Saturday, August 12, 2006

today in the land of zion

today in the land of zion
i waltzed in the rain like a mechanical pigeon
today in the land of zion i talk about yesterday
when i told the story
about how england was almost bombed with toothpaste
and thus two liters of rusky standard were confiscated
a man who looked like carl rove
gravely took three bottles of wine from his bag
set them onto a table
piles of deodarant
a row of fine perfume
women licked their lips
some pleaded for mercy
others took pity
bottles were taken from babies
and i with my bottles
trying to explain
that i would not bomb america with rusky standard
or perfume, or deodarant, or milk, etc.

where will it all go
how many more losses will i bear
how many naked bodied will i see
before the final lost
that final cunted hour
or read this poem to myself

I Knew a Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)

-theodore roethke