The trees hang silent In the heat . . . . . Undo your heart Tell me your thoughts What you were And what you are . . . . . Like bells no one Has ever rung.
The psychotherapist has a sad dove
dying in his eye. He looks at the light
like wood holding fire in it
reflected in small caves
and tells me there is a window where love weeps
over what it cannot know. The dove’s
trembling, flickering like a sun alone
in the dark nest of his face, and the psychotherapist
is saying, there is nothing like losing your Self
for a Demon. We walk in to each other
as into a museum, and our portraits gleam. This sounds
like he’s saying our deaths are old, they
may not even belong to us. In the end, our meeting
is just the fantasy
we’ve been looking for all along. Yes,
Yes, I say, I’ve come here to burn for you
all my illusions. Yes, I say, I can see
you for who you are like I can see
the mother huddling her chicks in the sea cliff
in your inkblot, before she pecks their eyes large
as blood grapes and eats them
alive, the storm
clouds rupturing that purple
slag of lightning. What I want is to hold you
like a bell holds space
between the hours. What I want is to get back
one with the other, self
with dove, desire with the storm
inside that destroys
absence like a murderous blood. What I want
is a therapy like a first love—merciless
fascination—my eyes looking in
like the crazed bells of silence
to startle the mortal
romance of self
you can’t escape, and you don’t want to.
After a series of indiscretions a man stumbled homeward, thinking, now that I am going down from my misbehavior I am to be forgiven, because how I acted was not the true self, which I am now returning to. And I am not to be blamed for the past, because I’m to be seen as one redeemed in the present... But when he got to the threshold of his house his house said, go away, I am not at home. Not at home? A house is always at home; where else can it be? said the man. I am not at home to you, said his house. And so the man stumbled away into another series of indiscretions...
Face of the skies
over our wonder.
truant of heaven
draw us under.
Silver, circular corpse
infects us with unendurable ease,
to thermal icicles
Coercive as coma, frail as bloom
innuendoes of your inverse dawn
suffuse the self;
our every corpuscle become an elf.
You ignore the way light filters through my cells,
the way I have of fading out—still
there is a constant tug, a stretching,
what is left of me is coming loose. Soon,
I will be only crumbs of popcorn,
a blue ring in the tub, an empty
toilet paper roll, black mold
misted on old sponges,
strands of hair woven into
carpet, a warped door
that won’t open, the soft spot
in an avocado, celery, a pear,
a metallic taste in the beer, a cold sore
on your lip—and when I finally lose my hold
you will hear a rustle and watch me spill
grains of rice across the cracked tile.
Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.
This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:
Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.
Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.
Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one…
How high that highest candle lights the dark.
Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.
(translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld)
I am not here.
I am on those craggy eastern hills
streaked with ice
where grass doesn’t grow
and a sweeping shadow overruns the slope.
A little shepherd girl
with a herd of goats,
from an unseen tent.
She won’t live out the day, that girl,
in the pasture.
I am not here.
Inside the gaping mouth of the mountain
a red globe flares,
not yet a sun.
A lesion of frost, flushed and sickly,
revolves in that maw.
And the little one rose so early
to go to the pasture.
She doesn’t walk with neck outstretched
and wanton glances.
She doesn’t paint her eyes with kohl.
She doesn’t ask, Whence cometh my help.
I am not here.
I’ve been in the mountains many days now.
The light will not scorch me. The frost cannot touch me.
Nothing can amaze me now.
I’ve seen worse things in my life.
I tuck my dress tight around my legs and hover
very close to the ground.
What ever was she thinking, that girl?
Wild to look at, unwashed.
For a moment she crouches down.
Her cheeks soft silk,
frostbite on the back of her hand.
She seems distracted, but no,
in fact she’s alert.
She still has a few hours left.
But that’s hardly the object of my meditations.
My thoughts, soft as down, cushion me comfortably.
I’ve found a very simple method,
not so much as a foot-breadth on land
and not flying, either—
hovering at a low altitude.
But as day tends toward noon,
that man makes his way up the mountain.
He looks innocent enough.
The girl is right there, near him,
not another soul around.
And if she runs for cover, or cries out—
there’s no place to hide in the mountains.
I am not here.
I’m above those savage mountain ranges
in the farthest reaches of the East.
No need to elaborate.
With a single hurling thrust one can hover
and whirl about with the speed of the wind.
Can make a getaway and persuade myself:
I haven’t seen a thing.
And the little one, her eyes start from their sockets,
her palate is dry as a potsherd,
when a hard hand grasps her hair, gripping her
without a shred of pity.