Like a pocket watch
Reflecting lights in Sears,
The stars’ sovereign presides over
A fixed desert’s moisture.
The jagged, sloping summits
Double as sundaes and make me forget.
These valleys beyond support nothing
While stiffs in pressed slacks
Scramble beneath in a trance.
Mallory: I dance as though fire cleanses me,
my hips the rhythm of bullets while Mickey
eats green pie.
Just a simple job. The coffee’s fresh,
cheap, the turkey plate’s real good.
I am from baking sheets
From red dirt that stains
I am from humid heat that weighs down the skin
I am from mangoes sweet as honey
rhum of sugarcanes
I am from telling stories in the night
Put downs in the sunlight
From Jacques up the docks of Cap-Haitien
To Voltaire down south in mountains
In a garden of weeds
a worm recedes through red clay,
covering itself with tender coats
of treason and slithers gray—
almost floats on fruitless
If it does this properly, it will
be compared to fingers and
not trains but still, the soil is
too bland to be tilled and
For the past half century, I have never seen
A single frog in this city, not even in the whole country
But there are four big-mouthed frogs leaping around
Afar in a rice field of my native village
If Sam Axe died
on USA’s intense dramatic show,
I would have cried
for a character I always wanted to know,
and Burn Notice would have sighed
Three sisters that danced in the night
That struck the snow bloody white
One of anger, one of fright, one of spite
A dark deed out of sight
Now two sisters danced the night
One kissed the stars with her light
While the other slit her throat that night
Now one sister danced
Yet the rhythm she could not keep and death came in her sleep
Now we are alone
Some don’t like poetry that’s hard, dense like a Roman wall.
Others had to learn ways through that wall, so here I am
needing strange poetry to explain how I taste sound.
My way of hearing the world was always derided
by people who trampled the music that fed me,
the soft leaves and singing of the woods
that wrapped around me when all was lost.
Noisier, hotter engines invade the waters
in inner ears now; but some don’t care.
The world rolled up to his feet
like a soft wave,
and his words
whisper across each crest.
And knowledge drifted,
but as we sank in further
did our feet touch bottom,
feeling the jagged surface beneath,
Face in a pillow to block out the roaring.
Then a small radio became a womb;
My tight stomach needing songs
to cover up all echoes of words.
Music, a push on a sled into a quiet barn,
finally, the feeling of being covered in
haybales: a thick scent-sound I could inhale