Wednesday, June 25, 2008


--Bhanu Kapil

"And there was a booming above you
That night, black airplanes flew over the sea
And they were lowing and shifting like
Beached whales
Shelled snails
As you strained and you squinted to see
The retreat of their hairless and blind cavalry

You froze in your sand shoal
Prayed for your poor soul
Sky was a bread roll, soaking in a milk-bowl
And when the bread broke, fell in bricks of wet smoke
My sleeping heart woke, and my waking heart spoke

Then there was a silence you took to mean something:
Mean, run, sing
For alive you will evermore be
And the plague of the greasy black engines a-skulkin'
Has gone east
While you're left to explain them to me
Released from their hairless and blind cavalry

With your hands in your pockets, stubbily running
To where I'm unfresh, undressed and yawning
Well, what is this craziness? This crazy talking?
You caught some small death when you were sleepwalking

It was a dark dream, darlin', it's over
The firebreather is beneath the clover
Beneath his breathing there is cold clay, forever
A toothless hound-dog choking on a feather

But I took my fishingpole (fearing your fever)
Down to the swimminghole, where there grows bitter herb
That blooms but one day a year by the riverside - I'd bring it here:
Apply it gently
To the love you've lent me

While the river was twisting and braiding, the bait bobbed
And the string sobbed, as it cut through the hustling breeze
And I watched how the water was kneading so neatly
Gone treacly
Nearly slowed to a stop in this heat
- frenzy coiling flush along the muscles beneath

Press on me: we are restless things
Webs of seaweed are swaddling
You call upon the dusk
Of the musk of a squid
Shot full of ink, until you sink into your crib

Rowing along, among the reeds, among the rushes
I heard your song, before my heart had time to hush it!

Smell of a stone fruit being cut and being opened
Smell of a low and of a lazy cinder smoking

And when the fire moves away
Fire moves away, son
Why would you say
I was the last one?

Scrape your knee; it is only skin
Makes the sound of violins
When you cut my hair, and leave the birds the trimmings
I am the happiest woman among all women"

--Joanna Newsom, "Only Skin"

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