Selections from, Lamp Poems
when the first woman held a word
so long in her mouth,
it was subsumed into her gums.
the first cosmetic. Also,
adept at falling onto anyone’s collar, all hair stolen sideways into the mouth during sleep
(like a ribbon one may pull to prompt the tongue) was shorn and plaited into individual
plaits.¹ The hair was laid into a decorative box made of resinous wood, or struck with
replace the cotton wick of his plain bedside lamp. A boiling smell (superb!) ensued as
the lamp was lit. All at once, our groom noticed the stone-like braid on his ottoman, the
blunt, cut hair of his velvet rug– he experienced what can be only described as an
extreme startlement of hair within every item long succumbed to his purchase. When
the plait-wick finally did burn out, it was always with a piercing snap, like the click of a
tongue, or a lid blown shut.²
¹ How did these brides, living years beneath such broad bowers of hair, appear in the scalp at the lectures,dances and operas which were their prime enjoyments? Much like the toes of far-eastern women, the hairof these brides was likewise muted– and the brides likewise revered.
² The bride’s scalp was wrapped in a pale scarf to be unwound by her husband, who would revel in the sight of each patchy, inarticulance of new growth.
Is All Delicacy Reserved for Exotic Pets?
Each would catch the thing on their knee,
and with a weak hand massage a balm
of some limpid jelly sharp with pepper,
into their pet’s lean plates. Though I find beekeepers,
framed always in a purr of bees
more gentle still. One thin-lipped man
kept dragonflies. We frequented still waters,
railed passionately near buckets of effluvia.
He had a light way of turning up
the underside of a leaf, for the flickering
cordials of eggs, that made me feel haughty,
like a witness to some important sympathy,
some male nervousness for life.