that which withers (may sometimes be conjured again)

in riverwater, like in summer songs,
there is no fear, only
longing. we have never

once swum naked, never sunk
our suspicions in dark rivermud
to drown with all their scrapmetal

hearts; instead we bury them
in the backyard of the co-
habitation we both agree

was too soon, next
to the roses by the bleached-
bone fence. i miss your

honeysuckle, the pulling
sweet drips of you
with my tongue. i long

for a good, hard
stretch of new growth,
a backwards of time,

depths that brighten
in sunlight. i want
to plant lavender

and strawberries, shoo
away the stale that
creeps damp-wise

into us. i am
bareso(u)led. & tired
of pruning.

what i found inside the black box

so much
can happen in a decade. in a night filled
with spiral-sta(i)red decline. things

to hold on to, in sacred letters tall as a man:
to touch. you should have known
there: tangere, like want. volare, to fly.

i’ve forgotten the past tense.
plusquamperfect amaveram,*
but only in the wrong tongue. she died.

now that coat hangs hung, like a wish,
starched with thin veins, so much in a decade.
some things you hold against forever.

memoryclamped. what if you could fly then,
glasseyed and steady. beads tight round
white wrist, to want with small fingers.

something many-touched to hang on to
in the night. meant to hold not to cut, meant
to hold not to cut. meant to hold not to cut.

 

*translations all from the Latin. amaveram is the first-person plusquamperfect tense of amare = I had loved.

Snowdragon

She is deadly
and beautiful to watch.
shadowboxing, born. best
of children. seemingly
abandoned. it is hard
to understand
how it was back then, (how)
discipline comes from
love. The Sun translates keys
to unlocking these doors
as petals
of the mei hua, the plum
blossom; uses
small steps,
the power
of the elbow. maybe
too much.

blossoms from the gardens at Nanzenji temple, Kyoto

This is a Found Poem from the workshop on Jan 20. Text is from an article in Inside Kung-fu, July 2005.