A Paradise of Poets

Paris 1997

imperial & iron stanzas of the daytime signal to construct a battery of tin
drums like a shield like winter under a white sky a novel overture & riding
turning with the wind my unmarked territory clouds & tangerines a hand like
water scattering itself over your body like the little chum the spendthrift
who comes home to do the boogie who is innocent of charm & leaves a vacant
swirl behind your eyes immobilized & seeking transit to another world the
first star on your radio the disk that spins & opens sparks & letters for
the new machine

looking hard canft see his face but turns the glass around his head goes
with it flying over germany a swan with red feet & a rage for time a sense
of up we go & down the air comes slamming us against a ridge a crease of
mountains little villages in which the dead play with their children & are
calm so that you think of love & have a memory of warmer nights a green sun
rising slowly from the tinny rooftops tinting the whole street down which the
beggars stumble in their finest clothes their hands outstretched to touch you
whispering in languages you cannot understand but rub against them with a
smile that speaks of comfort following your footsteps down a flight of stairs
& into what becomes your death

a man who doesnft look at you in middle of the train the underground the
double cave who rubs a bottle on his scalp (again again) who taps his skull
the wings pinned to his red shirt burning rolled up scrolls beside him & his
old feet caked  with dirt propped on your cushions sitting in the ghostly
presence of a pack of poets who themselves are beckoning & pointing to the man
in red the ticktack of the bottle the descent to rub against his thighs his
pants pulled up along his withered leg but otherwise no sound no breath no
voices moving through the crowded train at midday calm embraces of the other
dead who ride beside him whom I had not seen before this day this voyage half
awake could stare down streets that pass us in the opposite direction & the
thought that comes to me: if someone started in to sing here in the shadows
would the lights above our heads explode & would the car ascending now come
crashing back to earth in sudden darkness

first liquid blood & now the feet shift as the trick car leaves its tracks &
settles on the long road sovereign undisputed & at rest & when we take our bows
the sky over our heads is like a scarlet wrap so still so full of little knobs
that spin & drive us crazy afs and bfs a world of letters swimming by of
numbers written on the rims of wheels their crunch crunch leveling the bones &
arteries a pool of desperation where we wait not for the time of day the pleasures
throbbing in the open sore but deeper in a world where red is rouge & rouge the
color of the bottom drawer the hidden box in which a knife is waiting come & see
it now & see the cross that lives in time change to a mote in someonefs eye a star
to nail in glory bloodless on your door

the sperm bed slippery as wax & teeth that split crack-crack the brittle bundles &
a rush of velvet oil spreads out a chair is buried under stars & etchings of hard
flesh & motors screwed inside the throat directing sound up from the bodyfs sources
like a molten spear an iron in the gut the blind man canft give back although he
fights & suffers cries & feels the world turn dark against him victim of his will &
of the river of pale eyes & open nostrils snot & sperm & sputum covering his hips &
sides & entering the body through a shining hole to add its sound to his to cross a
river to return to home to spank the tender flesh to flounce to pivot to extend &
open to the light to reconnoiter to fall back to break & let the flow of matter
overwhelm us

a man without a face is still a man a dog without a collar is no less a dog itfs
happy time in paris bang-bang where a house without a bellfs a house without a way
to find your  way around it up or down or roundabout & running to a hilltop where a
man without a dog is walking on his hands a voice without a voice is dying in your
mouth cough-cough a chain without a door is hanging from a ring a plane without a
wing is desperate a screen without a signal from the house of signals sends out sparks
& messages without a name without an ace an icicle an ark a cup without a cup without
a nail without an answer on the other screen my heart stubborn receiver of the way it
goes my circulation deep inside this trunk my face the man without a glimmer can
assume or know his eyefs in pain or know the way the circle changes when a grain
is added to the circle

breaking the passage he spits hard & lets it stain the floor to make a wash of red &
having wished to go into the little house a soldier in a regiment of voles a voyager
with no tomorrow at his call with no admission to the room no elders waiting penitent
& silent & alone & so they speak of specters they proclaim the harmony of knives the
strain of waiting for it every day of never being back & forth but coughing where it
does & letting his religion mark the time his love for someone he has never seen but
carries as a letter to the bank a payment in the nick of time & thinks how marvelous
I am & how I draw saliva from my little throat & wash my face with it a cat could do
no better or a rabbit that the world has learned to tame how strange mysterious
forgiven rapturous proclaimed orated nursed & searched for in the leather bag he
sometimes wears like gold over his heart

a paper in the hand goes up in flame & when the hand extends a second hand is waiting
bruised with green & red marks in the shape of fishes lanterns quicker than the eye &
tracks with ice along .ilieir ed~es lights like diamonds & like lasers make the man
into an idol touched by hands that rise up from the floor of tiles he doesnft feel
but in the dark he walks without his glasses with his arms more heavy than before &
wonders who the thieves are waiting at the gare de lfest their subtle bodies light
as air not brushing past him when they walk guards of a magic world alive with messages
with pictures waiting to be seen no longer real no longer in domains of the imagination
but hidden in the mind of the machine that now possesses them that holds the world
inside it empty void blank featureless mechanical retreating to a place where those
who wait will be bereft of everything they know & will not know it

like ice the streets shine black & gorgeous in the shadow of an axe a line that cuts
the child throat lets the air escape into an ear that doesnft listen eyes that light
is kept from so the sight is only of a dancer tumbling down a hole a cat that lives
inside your chimney for a night & that you see no longer wandering among the phantom
cats & dogs that clog our dreams & hide beneath so large a table that a city could fit
under it an act of mercy that the world denies that men whose faces disappear behind
a cloth old fashioned murderers & robbers have no use for while the hand of one is
raised deliciously above the tender neck the tresses set aside & with a wind behind
him throws himself against it as the knife aglow with fat goes diving in