THIS IS WHAT JESUS TOLD ME

(Excerpted from 62 pages)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goats stand in formation


Hallelujah!
God is my witness
Goats stand in formation
On my favorite hill
The white-washed walls
Of my loverís house
Burst into verse
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lying by a tree while God passes over

Look away while I tell you
First of all
There were many trees
They were all dead
And we were chained to them
Look away while I tell you
And five men in coats
Told me to come to their table
That I did

Do you remember?
You were there
Lovely
Your teeth in such pain
We bit off the bread together
Your lovely brain always working
Your dogs always howling
Where are you?

Then I told him
Look away from me
 

 

 

Forgetting

 

Heroes think of where they can go after dark

Because they are lost in their knee socks

Is what a little girl told me

I thought it was so cute you are my mother

She said of course

I wasnít but still I thought

I would try to prove to her that not everyone

Had to die like I did every night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baroque

He never looked into my eyes
And said I would die
For you
So I killed him
 

 

 

 

 

 

It shines too bright

There is no way to get out of this. You have to ring
The bell, please. Ring it. Kiss my hand, please.
Next, shoot that bird. Now. Shoot it. Claim your weapons.
Advise God. Taste something for him. Build walls.
I fancy blood. That is what dolls do. He loves you. Do it.
There is a way to get out of this. Do it. Blush on meeting Him.
You can do it. St. Peter? Skip him. Go straight to Him. Beat it.
Down goes all the water. Into the toilet. You did not swallow something too big. You did not bite off more than you could swallow. You did leave her, however. You did kill her by leaving her. Did you know that? As you stand in the potato field with your big arm around your small wife. Are there crows? Do you both sit at a long table as the light fades? Eating figs? Are you still lost? You did kill her, you know. Come to himóor leave Him. These things bleed upon touching. These things go haywire. Some things are not meant to be touched but I want you to touch me. Can you? God says say pretty please. And you could please anyone. I like them tall. God is tall. He tells me to look out there. Out there! And tell Him what I see. I see thee, instead. Ignoring Him. I am invisible. There is not one man who wants to take down my pants. Who wants to lift up my shirt. And feel a tick-tocking heart. Thatís because there is no heart. He took it. Not Him. The other. Back to where we started. Advise God to start feeling something. Do something about your hair. Turn the light off.

 

 

 

Chicken

Now I am alone in this room with a light that pierces the backs of chairs that sit still for me. I can come to them in quiet and say. Lie down your flat surfaces, show me where you keep the fish. The old man downstairs? He meets me in the hall. He creeps closer. He wishes for my fish. I am not his cook or his whore. But in that darkness he reminds me of you. Your thousand arms. The way you would come. Was your mouth ever open? Did you ever moan? We would drive in a car down a country lane. Thatís all I remember. And then I stumble forth with these words. Over and over. So, thatís why tonight I am as black as a night sailor adrift at sea not even caring about direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what jesus told me

First of all to stop cutting down the fields where the grass grows high. I tried to explain that I didnít cut the grass. I only cut my own skin. He said why argue? It was cold outside and I offered him my sweater. Thinking back, of course I did not offer my sweater but I would like the record to remain that way. Jesus was handsomeóespecially with his shirt halfway unbuttoned. He explained that if he had married me we would have, by now, a three-story house. A story for the father, a story for the son, a story for the holy ghost. A live-in flat where we would eat pancakes and discuss holy law. I loved the notion of it. But can you make me happy? I asked. He looked at me the way a field looks at a herd of cows that is trampling its grasses. Happy? Before he could answer, the skies split open. A voice thundered. If you donít stop right now, you will both have to go to bed early. I love this being lost in voices. Jesus said nothing. But I knew. He was keeping the best for last.
 

 

 
 

 

In the tower where the fighters fight

 

The bloody Arabs are bleeding again. Anything to keep the words that are being told to me in the telephone from sticking. I am quitting cigarettes, it says, and your father needs to stay with you for a week. The Arabs are heaving themselves into the walls of the mosque. They are blowing up. The Jews are, too. Their necks twist in the Jerusalem wind. God leans back against a filthy window and takes a cigarette from his pocket. Shit. Fuck. Apples on trees around him grow. What a miracle! Soldiers stick out their hands to help their injured buddies. Nothing works unless we take a step back and not look at it. Then, everything works. What I am trying to say is, despite the fighters in the holy tower who are keeping the enemy soldiers at bay, despite them, I will enjoy the beginning and the end of this day.

 

 
         
       
  Where beauty ends

Your wrinkled hand reaches for my glass. I can hardly look. Once your hair shone white! Your face made men weep! Now, even God takes a step back. Is this something I made? I think of the city streets I found so beautiful. Knee-deep in filth. We swam in the debris. Swam in the debris! Now, your hand reaches for my face. A monsterís claw. Thank god itís my own or I would scream. What happened to me?

 

 


 

 
       

 

 

What Napoleon smelled like

Not like death but like the rain that still sticks to the edge of a womanís hat as she says goodbye for the last time to her condemned husband. Like the angry welt that melts in your mouth as you lick clean the spoon that feeds you. Like the dying brother, like the glowing hot ball of sun, like your neighborís hands as he gropes the filth you keep hidden in your pants. Donít tell his wife or their children will wither. So says the mad woman who walks the streets. I could laugh if only I had laughter left in me. This is the end. Says some priest to some woman with heavy breasts who is begging to be beaten in his church with his Damned Stick under His Damned Roof. Some roof. I could die under this damn ceiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reporting from Baghdad

Itís like a black smear of gum to suck I told the girl with the face of a child. Itís like donít you know to just shut up and be like any sailor? We could run on waves, bucking the whales, spitting out goldfish on our wicked ramble! Brace yourself for the captainís entrance! O, the captain. Whose tongue is our necktie. Whose eyes stick from heaven with their briny shadows. His teeth are truth. His lips tell the story. Of this thing we call, er, glory. It will be him who unbuttons your buttery shirt, who unravels your white neck, who peels the red from your very heart. I knew him, my mother knew him, and you will know him. Trust him not. Of course, we go to church, wheel our babies and grandparents past the green parks where all is well, is it not? I kneel in this knell knowing well thatÖ.my rhymes peak the tip of the hat you will wear to the wedding where she stands parked for you to place in your own story. And love her not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And with this gun to my head I sang

Because what else is there to do? I stand on stage, an 80-year-old woman still with heat and a throat on fire, still with blood. Look! There on the couch. One manís head leaning over. Her thighs puffed with desire. O, how her heart hums. Silly thing who will soon be thrown overboard, says the man on watch, the man with the clock stuck in his throat. They will not go down without being lost forever, reports the angel on godís shoulder. The angel on godís shoulder? Is this the final word?

 

 

 

         
         

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

   
   

Bow before me and declare your love

Bitter photograph, stupid piece of toast, ugly city. I walk though Paris, Detroit, Milwaukee. Their rivers are riddled with bodies and old wivesí faces and husbandsí broken penises. Thatís how it goes. We are long-ridden elephants swinging our ridiculous trunks. I want to wear a ballerinaís shoe. Pure white and inside my own head. Perched foot that prances. Elbow out, head in the clouds; I want to dance in this black box. Well, says something to something else. We all want but we cannot get what we want, can we? Never, says the other thing. Even one dance? Her voice, all crumbled like eaten cake on a Sunday morning when the family has finally escaped and the house sings to itself in its delight. Even that, says the frozen mouth. Even that.
 

   
 

 
 
     
       

But what about this beating heart?

We see before us a sheet of wall. Heads butt and break and the policeman declares a strike. In prison, I find you. Hung up from the rafters! Gorgeous eye that opens! Your pen still in hand. White hand. Black eye. Your mouth slightly open. I touch your jeans. I touch your thighs. Like a chickenís, so light, so blue, so good to eat! You died like a hen, you tell me. Cluck! The clock stops. Where am I? This dream has no beginning and no end.
 

And this neck whose pulse is thick?

There is a stream of riddles, says a man with gloves. His corner is well known. Hat on high. Can I jump in I ask. But there is a horse in the way. And a meadow. And a mother. And a kitchen. And a sofa. And her with him. And you with them. And Nazis and girls with blond hair. And pianists and poor ill faces that break into tears and song all at the same time. This dream, this world, this veil. Is it too hot? Too cold? Am I dreaming, then?
 

 

And the warm body of you, of you!

His bones put away, we concentrated on the mountains in front of us. As we sipped golden wine. A narrow heart, said my companion to the wind. And I saw noble Indians bowing to pick up their hammers. And I saw Frankenstein and dolls naked. And I saw women with wires and men with hats. The wires led to hell. Hellish connection, they had. I ate cake. I sniffed in the air, watched one brother die, the other fall in his garden. I saw the smoke from my own house overtake every neighbor. And when I was ready, I, with pen in hand, declared it is over

 

  O, this world

Mountains open their legs to us. They do! Silvery streams and yellow-haired woodpeckers that pick from between their thighs. O, lovely green marsh and nightmare creek. Where dead squirrels are eaten by perfectly normal woodchucks. I would like to dance there. In that space. Anyway, I was speaking about a ghost that often visits me. Midnight and my heart hammers. Like sobs, like bubbles, like goldfish drowning. This bowl! I rise to dusk and dawn, married. There flies the fawn.
 

 

 
 

A brother dying

In yesteryear, I ate a frozen cone. Blue vanilla and raspberry. My father fell down steps and cried. His head a joke for the family. That was then. The ice cream truck, the stern blonde mother, the German shepherd who raced in the streets, the boy with no blood or heart, and the swimming pool where all life stopped. Thatís where I say we should meet again. Me in a white bathing suit, you in your little boy trunks. Little tiny shoulders, brother. Put your arm around me, eat all my ice cream here, where I can rest.
 

 
     

 

  Much better when I donít think of things

Feel his stumble of a finger; I hate it! Itís a clown thing, something that belongs in a circus and I am a queen. She says this but the sky is forsaken. Her hotel burned down. Her ball gown taken. All the boys have gone. The summer, too. Winter is thereóacross the lake. What made her brown eye turn blue? She knows all the words. I will take you, I will take you, I will take you. But now this bum, his legs missing, tatters of a hat, says to her: I am all you got. Thank god for god. Who later takes her.
 
 

She weeps and then stops weeping

How can that be? Your breath that seems like ice from this hilltop is not even cold. We are shivering in our huts and your house is on fire? Funny thing. So, the people sing their songs hoping to be heard but all that is heard is one rain drop falling on one heavenly hovel where one tiny woman spills ancient oil on one hot pancake. Is this her last pancake? Never! She will go on and on, says the wise man who loves all and herds goats for a living. She will go on. And in our pretend kitchens we paint pink walls to celebrate the coming of happiness!
 

 
     

 

 

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