Sunday, July 09, 2006

St. Andrew's Eve

Andreju vakarā,
a woman or a man build
a bridge over a stream & place
have placed a bowl of water
place a split of wood, a splinter
across a bowl of water
slid below the bed

& at night you will see a dream
& who crosses the bridge in dream
will be your husband, wife

The older, Slavic oracle:
build a model of a well from kindling &
who comes to draw water from the well will be your

Or sit with a mirror looking into the mirror
& from the mouth of the stove will
place soap and water, a towel &

Will come out of the mouth of the stove who chooses you &
wash itself & go back into the mouth
of the stove

On St. Andrew's night, & if she does not dream about the bridge

No one will marry her

& if he gets wet crossing the bridge
he will not be her true husband

After Straubergs' Latviešu buŗamie vārdi (Lettische Segenformeln / Formules magiques des Lettons) -- for RK. This poem previously appeared in Shearsman and in Vilenica (in French and Slovenian translation, Ljubljana: Društvo slovenskih pisateljev, 2000).



She has something in a dream.
What little girls do behind the property
without the property
is a mystery the sky has
weather we aren't meant to know
or have gold it matters little.
Trains bear women gleam like rails
of deciduous metals, intimacy
& cuverture
tramp dreamers and the trains widen into meadows
while she rides her ring
to work, giddy
uirga, supple one.
The mercury in an ant farm,
pus in the spine.
She works in a uterine whisper,
nothing else in her
The matter is closed.


Call thrice under the shifting face in the bare white trees,
Persephone's breasts so far apart to show the memory spent
there. Herzschlagentext. But love is a solvent.

The Pergamonmuseum like her dreams,
some are missing hands, some everything but their faces,
others are only their veils.

Handing the lady little origami islands to earth about her
in the dark,
about face, the face in dream, surrounded by the twentieth century,
a mouthful of remorse I eat rather than spit out
before I drink from your lap again.

Convivio forgotten into forgiveness, & so easier to bear,
to bare the face, it hovers in the white trees.
Thrice yesterday, a potion,
your name flowers by the shifting face.


Ter Yoorup! whose refinements in her dark silences
can even be Persephone

They want you for a face pulled from the river
may you be naked in death, beryl, kickshaw bulwarks

To suck the water from her diamonds,
when she moves out of life to stay her
glance in the stone
palpable as rain.

But her warm young move into their own natures,
mind the conjurers.

Yesterday sleight the wet sun, smelled like spring we won't know again
till April midnight what wanton light is.
She comes out then.

Little things breed in the volupt
Is not below but outside, Persephone,
milky sobriety, field glass.

There is a queen even a woman below
else everything would be lost cold light none can be naked in?
Sorrow is a power,
the more I see the less of me, & the seen things

& outside the day in any light not hers.



coming back into this
country I am ignorant of
& tired of being foreign to
everywhere, in a way as in she is in
a way -- back in after the brief curve through Belarus --
the border-guards asking not for passports but whether we have them
-- will be border by November --
remembering Irby, I am a citizen of that state that is a haziness in the air
& long for that color that is the eye of love like a body for its clouds
between cars for a smoke a man gestures at the frozen fields & says vot,
your America, your Plains --


ate apples fall, ābolu gads, apple year,
till could hardly stomach them --

apple eaten

at dawn down the bright law the Gypsies made
forbids them to sow,
keeps them moving

to youthen this cessant Europe

I have come to stay at the stalk of
where it pushes up still pale from the bloodied ground

here Lith. the earthen smitten,
the generations

come put their mind to it,
as their mind came from it

some stones say are
or aren't, past
oblivion some thing you know
about stone or the hair in the trees that mean you

can't go back, a matter of how much it hurts
not to, lost in the hands


This poem previously appeared in Shearsman in a slightly different version.

A Pair for Harry


"tout le monde couchait nu et rarement on couchait seul" -- Harry Crosby

When we are done with Fontainebleau its curious salamanders

in the fire, the road seems to lead us & seems to lead to love.

No one has ever seen her naked before.

No sun.


At a slave, eyes averted, denuded. Venus
visible to the instinct. Eyes brine, I can do a thing
& a thing but beauty is not mine. Venus visible
to the slave but indistinct. She dreams
noctiluca covers his eyes, the sea, she is --
she is encrusted with senses, hides
studded with stones, furs.
Denuded, lapping at a slave.
I can name it what I want. Saxifrage.
Love makes lucid, she is not used

to this, to sleeping together.