quarta-feira, 21 de dezembro de 2016

fair play

you give me this, i give you
that. it should be simple and
without much sentiment. such
are the tacit rules of human
exchange for times like this
one: an evening roll in the hay, au
bord de la marne, where it is late into
autumn and steam rises gently off the
bodies of the munching bovines, the mud-
crusted ponies. i take off my old
lady mask - as diane once said-
and slip easily out of my street
worn jeans. i sleep all night in
your branches. it is warm there,
despite the snowflakes falling
around us. which of us paid
for dinner at the country
inn?  was it momentary shelter,
altar of encounter?   did nothing
flicker in the heart, beyond
basic calculation, the thought
that one place is as good
or perhaps better
than another?

sábado, 17 de dezembro de 2016


sometimes there is something you need to do
just once.  walking along a channel in the winter sun
and watching the reflections go from blue to brown to
a momentary green, no one catching your eye but a wind
sweeping by briskly to remind you, it is just this once. you
think of Rilke and how he admonished us to never believe
the lie of holding on or having forever.  you pride yourself
on how close you get. the freest of spirits in the crowd,
how you can hold a hand so close to your heart, or your
parts, in the deep blue of one single night, and then raise your
glass to the freedom of roads and journeys. but then once again
in the specter of morning and the rough waves of finitude,  you
are  wondering again,  just how to hang on.

on the road

they come to you in all their beauty,  empty handed as any refugee or
or the haggard  beggar almost braving the winter.  they wear bells and bracelets  and sing like
no one else, wailing and laughing their tales with their faux gypsy eyes, you a gulley
of warmth who smells of  cinnamon,  of  lilies of the valley in springtime or some other respite.
although you too have slept in wind-weathered tents, on beaten earth floors, have
crossed borders with the wrong papers or coins,  ridden your silky haltered pony
through a chain of islands where none have ever seen such a girl, so milky-legged
and fearless, it doesn´t quite tally the same. how to look at these sweet boys, right in the belly of the eye, take them, believing for a moment what they have seen or said.  & then move on. 


the train leaving longueville runs backwards
over red plastic,  past ripped out tracks and there
is some emergency  that keeps  slowing us
down.  the empty metal bellies of furnace,
of industrial choke are gone for now but
we know it is thanks to them we could get
this far.  a band of deer i was too slow to capture
are gone now too,  their fresh tracks  pressed
through a light snow receding,  like all paths crossed
 too quickly,  leaving  no more than  memory and its
 sweet, severed limbs.


quinta-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2016

The Last Tarpan (tales of human cruelty)

(jotted this down while reading Susana Forrest's new book, The Age of the Horse: an Equine Journey through Human History; it is roughly based on a story she tells and was meant to come as a poem, which didn´t quite work..)

Against the snow of the steppes, and the earth beginning again to bleed, a small dun creature makes her way through cracked ravines where the long-legged mounts of men rough and drunken on ale and power find no passage.  In an earlier season, she has been duped:  her herd wiped out, she is coaxed through her loneliness, by the call of a stallion, by whinnying mares, into their distant human hell. Taken, she delivers her furies against the board of the stall that retains her, against her captors who marvel and curse, that she-devil, that witch-animal.  Yet they covet her hybrid offspring, the foals she bears on long stalks of straw, the fine blood of the stallion thinning the legs and the muzzle of a rough-bellied hostage who never gives up.  They have needed her: a splendid field for the art of pursuit, for the sport of sequester, for cunning experiment.

When they bring her back from her final escape, damaged, they feel of course some flare of regret:  not for the broken bones, nor the disappearance of some indomitable tribe;  rather, for that intractable element that will be gone forever, something that has shown them all they are not, all they will never be.  They try to mend her, but in her final breath, she denies them that pleasure.