First Ritual

Put the bones in
then the flesh will come
flying in from Night Sky
to hang along collarbones
and slip thick down
arms and hips until
it is your house again.
Squirrel chases squirrel,
buildings fall. Normál
as we say in German,
ready for the knacker’s knife
politics of human skin.
We have come so far.
Slaves arriving
every day on the best boats,
Cassandra in the kitchen
howling among casseroles
and of all men on earth
only the hands can understand her poetry.
Because that commodity
was left behind in Aphrica,
our sunny blueland once
now only veins recall.
Or do I member
in this meander
that they call blood?
But what is it really,
this fluidity
sounds like an oboe
sometimes can’t
get out of my head
into yours?
Be briefly beautiful,
a dyslexic striptease
when it takes off it looks like rain
heavy on the outer islands
(palm of hand, socket of the knee)
where historians congrèss
looking for one more antipope.
Friends, sisters, in-betweeners,
all we’ve got is heresy,
it alone in all its furs and fingertips
its noble forgeries
keep us plausible, give
hope to the harried, a chance
that will not elude the gambler,
o sorry man who has so few kisses.
Here, be different,
impenetrably theoretical,
tendentious, beauteous, vague,
just be sure
in every situation
to be wrong,
cut the plausible umbilicus
and don’t believe a thing they tell you.
Being wrong is sexual
selection, being wrong
is Darwin on the moon,
a bird sudden to his hand,
his fucking finches
who saved us from heaven.
Being wrong is beautiful and kind.
We do not understand the Law —
all we know is how to break it
but not everything that breaks can be the Law.
But righteously bleeds free with evidence
browbeaten warriors soaking in the library
to get the words off their skin —
the names of things will trick you yet
until they sleep
among the Saltonstalls and Bagratids,
Adam is a good name for a father
but no name is best for his son.
In Wuppertal a knife got made
killed Abel’s sheep,
but Noman
picked up a stone a stick
and proved the hollowness of blood relationship,
my little language left,
my Benjamin.
And then the postcard sang:
The pen ran out of ink
the car ran out of gas
the sky ran out of air
or is it light I mean
in this city I can’t tell
one word from another —
a child is crying
maybe I’m hungry.
Maybe love knows, whatever that is
when it’s not between two people.
what sanctions it proposes for the world —
a map of charity, a major-general
with bellyache remorse, more
officers than men,
more men than women.
children play with pebbles on the street
throw them at one another and call it politics.
I was an army once
I handled dogs for Lucifer
Prince of Ventosa,
I set them on his daughters and his friends,
no one was safe from the tooth of his love,
he laughed the way great leaders laugh
loud and for himself and far away inside.
Since then I’ve been afraid of everyone.
But oh for an elegant army too clean to fight,
pretty nuns who promulgate dissent,
serpents who stand tall beside instructive trees
my god we could do it all again and do it right!
these woods are full of flying squirrels
by night they serve their long negotiation
overhead and out of light
like the whole alphabet hidden inside a written word.

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