Monday, September 29, 2014

Eileen Tabios

I Forgot How Beauty Dislocates

I forgot you dreaming I saw myself seeing myself. Objectively, I saw the flowers 
of my forgotten birthland: damas de noche, named after a long-haired woman 
afflicted into paleness by the verb of feel-ing.

I forgot you falling asleep in my skin to dream.

I forgot a 12th century Loire Valley chateau containing a mirror that had been left 
outdoors one winter to weather into “an appropriate cloudiness.” 

I forgot tea with a sculptor absentmindedly rearranging objects on a table to alter 
their relationships in and with space.

I forgot how Beauty dislocates.

I forgot the German landscape of Vilseck. I forgot the open tent with its huge 
farmers in huge overalls with huge accents, huge bellies, huge biceps and huge 
red cheeks. I forgot attempting but failing to finish one stein of beer (it was 
huge!). I forgot the entirety of that wet afternoon when I was assaulted by huge 
platters gleaming with huge, overstuffed sausages. For an entire afternoon, my 
eyes sought consolation in the orange-gold, foam-topped liquid in my glass, the 
same radioactive shade of lightning bolts I have forgotten witnessing over Kauai.

I forgot suckling wine from your lips, then biting, then swallowing earth, leather, 
currants, gravel, tobacco, oak and plums to release the same voluptuous tears 
familiar to Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning who loved through 573 letters 
before bearing a son they nicknamed with much affection, “Pen.”

I forgot the rest of Greece, its national heat waiting...

I forgot waking from a dream of white heat to see sun-washed walls forming a 
room where silk and lace sculpted a milk puddle on terra cotta floors. 

I forgot the definition of optimism: “when sky turns blue, it becomes as physical 
as an organ.”

I forgot a gilded door on Park Avenue you opened to a silver organza bag. 
Nestled in tulle netting were Lindor truffles in “all available flavors: milk, dark, 
white, amaretto, hazelnut, peanut butter and mint.”

I forgot a tapestry fabric called Marley from whose complex greenery small red 
blooms occasionally and always tastefully burst.

I forgot linens called Lamorna or Serge Antique that offered themselves not as 
black or white but as toast and oyster. 

I forgot England with its glazed chintzes bearing sprays of rose, peony, 
hydrangea and gladiola—names evoking country houses: Bowood, Amberley, 
Sissinghurst, Sutherland

I forgot the signs surrounding the man with curdling milk in his eyes—signs 
signifying nothing relevant to an embattled world or self: Macamundo, Push, 
Hoyo de Monterrey, Cohiba, Partagas, Excalibur, Davidoff, Zino.

I forgot an old man on the other side of glass rolling brown cigars on a wooden 
table. His eyes sunk from the same element that thinned his lips: a wish for more 

I forgot a fabric named Solace and its availability in celery, parchment, black 
pearl, crème brulee, persimmon and sage.

I forgot you startled the girl whose poetry elicits dragon scales from empathetic 

He was seated in a café, his table next to a haggard poet whose long-emptied 
cup refused succor as she kept writing a poem, writing a poem, writing a poem...

I forgot a man revealing a pristine white cuff as he raised his wrist to check a 
steel Movado watch.

I forgot you tasted her in every wine that dripped down your throat. I forgot Dr. 
Loosen ’99 Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling Beerenauslese: “a bouquet of slate 
and roses, a molten flavor of starfruit, honey and pineapples.”

I forgot how pronouns confused me. I forgot the “She” evolving into an “I” then 
back again, flustered before your gaze.

I forgot the empty chair that awaited us, its expanse the totality of a planet still 

I forgot you saw each virgin moon as a ruby you wanted for adorning my body.

I forgot you also loved New York City for hosting those whose hair whitened 
prematurely in order to write books with titles encompassing Purity, Smoke, 
Thrall, Shield, Brush, Mote, Sheen—which is to say, The Encyclopedia of the 

I forgot you saw a bottle of Apollonio Riserva 1997, and recalled how the wine’s 
jammy presence puckered my lips to your huge but hidden delight. I floated in 
your orbit then, though I looked elsewhere, ignorant of gravity’s logic.

I forgot that when you turned a corner and felt the joy of Baudelaire’s “infinite 
expanse” at the sight of sky thinned by two parallel skyscrapers, you thought of 
me latching a star on a gold chain so that its shimmer would lower your gaze
towards my breasts.

I forgot we once stood unknowingly in the same room of this city of numerous 
rooms—did you frequent its space without knowing until now why you always 
looked intently at each face?

I forgot my own scent had threaded itself through the strands of your hair...

I forgot I lit alleys by leaving scarlet roses whose perfume, I hoped, you would 

Surely you walked through the spaces I hollowed from air and left behind in 
anticipation of you. 

I forgot you thought of me as you paced the streets of a city whose sidewalks 
memorized the music of my footsteps dancing away from youth into courage.

I forgot you wanted to see her seeing herself...


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bob BrueckL

Backlit Veils of Odious Vermin

                              Alleviating the opacity of transparent spatiality
                              overlapping the radiant veils of vermin on the 
                              periphery of cheap junk oscillating around the
                              stratified scaffolding of upside down tectonics
                              avidly stultifying the rectiline-rousing alkalinity
                              of osseous mudflats dismantling the backdrop of 
                              jaw-dropping muscleheads stuck with tuning forks . . . 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Nicasio Scrub Jays

The air is a child so we shove her on the bus to kindergarten

but none of the teachers can see her so she gets marked absent.

We get a call, we always get these calls, your kid’s stuck in a tree look at
those branches waving and waving; we think the jays don’t know what to do.

So we homeschool the air, we talk in a more systematic way, we point and explain
and when we don’t know we say we don’t know and ask your sister and she laughs.

Because scrub jays are often mistaken for blue jays, because we aren’t sure if they’re one
species or three. Standing on the back of a mule deer. They’re picking off and eating ticks.

The deer seem to appreciate the help, often standing still and holding up their ears to give
the jays access. They will even eat peanuts out of our daughters’ hands.

Because the air’s always climbing out a window to play in the garden the milkweed
bends down and the monarchs swirl around her we have no idea how much

our daughters listen to us, the air and her older sister, so we run out of words
and when we have no words left the wind begins to blow. Look up the answers

in the Encyclopedia Britannica he says. Each afternoon brightens. The wind
is plain and soft spoken but our daughter loves him he’s her first crush.

The wind has such sexy hair our daughter the air says matter of factly testing our boundaries.
It’ll happen no matter how hard we try to stop it, just as scrub jays wake us in the morning with their shouting.


Elegant Trogons

Resisting vanity, they are occasionally found as vagrants in southeasternmost and western Texas.
Likewise don’t live so long or prepare your spells. I asked Mary if she could choose between

a short healthy life or a long one where your body fucks you up, she said I would choose this
body because as long as I’m in it I get to be with you. I’m not scared of living or dying.

Birds flutter in my arms and my arms flutter as I flap the birds out of them. Although their flight
is fast, they are reluctant to fly any distance. They perch upright and motionless.

Related to mousebirds and owls, with soft feathers, known for taking small bites out of trees
but preferring to nest in abandoned woodpecker holes. Each leaf is hissing

good years, sad and good years, good and happy years, years and years spent in everspending
bodies, as parts of trees they know what they’re talking about but to have a metallic green head!

To have a black face and throat, a red-orange lower breast and belly. Grey upperwing coverts.
So I just have to show up and I’ll do just fine. Mary pokes me, you still have to work it babe.

But my toes are unique you get dizzy just thinking how they got so backwards. I put words
in the elegant trogon’s mouth and he goes co-ah, co-ah, co-ah I’m between bodies co-ah

Acknowledgment is sexy the musicians tell one another, the birds say it’s call and response.
You’re working in the yard and you think how cool it would be to see a quetzal this far north.

I’m eating small insects and fruit; I laugh for years and years, I’m of least concern,
I’m an adult now, I don’t eroticize our suffering.



are extinct. to sing short lines we don’t know what they sang they’re extinct.
to be less sure or be brighter and beloved by others we don’t know they’re extinct.

they were red birds that preferred to eat unripe fruit but they’re extinct.
they lived around and fed upon the seeds and flowers of the loʻulu palms, which are endangered so they’re extinct.

its niche has been filled by lavender waxbills, scraped layers of againness, they’re extinct.
the fossil record, its neverness, they don’t fly away they’re extinct.

adults were patterned red overall, their heads, throats, upper backs were silvery gray one was seen in 1937 but they’re extinct.
the crowns, wings, breasts, shoulders, tails were black, and the tertials white they’re extinct.

only known from five specimens, at Harvard, Honolulu, New York and Tring, a possible sight record tell me I’m forgiveable they’re extinct.
we don’t know their songs they vanished before we had the tools to record them they’re extinct.

to remain is deplorable. to remain is to be dispossessed. to be absent is an abstraction but they’re extinct.
their not songs, their no longers, the way you skim over the repetitions you’re so forgiveable and they’re extinct.


Zone-tailed Hawks

I’m not the end of things, but I live with vultures. Maybe I will want nothing when nothing’s left.
Wings point slightly upward, calmly, I mean isn’t it boring to keep weeping, and you always say no

not when you’re in it, not when it’s fair. No tears, the steep cliff. I’d like to consume less and
be swallowed more. All the smallnesses know they’re safe while I’m circling because a successful beauty is communal

And I am an awesomeness I strike death I tear nestlings and fledgings I devour the pieces I predate time itself.
I’m the start of all cycles I take my time in the sky and the sky lifts me casually I am its wristwatch.

The most beautiful dry earth, the least upon this earth.
No one knows how long we live. To be a radical practice.