Tell all the Truth but tell it slant
In telling A, I've lost the key,
I say B to B to
bumble bee. Repeat, Boys believe
in bombs. All around Christian
church bells chime
and chime and chime and chime.
At seven in green uniform and beret, On my honor
my badge reads TOFS I will try
for Troops On Foreign Soil. to serve
At Mt. Fuji's foot, we girls from everywhere God and
say Afghanistan, say Bolivia, say the Republic my country
of China we girls sing camp songs, make and to live
S'mores that sound like, taste like America. by the Girl
Voices raised high, we pledge. . . Scout Law.
Whose country? I come to A, skin rough as silk. My face ambiguous morning
streets before the stagger of tourists. In telling B I've lost the key. Bulldozer
caterpillars run roughshod. Crush houses. Crush bones.
When American soldiers throw
white phosphorus bombs into Iraqi homes, they are rooting
out the terrorists. Walls erupt in flames. Tell all
the truth: Here,
a couple once fought and made love.
Here, a child once refused to eat
bamya and after sanctions
dreamt wildly of crisp okra, tomato's tang.
Here, poems scrawled at midnight and songs sung in
the kitchen erupt into flames, cling
to the skin of the man, of the woman, of the grown
child. Burn skin down to bone.
Tell it slant.
B to B to bumble bee,
we all believe
attack, attack, defend,
defend. In the beginning
troops bleeding foreign
yourself, enter chilled
A: My body wakes under the weight of my lover's arm. B: Some would kill
us too for loving each other. C: There are no words
for what we are about to commit. Help us find our slanted tongues.
As Brutal As any Electrician
You drop in like a quarter.
My lightbulbs zing, bells tremble, my gates arch open
tin whistle tin whistle tin
you whistle as brutal as any electrician.
I'm wired to your circuitry.
In jouled four four time we pulse we pulse we
jukebox waltz bite booze like rabid dogs
fuck in neon flashing on formica countertops. Drag
hard cigarette exhale
swirl us up and over city's crosshatch ragged trees.
Wisps. Breath. Cough.
Cumulous clouds garish in zealot headlights.
You orbit elliptical
false star light fluttering against
my chain link fence. Fuse short
circuiting, you call to the night watchman
in me. Your skin I flashlight,
your skin bruised in diamond patterns.
With ivory handled switchblade care, I cut you delicately
away. I whistle
as any electrician.
She tells this story again and
never again. Keeps it close.
This a flower
a sharpened skyscraper.
There a train
densha. A bicycle, the precise display of carrots.
And there a stone
That a puddle of mud.
The day was gray. And she lingered. She knew there was a there to where the trains went. Silk and bloodold favorites, all silk. It wasn't companionship she speared through the delicate petals. She had lost her lover against the sky. The handkerchief bled, nostalgia. In the tall glass, summer afternoons swam.
She swam trailing her four names, trailing her handsome burden. The wires hummed and hummed. Hot desert and wind counted to one hundred. In a tongue not its own. She forgot to travel as she lit her cigarette. The trains sauntered into the ending and were lonely.
They were all lonely. Matchbooks, mushrooms. And, likely, stockings slipped to the floor in long afternoons of revenge. She cracked the word peripatetic. Sometimes, now, walking, and the brink of (what?). The waves: too strong. She was often buried in sex, she was often buried.
Time, a dandy. Eucalyptus, just the ticket.
This home she chooses:
She collects fog
at the Pacific's edge.
Pelicans wing south.
In cities all across the world, pelicans wing south.
Hana Writes a Love Poem
You, ocean curved.
ExhaleI'm the wave-washed
shell at your throat. You
remember as thoughtlessly
And yes you loosen my knees' cartilage and yes
I swirl in the whorl of your fingertips
I want to swallow whole your scallop-laden hair, your whole pink carnations,
want to slide
my blistered self home
I've forgotten how to say what I need in the language of my mother's mother's mother.
Glaciers melt somewhere north and north of us.
Touch my tongue. And
yes, touch my tongue. And no, touch the small
of my back. Scarred. Lovely.
Between the sheets
seaweed and doorways.
You shed your shirt.
We gasp, our breasts
the tracks we lay
across each other's skin
cut summer grass, evaporating
Discuss: hormones and sand castles.
The difference is
closing the space between
is holding your head
on my lap, is saying the right thing to translate
the untangling of your hair.