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She tattoos

                1.
She tattoos essential words to her skin
not just pictures like some prisoners
or sailors once did
These are some obstinate, methodical scripts—
Buoyant, they leap from her touch in a blur
and they don’t let go
Don’t underestimate our abilities
to tough it out, says the god
who lays on his back and dreams to real
this fractal, uncanny, comic universe
Universe, home to us all for awhile
home to our lively, green shoots
Her languorous, light elements stir him
She stirs up the heaviness within him
Every time he thinks “Yes, here’s our depth, our very deep”
there’s a few rungs down further to recede
We all want to be understood, true?
Yes my love we must, surely we do

 

                2.
So, I eagerly ask him about our playing
He’d said nothing and I knew it was a mistake to ask
“You played it like they played it
in Vienna long ago”
“Yes?”
“That’s why I left Vienna”
The more I strive
the further away it gets
The deeper I dig
the further it resists
I think it’s in front of me and then
it slips silently, vacantly behind me
As a kid I went to this day camp near Yonkers
After a day of heat and sweat
they had this soda machine
with really cheap (only 35 cents) cold orange soda (in a bottle!!!)
So cold, so cold, in the heat, bottle in my hand
so fizzy and sweet

 

                3.
When gangsters like them work together
they work through others
Believe me, they don’t get together
They never meet
There’s never anything on paper
No paper
Water freezes to ice
Ice melts to water
What’s dead comes to life
What’s born, dies
To write that book
he had to live that life
We cycle, we permeate, we evaporate
Like little shoots we break through to green
Old Ez, the great translator,
half blind, still folds his blanket
Han-Shan, the sage poet of Cold Mountain,
recedes, once more, into dust

 

 

-September 1, 2013-