Spilling Beer

 

1990

 

Chilled Pieces, Driveling Preludes (for a Dog), Dried up Embryos

--Eric Satie

 

 

 

biography

 

The biography of her would be like a ladder you had to fall from. You'd be filthy from the effort. Bruises on your entire body. Your head might swim. Tears come to your eyes. The limbs might get stuck in a praying position. The motion of kneeling forever entangled with the notion of her. Her life would be a large room you could gather in. After the fact. You might stare for years at the ceiling. Like her. You might look at yourself and laugh. At her.

 

It would be too late to do anything. Weeds already overgrown. Erect a statue you might. That would be nice. o mound. Words pressed in sand. Are there still hands under that dirt? A mind that works? You might find aisles to walk down. Kicking up the dirt and spying. Wondering.

 

looking down at the body of your wife

 

You are any man looking down at the body of your wife. Not dead. Evidence of a capful of whiskey. Drunk in the honor of the Irish. O do not refuse to get drunk! A greater mistake never made. We are talking of the kind of surrender. That aches. An aroma of the breath of your loved one. She lies there. Innocent in unconsciousness. Those are the children. The ones in no throes. Feet without shoes. Long and slender hanging. A hand on the rug. Lying there. In another world and in love. Beautiful mist that comes upon us. Then do some men weep for the future. The sturdiness all gone. The brawny evenings washed ashore. Their one and only boat. So knocked about. She who braved the rancid sea. Think about her now. With whiskey bottles all around. It's a theme. A plot of slipshod steps. A widening stamina. Deep in the valley of the gentle streams. Huge heroes are like us. Although high on a horse. O come from the Indian plains. I will remember a poem in the honor of your neck.


feather

 

Hard mountain I tended to fall off. I could see my limbs already nicely buried. Even back then. Hear the hammering. Feel the delicate ants. Their soft feet pitter patter. There's a verse that goes through my head. I'll keep the words to myself.

 

The next morning the sun is shining. It shines through the ground and wakes me up. Death bed that feels so comfortable! The birds sing. A lonely woman walks beneath all the chirping. I see flowers in her hand. She goes to a stone marked with a name. Bluebirds fall in trumpet-like formations above her. Bright feathers touch her clothes and hair as she bows. Her hand touches her mouth. I can taste the eggs she ate this morning.

 

My fate was to assume the bragging position of one who fears everything. That way nothing was shocking. I woke in the morning to the bombardment of small animals eating, mating, washing. Their noises drove me to my medicine cabinet. The way they sang and chattered. I tore at my hair. I swallowed whole pills to escape the meaning. The vision of the land pressed in outside my window. And when real people stuck their heads in... I was too weak to close the curtain.

 

Grant me this at least. That now my eyes are open. I cannot move. But my eyes are open. And into the clear passage of my ears now enter their songs. I can hum along and stare for hours at their beautiful bodies. As they bend over. As they stare at the stones. The chemicals in me have all melted. Nothing human left but this strong desire to feel a feather graze my brow.

 

yo muse!

 

yo muse of my throat!

come from your ghetto land

bring me a dollar

on your way up

the dirty flight

where once we stopped

to kiss on necks

bring me some ice

O muse from below

come up from the hysterical avenue

where young boys shout brown things

get outta my way!

O muse from the 100th depth

come up from that place where you've stuck yourself

black bodies kicking dust

white bodies kicking stone

young bodies picking fights

pick me my very own bud!

yo muse!

come from that littered land

where I kept my heart in my boots

walking straight out into that three a.m. street

a dollar in my hand

for my muse

the one I dream about

the one I got holed up

we'll take a train!

O muse we'll close our eyes and force the track

crawl up the flight

the stained, slippery stairs

up to my door

where scribbled on the wall

is that name of yours

 

singing about cognac again

 

bless me, boys!

raise me onto the table!

a hard wooden statue

I am harder than metal

harder than steel

harder than you, boys!

 

kiss my face, boys!

lick my tears!

undress me slowly

first the shirt oh how the heart hums

its stately attire is grace

bless my brains, boys!

for I have dreamed of you

up in that dark place

 

Shakespeare I ain't

but his words to muses

can make me stop in shock and wonder

and repeat fine poetry beneath my breath

bless my ass, boys!

for dead I ain't yet!

 

take my arms

and put me in yours

and while you're at it, boys

release my shoulders

from that heavy thing

that sits in rest

perched way upon it

heavy and hard, boys

oh it feels so much better!

 

I have been released

and relaxed

and now I am older

and look down at you young

boys in the bar

and hope for a glance

that will cause you to shudder

I can show you so much!

ye boys so dark

standing shoulder to shoulder

in the corner!
 

the gun that went off

 

I held you in my arms until I thought a fire would start and metal flash and bombs burst

I pointed you toward the doorway

and shot down the old vase across the room

 

flowers fell everywhere

the petals seemed like they would never reach the floor

huge bees burst out of that noise

in shock struggling to reach the door

 

the vase touched the floor without breaking but the flowers took a long time to reach it

some floated in a trance

beautiful blue ones with long dangling stems and puckered yellow ones showing their age

and graceful strong ones with leaves like wings

 

a handful of lilies fell by the door

in great pretense they mimicked a heavy sleep

and shattered into a thousand pieces

that no one could rake
 

Pigalle

 

The last time we saw Christ he was on a large wooden dance floor. Pigalle. Kicking up a storm. People leaning over--laughing. He had a long nose--was wearing a skull cap. old men shoveling the vomit of youth nearby. Having a good time. He got down on all fours and had a long laugh at his own drunken heart. He showed us his belly. His hair stuck straight out. His eyes were popping. Veins were clearly etched; he had opium on his breath. Catholic women standing. Remember: do not kneel. Catholic women with not a rose to offer. o the new world. What will be. Nude dancing on a falling balcony. No clothes did he have on. Christ. Like you would imagine--weighted not down--not him. A great dancer who never needed lessons. I took his arm--how sweaty it was. Not so thin but there were bones sticking out. I'm celebrating the aroma of wooden floors--the knowledge of the pureness of dance halls now. There's a greatness in Pigalle. I'm telling the truth. Him and others. With blondes and redheads. Some were not men. Big deal--so what. Gods rising like so much smoke-- rainy French day with old bread and beggars mimicking lamp posts. The roofs of churches knifing the sky. Poking the unreachable. In that unbearable grayness--how his heels swirled! Walked up all night a hill. Dreaming of dancing. He spoke French. He waved no flag. He had a good time. That would end.
 

the lord said to me through clenched teeth

 

the lord said to me through clenched teeth

stop sobbing

the light kept flickering on and off

I thought I would start falling

stop gushing with feeling

he sent this old angel

old woman with black boots who smelled from whiskey and bread

enjoy life she said

put your heart behind you

her black teeth rotted as she spoke and fell from old lips

enjoy your life!

her voice crashed from beyond her

what color were her eyes?

O I cannot I cannot tell you

 

spilling beer

 

we all sat at a long wooden table

beneath a long window

from which streamed the saddest light

oceans of thick, sad light

pushing pupils to their limits

mine were opened wider than a snake's mouth

being pried by its trainer

O afternoon that gleams

our heads spun dizzy with lines of light

washed out halos

twelve of us with beer on our lips

thanking the lord for this and that

I got up to show a mate an old trick

that caused the bottle of beer

I was holding

to fall from my hands

and break on the old wooden table

later in my dreams

the foam became a jungle's river

where swimming I was able

to escape the light

the damn bright light

and rest in a fragrance of darkest night

 

 

 

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