When knights repose in meadows
And the hidden kings decree,
Why does Johnny twist his tongue
Pour La Belle Dame Sans Merci?
God made His mountains
So we'd learn how to climb
Like the Devil made Percy
To free us from Time.
I am the Disaster of Dirt and Plaster,
The cursling of the Sky;
I clog up the pores of maidens and bores;
They weep, but I merely cry.
Little birds, weep not for Adonais!
I tended him on his coughing bed,
Wiping the mouth's great gleam of red,
Then fit my Shelley for his shoes of lead.
I will act kind, I will seem pure,
I will tell everyone, "I'm sure."
I'll find a poison for the cure.
I heard of Hermes from books
Tossed across fault lines, from man
To boy. From voices strained
On the stage, to the complacent ink.
Through widening ruins, fathering centuries,
A trickery passed down
In luxurious wardrobes.
But I have scaled these lips,
And these. And have traced centuries also
Through this willful terrain. A speechlessness
Wrapped in what a thousand pregnant mothers bring.
I learn the day from its newest breath. From daughter
To daughter, across the unbreakable lines of shadows,
Your body echoes mine.
For life, for this tonight, put away our intimacy;
Turn from the flower and embrace the stone.
You and I must make peace with the wreckage
Pushed aside by merchants and palm readers.
If not us, who? Courage stretches further
Than any hand that holds its longest hour.
I've grown sick eating the vomit of words.
Do not confuse me with sure joy.
Curve beyond desire and help shoulder
This forgotten weight the world needs shouldered.
In the morning we'll know a little more
Of this art of loving, of bowing to our service.
Nathan Woods, editor/overlord