starfrosting: (firmament)
([29] from 'The Walls Do Not Fall')

Grant us strength to endure
a little longer,

now the heart's alabaster
is broken;

we would feed forever
on the amber honey-comb

of your remembered greeting,
but the old-self,

still half at-home in the world,
cries out in anger,

I am hungry, the children cry for food
and flaming stones fall on them;

our awareness leaves us defenceless;
O, for your Presence

among the fishing-nets
by the beached boats on the lake-edge;

when, in the drift of wood-smoke,
will you say again, as you said,

the baked fish is ready,
here is the bread?

starfrosting: (Default)
Ο Στρατής Θαλασσινός ανάμεσα στους αγάπανθους

Δεν έχει ασφοδίλια, μενεξέδες, μήτε υάκινθους·
πως να μιλήσεις με τους πεθαμένους.
Οι πεθαμένοι ξέρουν μονάχα τη γλώσσα των λουλουδιών
γι' αυτό σωπαίνουν
ταξιδεύουν και σωπαίνουν, υπομένουν και σωπαίνουν
παρά δήμον ονείρων, παρά δήμον ονείρων.

Αν αρχίσω να τραγουδώ θα φωνάξω
κι α φωνάξω —
Οι αγάπανθοι προστάζουν σιωπή
σηκώνοντας ένα χεράκι μαβιού μωρού της Αραβίας
ή ακόμη τα πατήματα μιας χήνας στον αέρα.

Είναι βαρύ και δύσκολο, δε μου φτάνουν οι ζωντανοί·
πρώτα γιατί δε μιλούν, κι ύστερα
γιατί πρέπει να ρωτήσω τους νεκρούς
για να μπορέσω να προχωρήσω παρακάτω.
Αλλιώς δε γίνεται, μόλις με πάρει ο ύπνος
οι σύντροφοι κόβουνε τους ασημένιους σπάγκους
και το φλασκί των ανέμων αδειάζει.
Το γεμίζω κι αδειάζει, το γεμίζω κι αδειάζει·
σαν το χρυσόψαρο κολυμπώντας
μέσα στα χάσματα της αστραπής,
κι ο αγέρας κι ο κατακλυσμός και τ' ανθρώπινα σώματα,
κι οι αγάπανθοι καρφωμένοι σαν τις σαΐτες της μοίρας
στην αξεδίψαστη γης
συγκλονισμένοι από σπασμωδικά νοήματα,
θα 'λεγες είναι φορτωμένοι σ' ένα παμπάλαιο κάρο
κατρακυλώντας σε χαλασμένους δρόμους, σε παλιά καλ­ντερίμια,
οι αγάπανθοι τ' ασφοδίλια των νέγρων:
Πώς να τη μάθω ετούτη τη θρησκεία;

Το πρώτο πράγμα που έκανε ο θεός είναι η αγάπη
έπειτα έρχεται το αίμα
κι η δίψα για το αίμα
που την κεντρίζει
το σπέρμα του κορμιού καθώς τ' αλάτι.
Το πρώτο πράγμα που έκανε ο θεός είναι το μακρινό ταξίδι·
εκείνο το σπίτι περιμένει
μ' ένα γαλάζιο καπνό
μ' ένα σκυλί γερασμένο
περιμένοντας για να ξεψυχήσει το γυρισμό.
Μα πρέπει να μ' ορμηνέψουν οι πεθαμένοι·
είναι οι αγάπανθοι που τους κρατούν αμίλητους,

όπως τα βάθη της θάλασσας ή το νερό μες στο ποτήρι.
Κι οι σύντροφοι μένουν στα παλάτια της Κίρκης·
ακριβέ μου Ελπήνωρ! Ηλίθιε, φτωχέ μου Ελπήνωρ!
Ή, δεν τους βλέπεις;
– «Βοηθήστε μας!» –
Στων Ψαρών την ολόμαυρη ράχη.
(-----Γιοργος Σεφεριδες)

* * *
Stratis Thalassinos Among the Agapanthi

There are no asphodels, violets, or hyacinths;
how then can you talk with the dead?
The dead know the language of flowers only;
so they keep silent
they travel and keep silent, endure and keep silent,
past the region of dreams, past the region of dreams.

If I start to sing I'l1 call out
and if I call out –
the agapanthi order silence
raising the tiny hand of a blue Arabian child
or even the footfalls of a goose in the air.

It's painful and difficult, the living don't meet my need
first because they do not speak, and then
because I have to ask the dead
in order to go forward any farther.
There's no other way: the moment I fall asleep
the companions cut the silver strings
and the pouch of the winds empties.
I fill it and it empties, I fill it and it empties;
I wake
like a goldfish swimming
in the lightning's crevices
and the wind and the flood and the human bodies
and the agapanthi nailed like the arrows of fate
to the unquenchable earth
shaken by convulsive nodding,
as if loaded on an ancient cart
jolting down gutted roads, over old cobblestones,
the agapanthi, asphodels of the negroes:
How can I grasp this religion?

The first thing God made is love
then comes blood
and the thirst for blood
roused by
the body's sperm as by salt.
The first thing God made is the long journey;
that house there is waiting
with its blue smoke
with its aged dog
waiting for the homecoming so that it can die.
But the dead must guide me;
it is the agapanthi that keep them from speaking,
like the depths of the sea or the water in a glass.
And the companions stay on in the palaces of Circe:
my dear Elpenor! My poor, foolish Elpenor!"
Or don't you see them
– 'Oh help us!' –
on the blackened ridge of Psara?
(------Giorgos Seferides)
starfrosting: (Default)
God's Work

Moonlight in the kitchen is a sign of God.
The kind of sadness that is a black suction pipe extracting you
from your own navel and which the Buddhists call

"no mindcover" is a sign of God.
The blind alleys that run alongside human conversation
like lashes are a sign of God.

God's own calmness is a sign of God.
The surprisingly cold smell of potatoes or money.
Solid pieces of silence.

From these diverse signs you can see
how much work remains to do.
Put away your sadness, it is a mantle of work.

(----anne carson)
starfrosting: (Default)
Water! Out from between two crouching masses of the world the word leapt.

It was raining on his face. He forgot for a moment that he was a brokenheart
then he remembered. Sick lurch
downward to Geryon trapped in his own bad apple. Each morning a shock
to return to the cut soul.
Pulling himself onto the edge of the bed he stared at the dull amplitude of rain.
Buckets of water sloshed from sky
to roof to eave to windowsill. He watched it hit his feet and puddle on the floor.
He could hear bits of human voice
streaming down the drainpipe---I believe in being gracious---
He slammed the window shut.
Below in the living room everything was motionless. Drapes closed, chairs asleep.
Huge wads of silence stuffed the air.
He was staring around for the dog then realized they hadn't had a dog for years. Clock
in the kitchen said quarter to six.
He stood looking at it, willing himself not to blink until the big hand bumped over
to the next minute. Years passed
as his eyes ran water and a thousand ideas jumped his brain---If the world
ends now I am free
If the world ends now no one will see my autobiography--- finally it bumped.
He had a flash of Herakles' sleeping house
and put that away. Got out the coffee can, turned on the tap and started to cry.
Outside the natural world was enjoying
a moment of total strength. Wind rushed over the ground like a sea and battered up
into the corners of the buildings,
garbage cans went dashing down the alley after their souls.
Giant ribs of rain shifted
open on a flash of light and cracked together again, making the kitchen clock
bump crazily. Somewhere a door slammed.
Leaves tore past the window. Weak as a fly Geryon crouched against the sink
with his fist in his mouth
and his wings trailing over the drainboard. Rain lashing the kitchen window
sent another phrase
of Herakles' chasing across his mind. A photograph is just a bunch of light
hitting a plate.
Geryon wiped his face
with his wings and went out to the living room to look for the camera.
When he stepped onto the back porch
rain was funnelling down off the roof in a morning as dark as night.
He had the camera wrapped
in a sweatshirt. The photograph is titled "If He Sleep He Shall Do Well."
It shows a fly floating in a pail of water---
drowned but with a strange agitation of light around the wings. Geryon used
a fifteen-minute exposure.
When he first opened the shutter the fly seemed to be still alive.
(---------anne carson, autobiography of red)


Aug. 29th, 2011 09:15 pm
starfrosting: (Default)
Useless, mouth against mouth,
lips moving in these desperate
attempts at speech,
rescuer bending over the drowned body
trying to put back the breath, the soul.

When did we lose each other?
These twilight caverns are endless,

you are ahead,
flicker of white, you guide

and elude, I follow you,
hand on damp stone wall, feet
in the chill pools, overhead the weak voices

flutter, words we never said,

our unborn children

(-----margaret atwood)
starfrosting: (Default)
The central nervous system and the heart,
and whatever it is in me wakes me
at 5am regardless, and what takes me
(when you do) ineluctably apart
and puts me back together; the too-smart,
too-clumsy kid glutted on chocolate cakes (me
at ten); the left-brain righteousness that makes me
make of our doubled dailiness an art
are in your capable square hands. O sweet,
possessives make me antsy: we are free
to choose each other perpetually.
Though I don't think my French short-back-and-sides
means I'll be the most orthodox of brides,
I broke a glass, got bloodstains on the sheet.
(----- marilyn hacker)
starfrosting: (Default)
by Odysseus Elytis:

Child with the skinned knee
Close-cropped head, dream uncropped
Legs with crossed anchors
Arm of pine, tongue of fish
Small brother of the cloud!

You saw a wet pebble whitening beside you
You heard a reed whistling
The most naked landscapes of which you knew
The most colorful
Deep oh deep the funny walk of the gilthead
High oh high the cap of the small church
And far or far a ship with red smokestacks

You saw the wave of plants where the hoarfrost
Took its morning bath, the leaf of the prickly pear
The bridge at the turn of the road
But also the savage smile
On the huge buffeting of trees
On the huge solstices of marriage
Where tears drip form the hyacinths
Where the sea urchin unravels the riddles of water
Where stars forecast the storm

Child with the skinned knee
Crazy amulet, stubborn jaw
Airy shorts
Breast of the rock, lily of the water
Gamin of the white cloud!
starfrosting: (Default)
How could You not know the ocean,
a pure spring a deep well ringed round
with the rolling deep, dark
as kelp and stinging salt?
Your body is there too, Bright One,
pounding force of the waves and foam soft as milk. green You are,
but not just the land
buzzing like a plucked string a swarm of bees,
iron forge and soft wet sod
No, green You are
as the rock beneath
Your fire the star at the earth's center
drinks deep of the peat-black sea.
starfrosting: (Default)
Shaving my neck
I don't have patience for people who don't
have me
Remember the lights banners strung
cross that commercial thoroughfare in Istanbul,
the fabric's joy in being stretched and hung, pride in display
smell of well-coiffed leather, proud locks tossed
+ the Bosphorus, still
it slaps against the docks
relentless sucking carbon from the wood.



Mar. 25th, 2010 02:35 pm
starfrosting: (Default)
I've had pieces of this in my head since around the new moon, "The Solution" by Sharon Olds:

"The Solution"

Finally they got the Singles problem under
control, they made it scientific. They opened huge
Sex Centers-you could simply go and state what you
want and they would find you someone who wanted that
too. You would stand under a sign saying I Like to
Be Touched and Held
and when someone came and
stood under the sign saying I Like to Touch and
they would send the two of you off together.

At first it went great. A steady stream of
people under the sign I Like to Give Pain
paired up with a steady stream of people from under
I Like to Receive Pain. Foreplay Only-No
found its adherents, and Orgasm Only-No
matched up its believers. A loyal
Berkeley, California, policeman stood under the sign
Married Adults, Lights Out, Face to Face, Under a
, because that's the only way it was legal in
Berkeley-but he stood there a long time in his lonely
blue law coat. And the man under I Like to Be Sung
to While Bread Is Kneaded on My Stomach
had been
there weeks without a reply.

Things began to get strange. The Love
Only-No Sex
was doing fine; the Sex Only-No
was doing well, pair after pair walking out
together like wooden animals off a child's ark, but
the line for 38D or Bigger was getting unruly,
shouting insults at the line for 8 Inches or
, and odd isolated signs were springing up
everywhere, Retired Schoolteacher and Parakeet-No
; One Rm/No Bath/View of Sausage Factory.

The din rose in the vast room. The line
under I Want to Be Fucked Senseless was so long
that portable toilets had to be added and a minister
brought for deaths, births, and marriages on the
line. Over under I Want to Fuck Senseless-no
one, a pile of guns. A hollow roaring filled the
enormous gym. More and more people began to move over
to Want to Be Fucked Senseless. The line snaked
around the gym, the stadium, the whole town, out into
the fields. More and more people joined it, until
Fucked Senseless stretched across the nation in
a huge wide belt like the Milky Way, and since they
had to name it they named it, they called it the
American Way.


Sep. 20th, 2009 11:42 am
starfrosting: (Default)
Shekinah is She Who Dwells Within,
The force that binds and patterns creation.
She is Birdwoman, Dragonlady, Queen of the Heavens,
Opener of the Way.
She is Mother of the Spiritworld, Morning and Evening
Dawn and Dusk.
She is Mistress of the Seas, Tree of Life,
Silvery Moon, Fiery Sun.
All these are Her names.
Shekinah is Changing Woman, Nature herself,
Her own Law and Mystery.
She is cosmos, dark hole, fiery moment of beginning.
She is dust cloud, nebulae, the swirl of galaxies.
She is gravity, magnetic field,
the paradox of waves and particles.
Shekinah is unseen dark, invisible web,
Creatrix of complex systems,
expanding, contracting, spiraling, meandering,
The beginning of Wisdom.
Shekinah is Grandmother, Grandfather,
Unborn Child.
Shekinah is life loving itself into being.
Shekinah is the eros of life, limitless desire,
Cosmic orgasm, wave upon wave of arousal,
hungry and tireless, explosive and seductive,
the kiss of life and death, never dying.
Shekinah is home and hearth, root and rug,
the altar on which we light our candles.
We live here, in Her body.
She feeds multitudes from Her flesh,
Water, sap, blood, milk, fluids of life, elixir of
the wounded.
Shekinah is the catalyst of our passion,
Our inner Spiritfire, our knowledge of self-worth,
Our call to authenticity.
She warms our hearts, ignites our vision.
She is the great turning round,
breathing and pulsating, pushing life toward
Womb and Grave, End and Beginning.
All these are her names.

(lynn gottlieb)
starfrosting: (Default)
I hear the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:
O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love's lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.

(W.B. Yeats)
starfrosting: (Default)
Where once the waters of your face
Spun to my screws, your dry ghost blows,
The dead turns up its eye;
Where once the mermen through your ice
Pushed up their hair, the dry wind steers
Through salt and root and roe.

Where once your green knots sank their splice
Into the tided cord, there goes
The green unraveller,
His scissors oiled, his knife hung loose
To cut the channels at their source
And lay the wet fruits low.

Invisible, your clocking tides
Break on the lovebeds of the weeds;
The weed of love's left dry;
There round about your stones the shades
Of children go who, from their voids,
Cry to the dolphined sea.

Dry as a tomb, your coloured lids
Shall not be latched while magic glides
Sage on the earth and sky;
There shall be corals in your beds
There shall be serpents in your tides,
Till all our sea-faiths die.

(Dylan Thomas)
starfrosting: (Default)
the honey-tar smell of the processing plants unfurled
as your drove my car into the crook of your city
tobacco curling the red dirt into raisiny treacle into hot mountain air
cooled green on the banks of neat church lawns and median strips,
your form a syrupy solid sunburnt from a thousand miles’ worth of
light from the roof and windows.
starfrosting: (Default)
So I was just making a fairly intertextual mixtape for my cousin when I realized that a poem I wrote is imagistically in conversation with Patti Smith's "Piss Factory," even though I didn't hear the song til years after I wrote the poem. The poem from May 2006 starts:

the sticks of lilac he curls in his clutched hand
bend green where they’ve torn off the bush, wet and splintered their cells exposed
unbudded clumps, hung heavy as a bunch of grapes,
bounce between his legs
each step is light, sunlight is full of seed--

And Patti's poem goes:
I would rather smell the way boys smell--
Oh those schoolboys the way their legs flap under the desk in study hall
That odor rising roses and ammonia
And the way their dicks droop like lilacs...

Whoa! It is 7 o'clock but here it feels much later. Lots of friends to see in the next couple days. Today I took Nellie on a walk down Stagecoach the dirt all gone to red-slate mud, mud on her paws and coat mud on my boots, the sky all wide and blue, cold ground warm sunlight melting all the snow to puddles. I love the country and sometimes it surprises me how well I function away from it.
starfrosting: (Default)
from DiPrima.

Influence (Wooing)
I am no
good at pleading, too proud and
awkward, my hands
know better how to ask, but how
w/you so distant, look the leaves
are gold, remember August they were
green and we lay under them on earth

now we dwell
under roofs, we lie
side by side w/out touching
when I am
alone, my tears drop
thinking of winter


Watch carefully that you may see the Day-star
arising with deliverance...

The morning star casts light on all
the towers on the hill.

We consort w/angels
We are the prey of beings
who break us open to extract the seed
The mineral sperm which flows
like vapor from our hearts

There is no quarter in this war against
our outdated humanity
We set our feet on our own heads
& climb

to the beloved & wrathful form, the female form
of what man could be
fluid and cold as starlight.

Precise as mathematics

"The sky was green as morning
& the dew
lay golden on the grass."


Oct. 28th, 2008 10:35 am
starfrosting: (Default)
Two weeks too late
I open up a book of poems, one poet imagining another
in an airport, picking up Oshun.
Prick and spin
it’s almost Samhain, been raining all day
A friend comes home with five pounds of honey,
cooks bok choy in bacon grease.
The jar sits on the shelf
decoction of sunlight grown heavy behind glass.
starfrosting: (Default)
1) Late August back home in PA makes me understand the dying god, burgeoning sun within the Earth, the grass getting dry where maple and oak leaves can't outstretch their shade. Everything is lush, the clouds thick and bramble buzzing with bees, butterflies, a red-tailed hawk keeeeing off over the hills somewhere. Everything is rolling, tumbling, sticky with sex.

So, a poem I wrote back in summer of 2002. )

2) I smell like dry woodsy vetiver and skin-salt, oceanic dry grass and geranium. I love it.

3) Rory's sister got married (my first gay wedding-- I felt so much less cynical than I'd expected!) and seeing Rory was great. We took a eucalpytus-y sauna together and talked late about Gods and spirits, woke up and had coffee and weird pillsbury orange rolls before the caterers arrived for brunch, went swimming. She smokes Marlboro Smooths now and claims they taste like Thin Mints. I got a bunch of her old t-shirts that don't fit her now and I especially love the pale yellow one with big painty flowers and the Barbara Kruger "you construct intricate rituals..." one which is hard-won (I only got it cos it's so small.)
starfrosting: (Default)
Who, if I shouted, among the hierarchy of angels
would hear me? And supposing one of them
took me suddenly to his heart, I would perish
before his stronger existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror we can just barely endure,
and we admire it so because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every angel is terrible.
And so I restrain myself and swallow the luring call
of dark sobbing. Ah, whom can we use then?
Not angels, not men, and the shrewd animals
notice that we're not very much at home
in the world we've expounded. Maybe on the hill-slope
some tree or other remains for us, so that
we see it every day; yesterday's street is left us,
and the gnarled fidelity of an old habit
that was comfortable with us and never wanted to leave. )

(rainer maria rilke, trans. by c.f. macintyre)
starfrosting: (Default)
What do I dedicate myself to on Brigid's day,
the ground still frozen with the sun up late?
What can I pledge when I need a lens of ice
and a hammer to smash to the core?
I need her iron forge, something to sledge through the freeze
craft glass out of water to cup between my ribs
and sharpen the shining fractals of my solar plexus,
til I feel the pulse, this pulse of will
a sunhot ray sluicing out a canyon of ice
pooling clear cool water at the mouth of her well.


starfrosting: (Default)

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