Saying Goodbye To Carthage
I must go now.
I snip this cord of acetylene,
I mount the horse of sulfur and hydrogen,
dispatch telegrams of frost-crusted roses to the desert,
sink in a goblet of sky, braid
hair of the wind, dabble
with explosives that taste like tamarind
and vomit the elasticity of milk &
pour the blue syrup of siesta.
I will pack my bags and wait at the platform
for the train that roars through the fireplace,
and sleep the long journey to
the attic where
lyres are tuned and all dogs happy.
My skein of blood unravels through another border.
Goodbye to the skins of wine I kissed,
goodbye to the hot grottos adrift in smoke,
goodbye to the women who never wrote me, the stars
that leapt under my skin, the shadows
rustling like silk when each door I opened
revealed breasts and cunt
turned into a pillar of iodine.
Once I felt the moon jump in my veins,
(I wrote a haiku about this but it got lost),
once I saw balloons released in a plaza
braided with the steam of meat and vendors,
once the water pipes clanked in the boarding house
while the city lit fireworks, and adulterers &
young lovers undressed in rooms jagged with crimson light,
(joy can easily fit in a bed with clean sheets).
But goodbye to your green and white taxi cabs,
I must depart.
Goodbye to your markets where trays
of meat stink the canned burn of menstruation, goodbye
to your produce of severed love, your beauty
like slit foreskins on a pushcart at noon, wasps churring,
goodbye to your recesses of marble & gold faucet bathrooms.
The desert gains another inch,
and there is no hay to harvest. Hard skies portend
blue edge of nightmare will cut your dreams,
botch your autopsies,
and toss an appendix in the almoner’s cup.
Because I deny your watermelons and dust,
(I couldn’t care less),
I cut all strings never attached, and say
goodbye to your gymnasiums and diner,
I foreclose this scrap of light,
crumble your cathedral with a pinch of salt.
Not a peso will be
sweat on interest accrued.
(I must leave now).
The assassin is hungry.
On De Kooning’s Woman I
Woman smeared in grease, brush-strokes of red,
Blue of uncooked meat, saffron, the black
of fingernails after an afternoon of changing car oil,
all scooped out and scribbled on canvas
edges. He painted your skin all the luster
of lard, spat rouge only on your nose,
no nipples on your breasts, plastic bags
once filled with soda water now sucked dry.
But through that mess you smile—
five fangs chiseled dull as horse teeth—
you flaunt your overbite, saying:
what if you stick your tongue at me,
I’ll bite! And your eyes, the mud basins
of the Mississippi, yet wide open, glaring
at the one who had the nerve to paint you.
Leather shining on a General’s
boots would not make you blink.
With a shopping bag in your right hand,
clothes iron in the sinister, you’re armed lethal,
ready to wrestle all of Manhattan’s taxis. Fueled
with combustive mezcal, you look me
in the eye the instant before you open
the crystal door to Saks Fifth Avenue.
And you’re ready for a bargain, you’re thrilled
to live on credit. Your feet, goat-hooves,
click in midair.