Ghazal to Disquietude


I can almost hear as the waves sweep-in, a mermaid’s susurrations
breaking her cold lips on the tips of my sand-curled toes.

Noise is now everywhere I want to be
without it. Cars swoosh past Galveston beach roaring their inept monstrous lungs. I can barely

breathe. Or think. Why do trees and blades of every green thing shudder?
Because we are a hyper-intelligent insidious poison? Cats and dogs nail-grip us with insufficient fear.

Ninety-five percent of a car’s energy goes towards moving simply itself not the passengers.
Or rather that’s 2,500 pounds of wastefulness before the crux of tissue steering the steel.

In Hermann Memorial Park a yellow-blue finch tries to sing and fails
in the roar cars shed in their wake on the I-10 adjoining the beige greenery.

I nod off under a canker tree. A whale whistles out of its water-spout, breathing. I roll under
such plushness, floating with barnacles and sticky ambergris. So glued are our dream’s illogic logic.

I am a sticky carbuncle tearing through the earth’s thin breathability. It’s afternoon in Houston.
I shower again. I scrunch into a starched shirt. I rope my throat with a dead worm’s shiny excrement.


My right ear is dead. When I was three
German measles like dappled freckles

grew in me, killing the nerve. My left ear
still good at thirteen, I hear pretty well

the unprettiness in my parent’s voices as they divorce
and I listen in, in the mosquito bitten dark

roof above the living room window, then roll
on my back, where I swallow insignificance

in the drifting milky way above. Now
the frogs have started up. A few ducks quack. A splash

might be catfish come to nibble on the stars
tangled in a cheap tabloid, suspended on the pond’s scum. My chest

makes a soft squelching sound like tossed granite gravel
plopping into the ponds pitch black bottom.


Some sounds have no feet, like running in a dream
with something chasing behind. Once, as a boy

in the Bahamas, in Freeport, in a wooded area
two older boys forced me to be

naked, and dance for them, my penis
slapping around like a snake in the beak

or eye of some predatory bird, I forget
which one it was that kept me, held

squirming, until I ran screaming, pounding
my way past the low palm trees. Power

is holding the thing that does not want you
to rape you into a display for it

to play with, you’d think. If you could think.
Those are pearls that were his eyes,

nothing of him that doth fade,
but suffers.


If only our own desires would stop helping
the scrunched imp of all our days rolled-up

into aphasias of dreaming that stream down
like drops of sunlight through the wet branches

of Spring, it might be enough. Perhaps
I’ll ask you about it, someday, and you’ll tell me

everything I’ve every wanted was within reach
if only I had put out my hands, wide palms like bells ringing

that clap shut at a wedding, a wake or just
praise at the hours and minutes granted us. I say

put your fears in a little box, and smoke it
along with this warm interrogatory weather we’ve been having, that peels

shirts from bodies with an utter unconcern that is neither
here nor there.


Tuesday was wet. “Should we have bothered to vote?,”
I heard. Politics used to be what happened on CNN

in some distant country. In America,
the wages of sin at the top are paying

enormous dividends in the geosadistical landscape
of global reployment at lower wages. Yet

we live in the lickspittle of so many lives
witnessed, answered, served, texting: we wait

tethered in line for hot lattes to adorn our hands
at Starbucks, muttering as we pay for our pick-ups

before we pick-up our cradled handsets, at our second jobs
assembling complaints of failures on a phone line.

We know what we are, whose we are, what we have become.
I go outside, I efface my face in the rain knowing

our whole economy is braided to an abortion
like a Republican handshake before church.


Desires as round as peaches still bloom in me,
in dreams, yet I no longer ache for what any he

lets fatten. I whisk myself away, to ponder in cities like Paris, 57
wrap my legs around their hardness, and, sticky with love,

stagger there, a drunk sailor French-kissing in bright-calm
boulevards of light. Keat’s beauty makes me hapless, no helpless,

with its singular truth. Oh I still wonder or wander, as I arise
mornings laden with doubt about how I should begin

again, the approach to where there’s nothing. Yet I see
I’m writing this to be as wrong as possible

about every unfucking imaginable thing,
how human touch stains the garden’s white gardenias

deftely passing from bruised to black, we too
wrinkle and slide into that same long dark.


I started out believing
in everything,

the open field, plow
in hand,

waiting to be worked,

hedged in the furrow,

open to the moment

of opening, as if
posturing a proof

were proof enough
but without

the heavy lifting
of burdens,

the concrete
blunders one must make

clearing the way
to ubiquitous insight,

so I, who’ve failed at almost everything
hard-fought, rip fresh words from dream’s sticking fabrics.

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