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Satan fell behind, it was a taxi’s shadow

where Man put his foot on the sidewalk

 

His mouth covered mine and he was gone

 

Italo once said a kiss on the mouth is the sign of betrayal

and pointed at Judas in the painting

 

(his muscular hand, his brush)

 

There was an ache in the canvas he had speared himself

 

That was the day when rain fell until twelve

outside the studio and twelve months before that shadow

 

 

 

 

Not a rink but ashed-over ice

Rain on a windshield, a green light

 

Apartments made of dirt, neon

hangers outlined in the cleaner’s window

 

I think proximity is the abyss

between God and us because

 

every fabric of my body is trying

to know why saying

 

I love you

in a time of extremity is a necessity

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams before waking are eyes into the future

where there is no Zurich but an alphabet

 

beginning with z

so go away before I ask to know

 

what you mean about wanting to go

 

Terrified of being first?

of being dirt?

 

Of being ambushed or embossed? Personally

I want to batter my way out of this cage of psychology

 

and get to the longing I really know about

 

 

 

 

Morning dusk — his figure furry

 

Threads of gray hair

 

and outside, a world without a leader

Oil and land mines

 

Lonely words scurrying to work

 

If the dark bricks hide criminal life

so does each body

 

dedicated to maintaining power

by suppressing its delights

 

 

 

 

 

Inside this egg the walls are lacquered blue

 

Creamy tones of windowsill

and slat. Dawn from hell on up

 

I hear a rooster deny, deny, deny

or is it Man

 

Lies smell in every detail

as the light increases in this shell

 

Maybe the end of the world happened long ago

A whirl as quick as Judas breaking his neck

and every sound is an echo

 

 

 

 

Poor love in the order of existence

 

subsists on passivity inside this skin

where pain has cut a pattern

 

and a red heart’s a little devil

speared by its own hand

 

and the brain of this stranger —

is it mine or its own — and its skeleton?

 

Can I toss them aside

like an armful of sticks and set out as a feeling

to find Hana and Issa across the night

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness has become unbearable

so don’t stay with me

 

Ilona said this from the hall

 

Doors are here for both ways of walking

 

The split bed and bodies facing

where two unanimities

make a positive zero

 

She was hoping to die into Hans

so I left her house

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I was happy and said to my friend

 

It’s because we are together

 

The blushing hills were rusty

its nerves as icy as his sleeves

 

Doll’s hair, snow like artificial

Elimination of detail, a day to be grateful

 

He had broken parole

 

With speed-thinning strides

a horse passed by without a saddle

 

 

 

 

 

A body never forgets

The lens is turned on its own tremendum

 

Only blocks away — tubes, needles, straps

at the physician’s prison

 

No sign of reflection, just blood and bone

trying to incorporate meds into atoms

 

When the body escapes without identification

this is its identification:

 

Chunks of moonstone smoothing a curb

Honey night snow in the city

 

 

 

 

 

She swept up my hair from the linoleum floor

and shook out the sheet

 

A rouge along the shades and drinks to be drunk

 

In transit, in transit, in stations and camps

 

little white spots wobbled from wall to phone

 

Star-lashes batted

 

— it was truck lights exiting the pike

and other war zones

 

 

 

 

 

Farther wars report on us:

 

an arsenal of artworks and theories

that contribute to the power of the military

 

“Beware of the fruits of your labor!”

 

 

 

 

 

My father was a soldier

who was smaller than my son

 

when he returned as a ghost.

 

I begged him to stay with us

but he said: “Not until you come to life.”

On the Ground

Fanny Howe

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