In the moment of arousal you lose ten pounds. Call this every girl's dream
perhaps but this is not by design and carries no visible image of itself, is more
a falling away of all intention, a peeling back to the strange estranged heart
It is not something I have chosen to dwell within: we have only—as ever you
may—passed quickly through the house of your orgasm, no cathedral this
but a house of bone, skin stretched inadequate to its frame, reticent not
sublime, no famous glow as if it swam from not toward the ravisher eye,
would not be made satin but cleaved to the eaves of your face. And your
unspeakable eyes wide as rainy jewels: how can I tell their vacancy, their
You are unproductive in desire, abject, denuded, scoured by arousal that
sweeps the landscape barren and fallow and waiting for winter to lie across
its skin. This is your wonder, that you strip yourself so of the bounty of your
charms, your capital squandered, blasted all in one brief wonderful moment
so much harsher than charm.
How can you have set forth from your North Shore girlhood with this in your heart? How have you slipped through the nets into this moment of truth, bypassed those throat-bared swooners, stepped rather into this bleaching light, this hunger, body thinned to the minimal ecstatic moment, a field of jutting corners peculiarly human as it reaches toward me to be baptised or put out by that which lies beyond and is present barely in your consummate eyes that put out such light!
You will rouse and turn and speaking across worlds begin. Night after night
I am just part of the midnight landscape, little more than one half of a
collective pronoun passing through the unnatural beauty of your dream:
this is how deeply I am sown, deep in the pocket of my lover's sleep.
Dreams of mine you visit just three times. The first finds us strangers, then
lovers within a lover's dream.
By the second dream you are a head laughing, advancing on a plate rejoicing
as if you had cleaned the platter of some dark rich cake and planted yourself there
instead, quick with life or is it death and laughing like a jackal.
Somewhere between the second and the third there is a no-man's-land from
which it is impossible to speak, the tongues of lovers' confidences stopped.
In the small hours of the night one or other of us may cross this solitary place
crawling on stomachs from which the pit has been removed.
By the third you are stretched out, a white country so slender but so perfectly
vast there is scant room for me at the edges of my dream.
The dreams gather and unite into a single bloom: one of those burial urns
that rise in the sky above Bronte cemetery, strange flowers that rise from
stony beds the scattered cards of death's hand. Have you seen them? Draped
in marble cloth, ensheeted like the heads of Magritte's lovers turned aside
from the kiss, sentient as only the blind. Once, going to visit the angels, I
wandered through the cemetery and out of the corner of my eye these urns
turned to stately disembodied heads.
I miss you that is the heart of it. My stomach is an urn of hot and cold ash. I fear your head that may or may not lead me to the country of smiles, your head rolling between the covers at the point of waking, newly arrived on the shores of daylight while I am still out there.
I have seen her only once: she stole across the white courtyard like a word
for once wedded to her meaning, something swift and awful in the union,
unpronounceable. Then she lowered herself into the well where she
sometimes hangs shadow-wise for nights at a time. I felt then like a leaf
waiting to be coloured, transmuted by a dark sun, glittering with instability.
In what we perceived as hell she had something we had not: no relation of
eyes or tongue to take her in though she had both, her silence bigger than
injury, louder than the forest of clinking teacups that sought to drown her
in their sorrows. With barely a contour, an xyz on which to drape soft eyes,
(she was) something queenly in abandon.
I could not call her forth. When desire spreads you leaf-thin you can wait and wait for her but she will not come, no matter that you live in a light- filled building and she in a well.
The moment I heard your car engine pull into the night I turned and flicked
a glass to the floor where it broke into three parts. It was a favourite, emerald
green and luminous, made from that thick old-fashioned glass.
I did not dare contemplate you driving off in your tiny unlit room, girl's
body dressed as a boy's, dust-coloured hair moving into the distance,
cigarette hanging from your woman's lips. Running from the face of what
might never be restored I fled into sleep and you stayed all night, floating
where nothing could obliterate you, not sleep nor dreams, as if you were the
genie in a lamp that slipped from my grasp, me inviting its fall, you
encouraging my hand all the while, so that you flew out and lined my ceiling.
Now the vessel's contents pass, are passing out and I am happier breathing than seeing, desiring no more lamps to rub, no more of your face refracted through beautiful bent glass, even the word-vessel forever weighing anchor no more, the chimera of you rubbing your wide soul on my ceiling: enough.