Archive for July, 2007

Eden Incunabulum

“As his unlikeness fitted mine”—

so his luciferous kiss, ecliptic : me
pinned beneath
lips bitten as under weight of prayer, Ave—but
no common vocative, no

paradise above, and we not beholden
to a name, not
to a local god banking fever blaze his seasonal malady
of flowers—nor to demi-urge

nor the lapsarian system’s glittering, how
later we spoke
between us of sacred and profane as if the numinous
could bring death—the only

system—to bear burn outside
and hang its glister wisdom and singe in the viridian wilt. Lilt,
to break salt in that sugar

where skin was no choice
and sanguine, not
blameless, though, Ave, I loved our words for want
beginning liquor, squander

sip and fizz : fuck, ferment
I loved
and bluebottles tippling windfall rot, bruises’ wicked wine
gone vinegar

beneath the taut brief glaze
of wings, but
it was not yet nameable, what we later called disease : script
brought us by the trick

snake’s fakey Beelzebubbery.
In the dirt
with his dictionary skin, tight skein of syllables knit by un-
numbered undulating

clicking ribs, the snake slunk
and stung
and spelled the dust with his tongue and tail and was nothing,
a black forked lisp

in the subfusc grass hued
blue as the blue
sky tipped its lip to ocean horizon and filled, hugest
amphora, and sank,

evening, Ave, I will tell you
now I loved it
all. That in his hot body there was something similar
to the idea of heat

which was in my mind,
that when we
alembic, lay together, we bequeathed the white
fixed earth beneath

ardent water and a season’s kept
blood, and I not
a rib of his, not further hurt in his marrow—for the idea
of death was in him,

the only system—and we lay together
in the field
that was not yet page, not begun with A—, not alpha nor
apple, not Ave, not yet

because what we knew was
the least of it
then. It was difficult to sleep with the love of words gone
gospel between my thighs

where nightly he’d jack
the pulpit, Ave
Corpus, Ave Numen, gnosis and throb unalphabetical,
I will tell you

I loved it all, fastest brushfires
and dryburns
his body’s doublecross, garden lost to loss, incurable
season : wilt, lilt : singe,

our song. And the snake,
lumen skin
of alphabets, rubbing his stomach in the dust until his tin
eyes filled with milk,

his slack skin flickered and split
and new
black sinew out of the slough dead lettered vellum
legless crept and let fall wept

whisper, hiss, paperhush :
with the skin
language left behind I bind time to memorial : Book of Our
Garden Hours, illuminated

bloom : Here a gilt script singe sings of heat

split in its leaves,

and the bee gives suck to the book : Ave Incunabulum, love’s

first work : Ave,

In Memoriam—

[ J—5/99 ]

-Brian Teare

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The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.

Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.

I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.

-Emily Dickinson

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Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it–it’s the
only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks
your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually
But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be
And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of
a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again,
drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave,
the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything
that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is
singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and
wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be
drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be
continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

-by Charles Baudelaire (translated by Louis Simpson)

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The Kiss

She pressed her lips to mind.
—a typo

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.

-Stephen Dunn

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