Monthly Archives: July 2010

Rilke Series No’s 38, 39, 40


You, yesterday’s boy,
Spoke when I woke, split

Open. Leave me alone.
Go back. Let me get back

to God—

I don’t care. How to pray,
chant her pain—Remember,

the pine. In this city
Nothing circles me. Her belly,
body, want You. Not him

I want—I don’t. But want
Wakes in the morning
Saying Nothing with its tongue.

Staring—the boy, scared.


Now, pray
Santiago said, broke bones
Of the mare. His hands understood

How to keep love inside—
Carry, chant burdens

Guapa, go.
Inside mountain-mouth,
Whatever tongue there,

Speak. Nothing. Know—
Heart twists like this.

But I, a child, wanted—What.
Gut the Eye, God. How do I

know. Now—
There’s just me. This need.


I have hymns you haven’t heard.

In mouths I haven’t known, I have
A child, learning to chant—

Nothing has its tongue in you,
Guapa. Keep love inside—

Like this. The city swells
Blue twists against her belly.

The subway takes me, strange,
Her gait, to strangers. He tells me

There’s a sanctuary. His hands

Gut a tomato—how do I know
If he knows how to pray. Say

You know this child. Speak

To her. You’re God.


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While riding the train next to a couple, fighting

Thinking of the woman by the well–
All she wanted was water, then you,
Broken-silence, told her of the five
Men she loved before you–other tribes
in her bucket, light-fish,
Mouth-slapped, water-beings.
Did your words heal the wound
Found at the well–

I mean, will I forgive the death I try
to cleanse, the others. Body-monger,
Will I keep prayer for their passing–

Silence-breaker, tell me you know
where to bury, how many.

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Rilke Series No. 36

What will you do, God, when I die?

If I become the mountain—
If I become the prayer, Santiago—
O, when I die. Would the eye
Blue-burst into Nothing.

Slipping past need, would I
Slip past that which speaks
Into me. Say you cannot believe
In an I that is less when I die—

Go. Guapa, Circle bells in a city.
Twist longing as ropes, keep love
Inside. With tongue-heavy song
Tell Mary of the Mare—

Gut her. Strange light-speak.

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All’s gonna be fine when you die, said the cow head to the man

Vision of a man who thought himself a god hanging clothes on a line, singing “all’s gonna be fine when I die.”

I heard screams from the side—

I’m sick. I didn’t ask for this.

You didn’t ask for much, said the rabbit.

Take the thought and spin it into a knot. That’s what’s going to save you.

What’s going to save you, I said, is to hide in the ground.

That’s what you think, said the rabbit.

What ever happened to the cow, I said.

He got his head removed. Now its somewhere in Omaha, listening to birds, waiting for a man by the ravine.

When it got to the ravine, it was eye-socket, jawbone only. Sheet rock covering where the eyes would be.

When you travel, finally, into the wide, you will understand the body.

I have a pain, right here, I said to the rabbit, as I crawled on my knees.

That’s symbolic, said the rabbit, for love. But you didn’t lose it. It lost you.

How many months will the vision last? I said.

He got his head removed. Shame. Now its somewhere in Omaha. Focus on the cow, said the rabbit. Not your body.

I didn’t ask for this, I said. These visions.

So write through them, said the rabbit. I burrow in the earth. It works for me.

When I get to the ravine, what will be left of me? Where did you come from?

The rabbit said,

Somewhere, a man split a rock and hid his son’s first lock of hair in between. Then he buried it. The rains came that night. It was a full moon. What you don’t know, will save you. When he buried the rock, his son appeared to him in a dream, said:

I am the prophet that never was. I will work through you, your transgressions.

The man became an addict. Left his wife and traveled to Omaha. When his car broke down, he wept by the ravine. The cow head stopped its journey to talk to the man.

How many months will this pain last? Asked the man to the cow head.

He had drunk a fifth of whiskey and was feeling his body become lighter. Perhaps it was the sun, or the smell of grass. Wide eyed fields.

What does this have to do with me? I said.

Wait, said the rabbit. You didn’t ask for this, it was given to you. Let it happen.

So, the man started thinking about his son.

The cow head said, I am one and the same. He sent me to tell you, a woman in the future undresses each night and prays about your hands.

The drunk man wept. He thought about killing himself. But the bloom of pain brought women to his door in a rented hotel room outside Omaha.

On the second night, he dreamed of the cow head and the rock he buried for his son. Something came to in his mind. The woman beside him shook him awake.

Why you crying? Said the woman.

I hid all the alcohol from myself.

So the woman undressed and got into bed. Through her he imagined he was burrowing in the earth. Dark understands dark, he thought.

This wasn’t enough. So he went to Texas. Found a little girl.

The girl slept in a bed two doors down from him. He asked her to hold still one night.

I have to find salvation, he said.

I don’t like this. I said. It makes me feel.

I know, said the rabbit. You didn’t ask for this, it has been given to you. Let it happen.

The son of the man was a prophet who never was. He knew this. And the girl had a gift inside her he wanted to steal.

I know what you’re talking about, I said. And I don’t like it.

Understand, said the rabbit. The pain lasts as long as you think only about your body.

The man understood the girl had a gift. His son would have been like her. Talking to rabbits in her mind, or imagining cow heads. That’s what he wanted. He wanted to talk to her. But the man knew more through his body than his mind. So he held her, he turned her body around. She pretended to sleep.

That was the vision you didn’t ask for, said the rabbit. And now you know.

The ravine wept somewhere in Nebraska. An ant crawls on your arm somewhere in New York. You’re learning to think beyond your body. And this is what was given to you.

What about the boy? I said.

He works through his father’s transgressions. He gives you visions. This is what was written on your skin, when you tried to cut him out. Power comes from his rock.

When I was a kid, I said, I wanted to hurl myself into the field. Rabbits dotted their fear-bodies into earth. The girl next door had pet rabbits and I wanted to break their bones.

You had that man’s touch in you, said the rabbit.

Where’s this man now? I asked.

In your words, said the rabbit. When you touch another, when you speak, he’s listening.

And the man let go of the little girl, whispered, I could have broken you, but I didn’t.

He remembered the women who visited his door in a rented hotel room in Omaha. They were whirlwinds asking for salvation. He couldn’t give himself enough liquor to drown out the shadows of their pain.

He sent the girl on her way. Said, tell no one.

Kissed her bone, left.

His son came to him in a dream. Said, I am the prophet that was meant to be, and wasn’t. I will work through your transgressions, and give the girl back what you’ve stolen.

He left Texas. He left messages on the highway. How long will the pain last, he asked the cow head by the ravine.

Until she releases you.

Salvation comes in visions. You didn’t ask for this, but it was given.

Vision of a man who thought himself a god hanging clothes on a line, singing “all’s gonna be fine when I die”

I heard screams from the side—

I’m sick. I didn’t ask for this.

You didn’t ask for much, said the rabbit.

Take the thought and spin it into a knot. That’s what’s going to save you.

Man with the son in the rock, I bless you. Knot you in my bones, your visions. Beyond my body, your pain.

All’s gonna be fine when you die, said the cow head to the man.

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Manaquest Series

Girls against the grain of Utah,

laughing. I swear I heard

Their voices carried in echo.

Wolf. Manaquest. Your maps

The language of laps,

Do we have snakes for—

Giggled second girl to third

Girl. Gone up the cedar tree to

The stars. Away from me,

She said. He got away, wolf.

Manaquest. Called himself

Danger for the sake of


First girl, lap-heavy. Un-

Bailing twine. What was mine

She said, got away from

Me. Third girl, gone up

The cedar tree. Hollow

Cane-sugared out. Trust

Manaquest will come



Laps laugh to language of maps.

Stars away, Manaquest called himself

Wolf. Tower. Danger for the sake of—

First girl, he wrote. Letters

Gone up. Hollow as cane

Sugar. Trust me, he said

I have not left you.


Second girl, she whirled

Into Utah tower, red,

Slipped her head into snake

Skin. Slipped, said, Wolf

Write me a letter. Stars

To cedar tree. Write me.

Manaquest called danger

For the sake of her skin.

Trust me, he said. I have not left.


Third, the girl of three

Lept to see the stars

Build nests in the cedar

Tree. Tell me, what is left

Since danger for the sake of

Kept me unbailing twine.

There are holes. Snakes.

Your letters can’t undo.

Manaquest. Are there maps

For this kind of loneliness?

Trust, he said. I have not


Left, cane-sugared out,

The girls gathered the cedar

Limbs to their laps, languaged

Enough snakes to letter him

Undone. Red. Their own blood

Hollowed lips to stars. Trust me,

Said the girl of three—

he’s back—


First girl, Wolf lept

Into her lap, red, hollow,

Cane-sugared out. Utah

Whirled stars and cedar

Mapped her, gathered.

Language, laughter,

girls, I am back.

He said—they threw up

Their heads, lipped stars

Said, We’re sick.


Utah whirled their bodies home. Undone,

I swear I heard laughter, hair

Swept, sugared, they came, cedar sweet—


The girls giggled Wolf

Into laps of red. Blood

We’re sick, they said,

Handed language to trees

Forgive us, said the three—

We’re sick, sugar-caned

Out. Manaquest left

I have not, written on their backs.


Manaquest curled lips to kiss

stars in their hair—three

Girls giggled, threw up

their heads, laughed language

to the cedar tree. Whirled nets

for the sake of


Snakes in the tower, trembled

Utah red. Wolf, his nets, cast cane.

Sugar, he said, I have not, for

give me.


Sick, the girls sung

towers to the stars,

wrote, We have not

on their backs, and he will not



First girl fell in the net,

limbs of cedar in her lap,

wrote, star, star. I know

you have not left.


Second girl bit blood,

her cane-sugar to cedar

tree. Lipped language there,

watched stars tangle in her

hair—swept, turned

back. He will come,


Danger– for the sake of,

Manaquest called himself

Wolf. Broke the tower, wrote

On third girl’s skin, Trust

I will come again. Cane-

Sugared-out, blessed

the cedar tree—the three

Girls giggled—hollowed their laps

For the language of


Trust. Manaquest leapt

Stars, maps, into their laps,

Wrote: I’m coming back

To Utah. The girls

Bathed their heads in cane

sugar—sick, blessed

for the sake of—

gathered limbs of cedar, climbed

the tower till hollowed

Out. Wolf. Forgive us, our snakes,


language is sick. I know

Manaquest wrote, whirled

their bodies home—bled

the cedar limbs, said

On your back are maps

to the tower for the sake of

Our Letters—


For the sake of

Your letters, we have become

sick, said the three, laughing,

bodied to the cedar tree—


I swear I heard girls against

the grain of Utah red, bathing

their heads, giggling—



give us

our snakes


give us

our maps


the sake of–

written on their backs.

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Rilke Series No. 24

I love you, gentlest of Ways,

Your Nothing blue beat

Inside me. Outside

Me. The eye, God, I

want the subway bells, their

tongues, City-things

to Sing, O—

Nothing, guapa, inside,

Has it’s tongue, twisted,

In you. A need of me—Please,

gentlest of Ways, say—

Santiago prays her bones, still,

Keeps Nothing inside

Like this—Split.

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Aura-Girl Series Pt 6

I woke up this mornin’ with a pain curled up beside me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.

Alright, I said. Grab your coat.

How many times have you woken’ up and gotten yourself into a day that wasn’t made for you? I walk out the door and the shadow pain trots along, happy as can be that I’m keepin’ it company.

Now, there’s a door here in this conversation that I’m not sure I wanna walk through.

Grab your coat.

When I was a kid, my horse could understand what was comin’ before I could. We’d be ridin’ along in the mesquite and I’d be cryin’, just letting her go wherever she wanted. Faster. I’d feel her lift off a bit more and I’d lean closer to her neck.

Tell me somethin’, I’d say.

Funny thing is, fields opened up. I mean whole worlds! I’d jump into the body of the field, right off my horse, or together with her, into the mouth of it and become the dust.

Once, the sun was settin’. I remember cryin’ because I thought:

The body is so small, and nothin’ can be done about it.

You get up, somethin’ follows you out, and your body doesn’t know what to do with the shadow pain.

But I knew I could ride into a field somewhere and somethin’ would make sense.

So I rode faster and faster. We hurried along and it grew darker, more colorful than God. Or just about.

I said, Tell me somethin’.

She’d respond by kickin’ up more dust, goin’ faster.

You know the roll of it, she said. You know the ground splits for us.

I know, I know, I said. Keep talkin’.

And the body of a child, hinged between bein’ small and goin’ into a world of larger things, that feelin’ of shadow pain, tried to catch up.

Faster, I said, faster!

The ground split for us. The field opened up.

Once, I heard my name in the beat of how the body feels, headed toward wind and God’s horizon. Not that I tasted our auras. I was older then and afraid.

Somethin’ was stolen. I was tryin’ to get it back.

Talkin’ to my horse helped. She laughed at me so often when I tore my clothes and rolled in the field just to feel the split.

She said, I know. I know what you’re thinkin’ before you say it.

Now I only hear her in dreams. Usually she’s dyin’ and I feel guilty for leavin’ her alone.

I woke up this mornin’ with a pain curled up next to me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.

You think I’d walk around, tearin’ my clothes now? You think I got a field openin’ up to me now? I’m just sayin’ somethin’ used to happen to me until it didn’t.

You wake up and there’s shadow pain lookin’ at you, wantin’ you to carry it off to a field and bury it. Just listen, this happens but people don’t understand, or see properly.

Last night, I dreamed my horse had been broken in two. Layin’ there bleedin’ to death. I woke up and asked the shadow beside me to speak. It wouldn’t. Shadow pains are mute creatures. Nothin’ but God in there, waitin’ for you to notice. But I wasn’t about to give it any mind. Not until I found myself standin’ in front of a mirror scremain’ HOLY SHIT! Who’s face is this? You know what I mean? You know how the whole world wakes up and you’re still sleepin’?

Damn if a field opened up and you didn’t crawl inside just to hide from your own thoughts, which ain’t yours anymore.

This is what it was like.

I saw two shadows hangin’ upside down in the window when I got back to bed. The mirror said it wasn’t me. I said, Holy Shit. Now, last time this happened, I ran for a knife and tried to cut it out. Blood was everywhere. God said, Stop that nonsense. But when I was a child I didn’t stop. I kept cuttin’ through because the body is so small and children don’t know what other ship to sail on.

But last night those upside down shadows hung there until I willed them away.

I said, I can’t sleep. God damnit I can’t sleep.

And they said, But we’re here to tell you somethin’.

I don’t wanna know. I said, I don’t wanna know.

Now, I wake up almost every mornin’ with a shadow pain curled up beside me, askin’ to be let out for a walk.

Grab your coat, I say.

This is what it’s like.

My horse dead on the side of a road and me, askin’ the field to open up and take me.

God, if I was lyin’ I wouldn’t feel half dead.

That’s what we’re doin, I said to someone the other day. Walkin’ around half dead with shadow pains attached to our foreheads like crowns.

What kingdom do we think we belong to? They asked.

I don’t know, I said.  Not one where the auras speak, that’s for damn sure.

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