Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hydra Cycle

Another attempt at macro-composition. All have been posted at one time or another, most have been revised, some heavily.
Because maybe if I spend enough time thinking about this it will go away (at least if I post it I won’t be able to work on it for a few days).

The Hazards of Fish II

They are binding my hands,
Thick cords of leather;
And my feet.
Around the binding is another rope, thrice-wound and strong,
Between my hands and feet extended and
Lashed to the harness of an ass.
They yell curtly and the animals trot each forward,
Each their end to me.
Dragged through the dirt as the lines goes taut, one before the other
And then I am suspended
And my spine is separating
And the cord is cutting my wrists to the bone
And my stomach tears
And my intestines are in the dirt
And the ass does not stop, pale coils dragging behind.
Passing them, my murderers, I see their faces:
Mine each one,
And the ass too I see is myself, pulling with all the strength of my body,
And there are no bindings, I grip the rope my fingers clenched;
For no man may be torn to pieces such that he himself is not party.

I Hold Four Hydras (I)

I the crippled satyr
Have left cloven hoof prints in the garden and
Found the child entombed;
Her fetal bones soft in the bejeweled casket.

I fail and call;
Have the oak in her mourning
Found refuge from deathly Saturn,
Her limbs barred before the gale?

I move not and
Have never a fear,
Found though she is
Her door is shut.

I sleep in the sun on my bed in my room and I
Have a dream that high though the peak rose I reached its summit and
Found dead men;
Her face in the moonlight, too far from the shore.

I hold four hydras,
Here in my hands,
And they bite and they tear and I cannot let them go.

I Hold Four Hydras (IV)

I hate,
Have I never,
Found is the word;
Hers is a cruel gaze to see my eyes but not their fear.

I, the whole of hell within;
Have you, Catullus,
Found such a bullet in your ventricle for
Her to parse?

I write on air flowing into the four winds,
Have you, Catullus,
Found such waves filled with the promises of the Lethe,
Her image failing even as it is composed?

I fear all things unpromised
Have fictions unturned;
Found I never
Her name?

I hold four hydras,
Mythic beasts that never bred upon the earth,
And their poison runs within me.

I Hold Four Hydras (III)

I know I cannot swim and still I dream of diving deep into subterranean waters where the world is lit by flowering polyps, those who
Have never seen the ocean floor nor felt its membranous sands might still have
Found any of its treasures for white and deadened they drift to
Her like vapor in the currents of the farther waves.

I know I cannot swim and
Have never seen the ocean floor nor
Found any of its treasures for
Her like vapor in the current.

I know I
Have never
Found any of
Her like.

I hold four hydras,
And one slips from my grasp,
Three hydras to demarc the tide.

Ave Maria

Behold the lady of the garden,
Her white and downturned face a thousand years sacred.
Behold her dim entangled radiance,
The hood and the robe,
And the blossoms at her feet.
Behold her,
Her and not the hydras nearly slain.

I held them, here in my hands
And they died twixt my fingers.
Died as maws grew afresh from the ragged things,
Gangrene and necrotic from birth.

Look not upon them, those parasites of the flesh.
See instead the lady,
Who could not answer even would I ask.
Behold instead her ancient sanctity,
Her adoration cold and silent.

I held them, and their venom was dear to me;
Have you seen her,
In the garden, upon the mountain,
On the road to God knows what city?
Found is the soul and found is the shrine;
Her beheld, lit in the evening.

I Hold Four Hydras (II)

I am aridity, I am the cracked and the dry.
Have you no moisture?
Found you no well?
Hers is the water and the life and the glory.

I scratch the seared earth until I
Have ten bloody fingertips;
Found are the wet sands
Her power, the moon, hid before dawn.

I, amid red sands fine,
Have, feet worn grey and splayed,
Found, upon the blasted heath,
Her; and know no road to the city or the temple.

I ache and sting and
Found no dwelling place beyond my crystalline spheres;
Her sight etched there ‘til all goes to dirt.

I hold four hydras,
Dead and limp,
Reeking of all necrotic things.

Staring at the Sun

There are a dozen earths before you
But only one treadmilling under your feet,
And who’s to say you are not the one still body
Around which all else turns?
All things turning but you unmoved.
And I’m staring at the sun
Seeing the clouds set afire and the sky scorched pale
And soon I’ll be blind;
Seeing this before all disappears.
You a great emberous glow eternally in my eye.


I and the hydra everlasting:
Is it my conceit to think us bound together?
Yoked by great violence - two species so contrary,
Consuming each other ‘til like frost and furnace,
United only in dream or Mosaic vision,
Each is the sign of the other’s death?

Is this our nature or some image less grand?
No myth or other world,
Some man but nearly blind and lost in a house of mirrors who,
Seeing a multitude, tries to tell his own reflection?
Which my conceit and which my pretension,
Which the true worlds wedded.

Perhaps no simile, no gesturing lie, can do;
Only the barest of words for my many-headed beast.
I desire, and she does not.
And I am afraid, her kindness of all the sharpest cruelty.

Lent (v.2)

Sometimes in winter it is cold
And to feel the wind, its chill purity,
I walk bare-skinned.
My sense knows the cold’s lethality and I shiver and clutch myself
But such air is not but what I make it
And if I honestly wish it away, it will be so.

Sometimes in a mirror I, glancing, catch my sight
And it is foreign, some other’s wilted face.
Like waking from a tossing sleep,
Struggling to parse the dream from what before.
In this time I see an awful cartesian scripture
Written on the walls of all tenuousness.
Always I could awaken and find
This, the extant world, gone.
Myself a child again,
Free to the morning light.

An old and dreaded hope, this.
But my rest too shallow to harbor such revelations,
Bliss and terror, time passing slowly in the late night.

I see you and I
Wonder at your neurotic pitted elegance.
If I am to be alone all my life then I am dead already and
Fall to sheol as I write.

In my dream you were sleeping and I took you into my arms
And whispered into your ear that I love you,
Your mind and your body and your soul, but
Then I walked to the ocean and laid
You in a cave for the rising tide to carry away … because sometimes in winter

Special thanks to Helen Palmer, John Darnielle, Seattle University Housing And Residence Life, Dr. Andrew Tadie, the concept of patience, the irreconcilable unity of envy and disdain, Rachel Carson, our lady of the Admin Garden, St. Matthew, Chiori Miyagawa, Mark Moffett, I-90, Dr. Sean McDowell, and my own little Falkland Islands.

No comments:

Post a Comment