I spent the whole day
crying and writing, until
they became the same,
as when the planet covers the sun
with all its might and still
I can see it, or when one dead
body gives its heart
to a name on a list. A match.
A light. Sailing a signal
flare behind me for another to ﬁnd.
A scratch on the page
is a supernatural act, one twisting
fire out of water, blood out of stone.
We can read us. We are not alone.
is my heart. A stranger
berry there never was,
Gone sour in the sun,
in the sunroom or moonroof,
No poetry. Plain. No
fresh, special recipe
All I’ve ever made
with these hands
and life, less
substance, more rind.
Mostly rim and trim,
but making much smoke
in the old smokehouse,
Fatted from the day,
overripe and even
toxic at eve. Nonetheless,
in the end, if you must
know, if I must bend,
to that excruciation.
No marvel, no harvest
left me speechless,
yet I find myself
somehow with heart,
ﬁghting ﬁre with fire,
That loud hub of us,
meat stub of us, beating us
Spectacular in its way,
its way of not seeing,
but in everydayness.
In that hopeful haunting
way of saying
in darkness) there is
for the pressing question.
Heart, what art you?
War, star, part? Or less:
playing a part, staying apart
from the one who loves,
I’m Over the Moon
I don’t like what the moon is supposed to do.
Confuse me, ovulate me,
spoon-feed me longing. A kind of ancient
date-rape drug. So I’ll howl at you, moon,
I’m angry. I’ll take back the night. Using me to
swoon at your questionable light,
you had me chasing you,
the world’s worst lover, over and over
hoping for a mirror, a whisper, insight.
But you disappear for nights on end
with all my erotic mysteries
and my entire unconscious mind.
How long do I try to get water from a stone?
It’s like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.
Better off alone. I’m going to write hard
and fast into you, moon, face-fucking.
Something you wouldn’t understand.
You with no swampy sexual
promise but what we glue onto you.
That’s not real. You have no begging
cunt. No panties ripped off and the crotch
sucked. No lacerating spasms
sending electrical sparks through the toes.
Stars have those.
What do you have? You’re a tool, moon.
Now, noon. There’s a hero.
The obvious sun, no bullshit, the enemy
of poets and lovers, sleepers and creatures.
But my lovers have never been able to read
my mind. I’ve had to learn to be direct.
It’s hard to learn that, hard to do.
The sun is worth ten of you.
You don’t hold a candle
to that complexity, that solid craze.
Like an animal carcass on the road at night,
picked at by crows,
haunting walkers and drivers. Your face
regularly sliced up by the moving
frames of car windows. Your light is drawn,
quartered, your dreams are stolen.
You change shape and turn away,
letting night solve all night’s problems alone.
from INTERIOR WITH SUDDEN JOY (1999)
13 Still Life, with Gloxinia
14 Lure, Lapse
16 What’s Uncanny
18 Dear Gonglya,
22 Your One Good Dress
25 Cinema Poisoning
27 Project for a Fainting
28 You Love, You Wonder
30 Interior with Sudden Joy
from HUMAN DARK WITH SUGAR (2008)
35 I’m Over the Moon
37 Why is the Color of Snow?
39 One Love Story, Eight Takes
43 I’m Perfect at Feelings
46 Me in Paradise
52 A Poet’s Poem
53 First Date and Still Very Very Lonely
55 Dancing in my Room Alone
57 A Brown Age
from OUR ANDROMEDA (2012)
63 Head Handed
68 The World’s Arm
72 Liquid Flesh
79 Karaoke Realness at the Love Hotel
81 Products of Perception
83 Big Game
85 I Wish I Had More Sisters
89 At the Book Shrink
92 The New People
96 Our Andromeda
from SO MUCH SYNTH (2016)
119 I Have a Time Machine
121 McQueen is Dead, Long Live McQueen
132 Dress Form
134 But I’m the Only One
137 A Mix Tape: ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’
141 A Mix Tape: The Hit Singularities
147 ‘Is There Something I Should Know?’
173 Simone, Age 3, Late Summer
175 Never Ever
from THE OCTOPUS MUSEUM (2019)
179 Identity and Community
180 No Traveler Returns
183 Gift Planet
185 There Was No Before (Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles)
194 Sel de la Terre, Sel de Mer
196 Thinking Lessons
197 Our Beloved Inﬁnite Crapulence
199 Blueberries for Cal
200 Are Women People?
208 Our Zero Waiver
210 Our Family on the Run
215 Moving Far Away
216 The Impossible Lesbian Love Object(s)
219 Tell Our Mothers We Tell Ourselves the Story We Believe Is Ours
226 Who Sings Whose Songs?
230 On ‘Loss of Feathers’ by Ursula von Rydingsvard
232 The Artist Jessica Rankin
235 The Poets Are Dying
236 What Have I Done?
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