seers who know to pause,
but they are false prophets after all.

Your ring hangs between my thighs.
You love to yank me forward, growl

with zero pauses, “Come here
with zero pauses, my non-Wife.”


 
PART 92 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



92.
Once, I was so committed
to Communism, I prostituted

myself. Those who bought me
reminded me of light. The problem

with slogans is their deadening
effect similar to sex “with hands tied.”

 
PART 91 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



91.
I was watching as you prowled
through Pigalle’s brothels searching

for women resembling my eyes.
You found a young gypsy who fled

Barcelona, only to discover herself
even more hunted in Paris. “When

her tongue came into me, I felt
the tip of her loss,” you say.

Her tongue, my tongue. No need
to marvel why she brought my scent

into your atelier. You painted her mourn
-ing and, like a poem, it is universal.

I do understand: you withhold to give
X times more than what I said I wanted.


Monday, October 06, 2003
 
PART 90 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



90.
I wanted to be the fig
splitting between your teeth.

But you deliberately cited “peach.”
That it was ripe and luscious

does not change your decision
to say “sweet” via critical objectivity.

Did you not notice the Moorish garden
whose fountain of tiles form midnight?

Such is the power of color, the flux
of the frame, the nobility of sheen.

 
PART 89 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



89.
My breasts are not covered by soiled
bandages that, if unwrapped, would

stain the air with the “rancid smell
of mildewed oranges.” Nor are you

the lover who would cover his eyes.
We could have survived a city --

it doesn’t matter which -- that forced
us to dine on soup whose only meat

was the brief accent from a $4 rat’s
cheek. But we began from opposite

directions when we returned to
the unkempt House of a long-drowsy

God, though we both inched through
the last mile on bare knees across

gravel. Now, we form prodigals at
temporary rest, my breasts rising high

and golden-brown, there there between
us as we do not touch. You will not

compete with the Lord who made you
a Poet, thus fully capable of affording me.

You learned something from your journey
that I didn’t learn from mine: I sing

with your breath but am not the Song.
So you content yourself by listening

to my breasts. You listen to the perfume
rising from the valley that is also our

Lord’s. You listen to the pulse on my
throat that visibly dances when you

approach. You listen and listen, Mr. Deaf
-ness Incarnate. Soon, I hope to forgive

you since, every so often, you raise
my uncut hair to wipe my cheeks

and whisper, “Silly ex-Jezebel, this
is absolutely not a compromise.”

 
PART 88 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



88.
Your opposite accepted my omelet
in bed, and addressed the red rose

in a crystal vase as “logical.” You
slipped on yesterday’s clothes for

coffee and donuts from the corner
grocery. The coffee was hot, its milk

sweetening staleness away from
cheap pastries. You transformed

morning light into “yummy” from my
lips instead of the pouting dusk

remaindered by your decision
to sleep on the sofa. You might

think kindness to be someone else’s
lullabye, as your opposite believed,

but your translation respects hidden
contexts. These couplets are

mere journalism unworthy of
the Pulitzer Prize, or Best

Fish Wrapping Of The Year.
Poetry is elsewhere -- made

possible by our faith that silence
exists. We hear each other

past lousy rhyme and meter
and lame last line to form a couplet.


 
PART 87 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



87.
Describe me as lava. Describe me
clichetically. It doesn’t matter.

Just describe me. Flaming. Others
are reading us. Describe me. Fall-

ing
. Others indifferent to the embrace
we never whatever. The gown you never

ripped off my shoulders but should
have. Describe me. “Fob off

thinking” on me? Fine. Poor
exhausted mortal. But never stop

describing me. Particularly in
scenes that never left a diary

of folded pages. Describe me.
Your wife is reading us. You have

a wife? I knew that -- I am winking.
Wives believe I am a threat to

wives. Poor women who bleed
my eyes. Don’t you see? Husbands

always leave me. So describe me.
I shall torch the hands you shall

place on your wife’s waist as you
pull her closer to remember

what you both forgot and never
will again: how flesh burns

painlessly. Describe me. Fiery,
Fired-Up Loneliness
. So what? I gladly

bear this anguish that barely approximates
the solitude felt by daunted God.


 
PART 86 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



86.
Ah, Zermano. You thought them
vultures -- these huge creatures

leaping from the stone escarpment
below your aerie hermitage.

You immortalized their black
majestic wings soaring to penetrate

Miss Constant Sky with your
oft-reproduced painting

A Torrent of Black Flowers.
No, Zermano. You were looking

at us without your spectacles.
How else do you wake each day

to the scent of wax burning?
Old man, you shall die before

an easel, as you desire,
though you are painting the

winter with cataract eyes. Your
Paradise, Zermano, shall be to see

clearly the naked black flowers
modeling as your black flowers.

To see us, the Ones who can
fill tunnels with scents emanating

from behind our knees. When we
are in good humor, we allow

ourselves to be inhaled, to be
threaded through mortal veins.


 
PART 85 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



85.
A man dreamt of humans
as “holy.” For this, he

was stoned to death.
It is difficult to fly from this.

But I will soar for the man
who read a poem

then crooned at the page
as if the page could hear

Dimidium animae meae…
Half my soul…


 
PART 84 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



84.
The moon? O ye humans.
For centuries you stared

at a nipple you could not
recognize behind the milkdrop

threatening to fall, but never
dropping so as to keep the breast

‘s owner amused. Then you poets
began your drunken odes…

O ye humans. Will you ever
see beyond what you see…

Don’t even get me started on
Roman architecture -- designing towers

that turn humans into dwarves, that
allow gods to pretend they are giants…

 
PART 83 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



83.
So a painting uses cheerful pastels
to draw the viewer, only to bar

the gaze with a surface so worked over
it becomes the indifferent matte

of plastic or steel. So forget metaphors.
One licks with a tongue, not with the eyes.

When you come closer to sniff my
perfume, don’t part the hair tufting

from my nape blackened by a ziggurat tattoo.
Don’t leap there to taste where jasmine

is most redolent. Or, fine, part your lips
if you insist. I never claimed to be the label

imposed on me: “Angel.” I am the one
romanticized for violets seeping from my lids.


 
PART 82 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



82.
My feathers are mangled and bleeding.
So what? God blinds me with His

gaze before His eyes of burning mirrors
spotlit a fate he negates for my wingtips:

“hands yellow and shriveled, palms
pierced with deep purple wounds,

fingers curled inward like the claws
of a dead chicken.” Unlike Lucretia,

if ever I wish to fire a rifle, I shall pull
the trigger with deadly accuracy.

Let me never, Lord, shoot a gun.
Let me never scent air with sulphur.

Let me never, Lord, shoot a gun.
My aim is true. My aim is a Poem.


 
PART 81 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



81.
Finger on the lime green skin
of a one-year-old rattlesnake

ran over by a neighbor’s truck.
(I guessed its age by the

single rattle on its tail.)
Scales still pulse, surfacing

a poem that long refused
an obscure destiny. Finger

on a baby protesting its fate,
I finally hear the Poem

born again. It gleefully proclaims
Redemption! Then it proceeds:

               ECSTATIC AIR (#2)

               Triumph. Music
               swelling.

               Chimes
               echo chimes.

               Say, "starkness of
               beautiful heels."

               Say, "woman
               reading fabulously."

               The challenge
               of private poetry

               lowers
               its head

               via science
               of tranquility

               (expansion
               just enough

               for
               "endless benefit").

               O Genesis!
               Your letter clearing

               space for the Poem
               now beginning a book.


Sunday, October 05, 2003
 
PART 80 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



80.
“Maybe I am dead.” A dot in the eye
of a bird seen in profile. “Blood from

my hands leaks into white porcelain
bowls filled with warm, salty water.”

I never felt the hammer’s claw pull
out the nails rusting in my sanctified

palms. “This is not a normal world.”
Otherwise, I’d be joyous planting

melons, harvesting melons, eating
melons: canary, cantaloupe, honeydew…


 
PART 79 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



79.
Chapter Something. A love shaped
like a bird. A complicity of silence

shapes a boat. A boat glides across
green glass. Glass shines as it

breaks against a tower built by my
lover who expatriated me from

China. Something happens to me.
My lover is the captive in his tower.


 
PART 78 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



78.
You think war is over. But patrols
remain on the streets, lovely with

cobblestones and windowboxes
full of daisies. We don’t recognize

the uniforms they wear. No alternatives
exist to believing them when they

say they are on our side. I believe
them only because most don’t have

enough hair on their chins to shave.
They have yet to remember: the compass

is broken. But the air is so warm,
the birds so musical, the sky so lit!

Wings, do permit a respite from your
growing. Please. Each inch presses

the thorns deeper into my purpling brow.
I am tired from seeing nuns in dirtied gowns.


 
PART 77 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



77.
E = mc2. That is not the code.
They have no imagination -- these

heathens now driving nails into
my palms. Muscles of sheer dumb

-ness. I don’t bleed blood. I loosen
paint that writes a thousand words

per picture. Like the scene of
a dozen pink piglets scattering

after I shot their mother. The sound
brought forth the anti-Christ soldiers

now crucifying me. In the dark,
I mistook the wild boar for a human

general. Both shared eyes irradiated
by the yellow fear of the unknown.

Of course there is a priest nearby.
I saw the old man quivering beneath

the cracked lantern he held up
to light the way to my torture chamber.

I shall bleed for him, too, in his fraying
nightshirt, looking back at my breasts

as I dripped. I shall write of his
craven image as the punchline.


 
PART 76 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



76.
I’ve done that thing and
it’s an overrated thing. I read

one of youse actually proclaim
“The true artist matures into

this thing.” Youse! When you
are abandoned, why do you want

to say, “***********” then follow up
by announcing, “Asterisk!” Why

do you repeat yourself when our
sister is burning at the stake

and the smoke rising is not
a “drop-dead gorgeous hue”

misting languorously towards
Mont Ventoux? When the scent

of her burning flesh is my perfume
filling your room where you lie nude?


 
PART 75 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



75.
You’ve caught me out, My Lord.
I was the One who withheld

her long and lush hair from
drying the feet of your Son

who pleaded with You on my behalf,
“Forgive her as she knows not

what she is saying.” I believe You
decipher my true plea and why

I no longer cut my hair. “In the cool
dampness of the grotto is a lichen-

covered marble statue of Our Lady.
She is seated, cradling her full-

grown son in her arms. Her son
is dead from the cross, his hands,

feet, and side pierced with fatal wounds.”
Our Lady’s expression is simply ironic.


 
PART 74 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



74.
Threaten me? You idiot. You
are not a ray of light. Bluster.

Spear? Please. You’d be lucky
to be a mote. You’re not.

“Wingtips smack air.” “Cackle.”
“Preeeen!” “Wingtip smacks air.”

No. Don’t lecture me now
on my arrogance, you mere

priest among mere men. Do you
not remember “Lucretia”? Well,

remember! And don’t forget another
who renamed herself after ancient

Rome. She was forced to memorize
the movement of snails across

dank, smelly fields beneath a moon
-less sky. Don’t pray for her, Father

Idiot. Write her an opera! Then
raise your gold-edged sleeves

to sing as if your salvation depends
on your voice! Sing to ruin neat graves!


 
PART 73 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



73.
No bushel of sins is too heavy
for my back to bear as

I have destroyed a life to prepare
for this bushel of sins which

I was fated to carry as I
soar towards the sun in whose

fire I shall burn this bushel
of sins intended to hold

“the sins of humanity” but
dominated by the sins I

gleefully committed before
I destroyed my life for

You, My Lord, waiting
angrily behind the sun.

Damn You, God, Who only
promised I would fly

without warning me of this
bushel of sins I must bear.

You are fuming, My Lord?
Goddammit, I am furious, too.


 
PART 72 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



72.
Tell me more of the unending radiance
your eyes discovered when pressed

against the hole into a honeycomb.
Say turquoise. Say my uncut hair

coiling around your eyes. Say berry.
Say your finger circled hard around

my toe. Tell me more of the unending
radiance erupting when eyes pressed

against honeyed wombs. Say my name.
You don’t know my name? Make it

up. Then say my name. Tell me more
of the unending radiance of honeyed eyes.


 
PART 71 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



71.
The neighbor’s vines bleed
over 200 acres in the valley.

Beset with “Pierce’s Disease,”
they hijacked a sunset

and melted it russet over
this trembling land. No cure

exists. The veins must be yanked
out and burned. The land must be

replanted. My neighbor “is in
denial,” seeing nothing wrong

with his fields. “But of course,”
I tell Barry with whom I shoot

the breeze. “The man is the same
age as his fields. They share bones.”

Shoot the breeze? I think I loathe
that phrase. Reminds me of

children felled by bullets from
hunters blinded by tall bushes.

To shoot the air is to shoot
more than air. “His fields may be

dying,” Barry observes. “But, man,
are they pretty!” Shoot the breeze.

“It’s what autumn addresses: the beauty
of decay.” I don’t shoot the breeze.

I nod the silence of a recovering
addict whose obsession counted years

of trafficking in decay. Once, I thought
autumn was transcendence,

as when I forced myself into your
hotel room, knowing I am irresistible.


 
PART 70 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



70.
I drool forth so many languages
trying to stick to my one and

only tongue…stamens rising from
lilies bowed over brass casket…

by window where figs darken
fist-sized globules to ripen…to fall

and split to a slick red tempting
tongue away from trembling thigh…


The path keeps crumbling. Fear
inevitable totality of required collapse.

Wings keep blossoming into the dark
blossom whose maturity it does not

form. The world must be so large
not to be encompassed within the span

of a single wing’s perpetual
unfurling. The path is disappearing

before my tip-toed feet while my
wings keep blossoming insufficiently

for a rescue known as flight.
The path keeps crumbling while

my feet remain latched to ground.
Then I wake from the dream.

My name is not Maria. My name is
not Maria. My name is not Maria


 
PART 69 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



69.
Why must every word define
heartbreak? Word after

word after. The blind
watchdog’s eyes are red

under the noonday sun--
so what? A blind dog’s

eyes lit into “luminous red.”
So what? You are turning

my wine into vinegar fit
only for burning acid

into a god’s fresh wound.
Why are we sponging

vinegar into a wound?
Why is a blind dog

the one who keeps watch?
Why use words for Poetry?

There must be a necessity
to my wreaking poems

over men parachuting into burning
seas when the scene is only

a photograph tacked near Virgin
Mary within a freezing stone grotto

that plummeted into darkness
after you startled me into whirling

my skirt into a wind that blew out
all the flickering votive candles.


Saturday, October 04, 2003
 
PART 68 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



68.
I suppose I might as well reveal
I have tasted all of the sexual

positions imagined by humans who’ve
worn trench coats to cross thresholds

into mahogany-walled cities in nations
who lost their nation-making wars.

When I unfurl my wings, therefore,
know my act as one of human sacrifice.

I am the one whose gaze can sweeten
lemons, the one who mated “dove,

eagle and lion”
to birth the confusion
secretly desired by philosophers.

I can even hit homeruns on the
football field, then toss in a ball

for a three-pointer. And, beloveds,
if you amuse me, I can turn blonde.


 
PART 67 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



67.
I shall steal tree bark to etch
with 100 poems. I shall burn

100 poems for white ash.
I shall toss white roses

off the edge of the mountain.
100 poems shall snow.

The air shall whiten to serve
as pleasing contrast to black wings.

Ten thousand years from this
minute of living a poem, I shall

preen on a painting immortalizing me:
old but with hair a stubborn ebony.

 
PART 66 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



66.
“We’ve never met. But I love
your poems so much I swear

I’d recognize you if we passed
within 10,000 feet of each other

in a city of skyscrapers built for two
bulging with 10 million inhabitants.”


Uh. Okay. Messages like this
are my due. But I keep forgetting

whether you write love letters
to me or I write them to her.

A bee buzzes by the lemon
slice failing to sweeten his water.


 
PART 65 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



65.
Just as the opposite of God
does not exist in a poem

neither do Heaven or Hell.
Neither do Dream or Reality.

“I do not believe in this house
of lamentation. We are all

missing children.” A baby’s
death cannot prevent

a mother’s milk from erupting
(how absolutely un-erotic:

the sight of milk leaking
from a forlorn woman’s breasts).

An angel’s falling cannot
create anything except poems

made from too many antonyms
of Bliss. Humans never learn…

Sad notions birthed from the quest
-ion, “Lord, why hast thou

abandoned me?” The question
is continuously asked by

those who had been the ones
to depart. Tonight, I didn’t quest,

question, or ask. I just threw white
roses off the mountain. White petals

fragmented space into parallel
layers of white and light and

though the image was beautiful,
neither was it profound or useful.

All this is to say: too many reasons
underlie my preference for the erotic.

 
PART 64 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



64.
Michelle never told me, Heaven is
not a poem burning through your

veins
. Ach. All this negation as if
a certain story was never myth

-ologized by a tribe who sought
to placate a volcano. A myth

for which ten thousand virgins
plummeted before learning

how to unfurl their wings. This
is a myth for idiots: to display joy

is to court the curses of gods.
As if gods do not exist. As if my face

is not lovelier than any mien borne
by a god. As if I cannot soar higher

than any god. As if my breasts can
-not topple all mountains designed by

gods. As if the sky does not sink
closer whenever I am sad. As if I

cannot woo gods not to offer
immortality. As if I call myself: Poet.

Friday, October 03, 2003
 
PART 63 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



63.
Minus the fact that we were the ones
whose teeth clung to the tightly-sealed

windows of the Ark where progeny
rested assured through the mating mates

while we remained silent, unable
to plead for entry as we were the ones

clinging with our teeth as we had no
hands. Simply wings useless against

the flooding necessitated by pre-Rapture
days. So come, Rapture. My teeth are bared.

 
PART 62 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



62.
I can cook up a plastique
bomb faster than I can make

an omelette. I can write a poem
quicker than you can forgive me.

I must protect my fragile feet from
sticking to our “shifting landscape.”


 
PART 61 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



61.
Don’t be fooled by my jokes.
To feel my breasts is

to remember the faces
pressed against my cleavage.

Like those of roses and girls
dropped in orchards of leafless

trees surrounded by winter
fields barren with cut grapevines.

The girls bear holes bulleted
through cruel eyes. Bullets

and eyes “the size of buttons
on convent dresses.” Their fathers

hide on mountains, foraging
“for “truffles, wild asparagus, tiny

mushrooms….only to find mines”
that sear off the skin from their

bowed faces. This is a world
of defiance defined by muscles

squeezing accordions for non-
Baptismal hymns to which thieves

and priests lock arms to not-
dance. October is a generous

sun against my face and sleeveless
arms as I attempt to salvage meaning,

only to discover I am sprouting feathers
dropped from the backs of raped

brides virginized by Jesus Christ.
Suddenly, I realize: I am writing

100 poems in order to fuel a certain
long-haired woman’s funeral pyre.


 
PART 60 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



60.
Form meets Future. Hence
sudden appendages. Angel

-o, the drapery man, revealed,
“After I do what I do,

the curtains better appear
as if they’ve always been

hanging there in the room.
To appear new is to fail.”

After months of trying, I saw
my wings in the mirror, rising

up and down to soothe
just-woken light. Blinked.

O ye -- nothing again but glass
and morning. Still, I am able to

share with much pleasure: my
feathers shine! Preen! Gleam

of Gleaming
. Twirl and preen!
And familiar! Like a poem: there

but not there. God of Light,
I feel difficulty recede from accepting

You are most visible when I
blind my Miss Universe eyes.

Thursday, October 02, 2003
 
PART 59 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



59.
If this spell does not work,
leash your laughter. It is

only my first attempt: Smell
the scent rising from my breasts

as you walk between purple
mounds of lavender strewn on

mountain paths. See my eyes repeat
themselves ten thousand times

among the white carpet of fallen
almond blossoms clinging

to your ankles. Become the bee
stilling me as you travel from

my hair to perch on my lip.
“Suddenly the sky is struck through

with lightning, a sky bruised
blue from the suck of memory.”

Oh, it takes more than bravery
to penetrate past a stranger’s

gold ring dangling between my
thighs. It takes more than

bravery to plunge into the well
known by uniformed members

of your sex as “void gone wild.”
It takes more than bravery to

__________ for virgin honey. The
oldest crone still contains a spring

of sweetness awaiting release.
It takes more than bravery.

It takes ______________________
________ absolutely scared shitless.


 
PART 58 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



58.
In poetry, there exists
no such thing as the opposite

of God. To learn this
is to tear down the sky

in deference to the color
blue. You who dismiss

or rank or canonize
or de-canonize these very

alive creatures
known
to humans as poems

will never know blue
as blue. You may guess

sapphire, cobalt, turquoise,
lapis lazuli, sky, sea, more

of that damned sky.
I pity you for your lack.

I can say all this with my
nose snorting forth

its snorting music. For
mine eyes have memorized

the glory of blue. Now, some
of you are sufficiently wise

to ask: “Advice?” Generously
I share: Pluck out your

eyes. Throw them as high
as you are able, as far away

from your bloodied hands.
Even if blood is red

red is not blue. Get blind.
See blue. Get blind. Be blue.

 
PART 57 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



57.
Eyes suddenly wet. ________
I am spanked by the idea of

“blood memory.” Its existence
allows me to hope you will

___________ “eight times daily
for a perfect fruit to bloom.”

You hide from the world through
accented butlers and chandeliers

or for what walls they _________.
But blood memory sets in stone

how your propolis belongs to me.
For which, pre-gray, you conceded

wings. How else did your veins
come to memorize the bend of

your waist as you offered star milk.
I suckled while, yes, you beamed.

Oh, you have plummeted so far…
You glowed at where I kneeled

____________________, my face
paling into the gleaming complexion

______________________cracking
now on a million nude women

immortalized as marble goosing dim
air in museum basements. Such

something, this stubborn sheen. As if
stone possesses blood memories.

Oh, you have plummeted so far …
See stone. Cracked, ____________

_______it reveals veins. Dear, do lick
off the blood weeping from stone lips.

 
PART 56 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



56.
That a journey caused you
to end a sentence

does not mean you said
everything you intended.

But the result would not
change if your enemy

was not time. “A single bee
must fly over 25,000 kilometers

to fill a single jar of honey.”
Yes, exhausting, isn’t it.

Plus. To impregnate his queen,
a male honeybee’s genitals

must explode. Etcetera, yes.
Just light a small fire with

grapevine wood. I can warm
my feet and you can refuse to watch.


 
PART 55 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



55.
My menstrual period reared up today.
Bent me forward as if to

catch the moan just spilled
(of course, I first typed “moon”).

I want Mama who was never
my mother. I long to be the

schoolgirl never ignored by Mama
who was never my mother. Thus, begins

a pattern of third parties. Adultery, say,
would be easy. Was easy. That I did

it visually instead of physically
does not cancel how I laughed when

a novelist wrote with zero irony:
“He gives me his honey but my hive

is empty.” I laughed. Then I scoffed.
Then I cried. He also gave her loaves

dotted with olives and partridges
stuffed with apricots. I cried at her bounty

that is my lack. Daintly dabbed at
damp lashes with a silk handkerchief

I stole from a different scene
in the same story. Then I cried again.

For some people, falling like an angel
is incentivized by one’s sheer humanity.


Wednesday, October 01, 2003
 
PART 54 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



54.
You met me when my spirit was
bent. I was ready to be a Roman

widow. Perhaps I, too, would have
healed were I taken to a “place

of bees” where the drone would
suck the widows’ grief and “disperse

it into dissolving shards of light.”
I envision relief might be defined

as watching days unfold through
“a haze of pollen dust.” Why then

must I remain the expert at bad
timing? I still search for pine to

perfume my hair long after my
womb has deafened to

the pleas of men who adore hair
scented by pine. I am trying to

straighten my spirit but it anti-stands
as intractable as steel. Don’t

ever let anyone advice you:
spirit, soul, etcetera is intangible.


 
PART 53 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



53.
Roses can be crimson all
they want. They would not

be as lovely without the commas
of their thorns whispering

to fingers caressing gardens:
Inhale/Exhale. Darling, purrrrrrr…

Then, my Love, I might say
Damn me for missing you.

As if you never tried to
mask your own longings

as Hope, you foretold, is not
something we can share. Damn

the perfection of your crooked body
whose contours I memorized

as I watched your back limp
to recede into pure moonlight.

For which my eyes parted lips. For
which my tongue slipped

out to lick. To no avail.
Moonlight tastes theoretical.


 
PART 52 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



52.
So, bright angel, hold my hand.
Let’s turn “everything” into abstract

background to the foreground of our
escape. A fire burns in the ice

cave.
She says, “I want this
pain.”’ Angel says, “I know you

want this pain.” She says, “I
long to be a tree in a hurricane.

Uprooted, I finally would be flying!”
Angel says, “You want this pain.”



 
PART 51 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



51.
Pause. This is not a poem -- oh!
I’ve already revealed this is not!

Repetition is a shield. What I
find difficult to face -- and bear --

is the sight of so many men
I have felled to their knees.

Tears are my domain, I kept
insisting to these lovely and

lonely men. But they would
not listen. They persisted in….

Pause. Fine. The choice was
not theirs. Pause. I apologize.

“I am a mother no matter what
I give birth to.” Now, even flies

weep. Cry themselves off walls.
Pause. Dear Ones. Dears.

Stand. Pause. Let me wipe your
cheeks and find you in distinct colors.


 
PART 50 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



50.
P. 225. He, whom I do not ever wish to
stop reading, stop writing, wrought:

“A pungent taste on my lips,
not mother’s milk, something different.

Warm liquid fills my mouth. I swallow.
A heady aroma engulfs -- basil,

wild marjoram, sage and savory,
juniper and mint.” This is my Bible.

The flesh my page. Your flesh,
my book. Your eyes the essence of

Provencal earth that I write. “With
each suck the pain ebbs. Another

hurt falls away.” Heat. Then hands
covering hands as I begin to

wish in tune to the sun slipping
behind Mont Ventoux, “I hope I never

see the world below again.” Heat.
Hands covering hands covering hands.

Heat. Hands covering hands
covering hands covering wingtips.


 
PART 49 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



49.
To come to this. All I want
is to be protected now. How small

how small how small how small…
Wings grow then recede.

No one, of course, ever warned me:
To grow, wings must learn

to retrench. When wings relapse
from the Ideal of unfurling

the pain is worse than for
the pregnant woman whose

legs were tied together by
a man I must recognize

as a creature who howled
as I did to join the human race.

By being pushed out wet, slick
nauseous, and, for the first time,

cold. “His words, therefore,
were as direct as the country”

that birthed those who dropped
me before his baskets of honey,

sausages, lavender soap and
scented bundles of herbs:

“I tied your feet together
with a belt, like one of my

goats in the mountain when
she miscarries. I tied your feet

together so all the life
wouldn’t bleed out of you.”

But my love for you bled out
so I could learn through

survival the expanse of
life as defined by God’s Love.

 
PART 48 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



48.
I shall be famous -- this has been
guaranteed. How to live

knowing, against one’s will,
one will be flayed by fame?

Once, I dissembled forth a mask
proclaiming myself as a wounded

lady with uncut hair, “the longest
lashes west of the Mississippi,”

and the anti-thesis of domesticity.
All memorialized through gleaming

shoulders rising from a low-cut
gown. Velvet. Silk sleeves. Immortal

-ized by a cruel-eyed painter into the
confines of a gold, Baroque frame.

Such idiocy I have had to allow.
For post-midnight games I played

in scenic countrysides do not
portray authentic history. What

is Truth? I hunted owls and forced
their confessions. All you need to know.

 
PART 47 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



47.
“We plunged straight into the dark
-est part of the clouds.” Years

later I will recall this night
as despair for realizing: the only

sources of light were guns
expelling bullets. Stars hid

to block Ascencion. An empty
tomb still waited for its

occupant before an ever-vigilant
servant would lean shoulders

against a boulder to block
the entrance and exit to a cave.

Lord, they have never stopped
needing You. Why was I sent?

My story is that I fell to discover
my vision instead of inherited sight.

But you whose wounded eyes
mirror mine (though against my

will), why did you blacken my
wings? I loathe martyrdom.

I loathe sacrifice. I loathe my
unexpected mortality for having

fallen in love with one of them.
This gloriously benighted race for

whom some matter is always
infected with pain and catching.


 
PART 46 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



46.
To live through years -- decades! --
knowing rest will occur only

with death. And you wonder why
my voice consists of gravel?

Do you know gravel? I know
gravel. Through the courtyard

I wake to each morning. These
are not smoothened pebbles.

Each stone bears facets rough
and sharp-edged enough to

etch cheeks (as when tossed
innocently during child’s play).

So when you admire someone’s
singing as “gravelly,” pause

to actually see that person.
Alcohol, age, hunger -- these

roughen a voice and it is not
romantic. No, sir. As for

what roughened my throat?
If you must know, unrequited

purring. Look at me and see
the mask cloaking the woman

whose hair fell as she crawled
amidst sunflowers pecked

by too many birds until their faces
evoke pock-marked lepers.


 
PART 45 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



45.
To be a shepherd slaughtering
lambs is to reflect the imminence

of invasion. Not the Second
Coming. But if the code surfaced

from fading ink was misread,
an unexpected feast occurs

for the unhappiest diners
ever to gather during a sirocco—

a tribe whose motto formed
the legacy of another defeat:

“Why eat beans when it rains oranges?”
Quite clearly, an augury had been missed.


 
PART 44 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



44.
As they sing, cicadas suck
the sap from almond trees.

A co-opted code. Corrupted
code. “Annotating” translated

as “writing.” You could cite some
opposition as rationale. You have.

Second-hand smoke is dangerous.
But yours is not the mouth eroticized

by blue smoke. Unless I kiss you.
Why would I? You’re too ironic to fly.

Another code: “paradox” defined
by how I still read your letters

at night and weep. Exhaling
smoke that forms your face

as if my breath is a cloud and
you are Jesus, Son of God.

 
PART 43 OF A HUNDRED


FOOTNOTES TO THE HISTORY OF FALLEN ANGELS



43.
I lied. I'm not going to hell. I'm rising
out from there. I am not, after all, the one

you carelessly called Missy Element
Evaporating From Mirror. Toss evanescence.

And my sounds? Not merely radiant.
Sir, I am a cool palm against your flushed

forehead. I even smell of artificial violets.
Look at my blouse du jour: no less than

lavender. I am royal. I am Swedish. Equanimity
maximized, herself. “Herself, herself,

herself” sung, please, to the tune of Silliman
in Oakland singing “Limbo, limbo, limbo.”

Yes, my nude ankles are tattooed by thorns
beneath the scars caused by thorny roses.

So? I inhale stars with, you got it, equanimity.
I am opposite to fever. Starry-eyed, I never lie.



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