ACROSS THE BLUE SKY
Pride, with its upward arc, reminds us of airplanes
and the war again. Taking off was better than coming
down for some,
who saw the sea to conquer. Meanwhile, the dogs were
speaking from their far-off field towns, like stars
eager to go out.
Our motto writes itself across the sky in white.
Coming down far apart, our parachutes are gentle with
us. The sky moves,
listening to a song we never played.
THREE ECSTACIES, FOUR DREAMS
As quietly as anything I have ever seen,
my neighbor appears at her kitchen window,
meditative, working the suds gently
gazing mildly into the steamy water
as if in a dream.
I stand entranced
by a beauty that hurts.
Not just that he was better than me--
assistant concertmaster, tall, thin, young
and exotic. But that he could sit with her
in public like that, relaxing with the other
talented friends, stroking up and down
her long thin legs beneath her summer dress,
his hands slow virtuousos over the
only instrument that mattered;
She beamed luxuriant
fleshmusic: his rapture, hers....
His virtuouso hand
like a bow, even at such a distance
that I remained unnoticed,
cut a scar across my heart.
We have not been getting along.
There is no end to the exhaustion.
When you wake me
slipping into bed
there is no end
to my longing.
There's so much
I want to play.
I see a violinist
scratching into rough hewn wood,
as room to room
belt out their wild
accompaniments, a house full
music passionately sounding
as if the house were all
I circle the powerful stallion
who rears and speaks
mostly on his back two legs
he lifts and talks out with a human voice.
I circle him with fear;
a God I have come across
who is so sure of himself, so knowing,
and though I am him,
I avoid him.
Though he is my voice,
I circle him
and scramble away.
The Eiffel Tower we built,
cracked and tumbled where wood met metal
in the pasture where we first truly saw stars,
dawn, sea fog receding, great oaks: this pasture
where dogs howled at the moon or anything else,
and I sat and first felt dizzy from a kiss.
This place I burrowed to--
my best friend of those years
runs to it on the ground and I and others
on their way up the pasture:
can we reignite the dream?
A huge book of women's writing on her knees,
a book I've assigned but barely read any of it.
I've marked it optional.
Look, she says: someone has written on paper
pressed against this text,
you can see the script impression
on the coverleaf...
I kiss her, her delicate spun brown hair
The woman refuses to stop licking her bowl.
The woman knows everything about it. She knows he is
"You never lick me like that," the woman's husband
moans, covering his eyes with the newspaper.
"In fact, you only touch the pillow with your whole
mouth and lips. You press many pillows against you
and go to sleep
Little smacking and sniffling sounds go on and on
from the dining table. When they stop, the man lowers
The woman's tongue is poised against the dish. She
pretends to be distracted by something she is
THE SACRED GEOMETRY OF PEDESTRIANS
for Mario Muller
is that you, Galileo, Galileo Galilei
One day all the George Segal
rose from their subway cars and bus benches
their ironing boards and prison cells
and walked again
Like the cast
of Francois Truffaut's new zombie flick "Refugees
of Heaven," their pockets
warm, their clothes a delight,
their heals stylish...
In this work our backgrounds--
our settings and our shadows--
are part of the same
as our bodies... (the same form).
The reason I imagine
Galileo in the crowd has to do
with the sweet trajectory
of chaos. Or is it chance?
In these paintings, joined
with the world, he is no longer
Or my Aunt Eva from Hayward,
the weekend golfer whose second marriage
to Vic, who works at Fotomat,
has been such a fabulous success! Or is that
my grandmother? Every halo
of hair, every newspaper, so
familiar in its snap of time.
Schatten odor farben,
farben odor nicht--
es gibt hier etwas klar
und voll von leben,
und die Gelben sind
die Sonnenstrahlen in uns--in uns alle
die in mischung sprechen
auch ihre volksgefuhl hat
wie eine familie--
eine Strasse, ein wunderliches tag.
One day, all the Segal sculptures
rose from their overcoats and bus benches
their kitchen stools and ironing boards
and walked again...
Is that you, Eva?
Is that you, mother, Mario, Francois?
Is that you, Ken
in the snapshot, pausing
at the light, leaning
just a little.
Is that you, George Segal?
Is that you, Mario Muller?
Is that you, Galileo, Galileo Galilei?
Villa Montalvo, 11/16/94
with love from Ken
I have always asked for this.
Being within the body,
of an old man,
slightly thick in the middle,
chewing a little the
underlip of his gum,
held together by inner-glue
against the tongue;
he feels alone,
squinting out at a world
of well meant confessions
while somewhere in his theater
of memory distant episodes
flicker, dimly lit:
good fathers, good sons.
Ken Weisner teaches at the University of California,
Santa Cruz, and is the editor of Quarry West.
to Home | Back