After Life

Legends of hell are typically
tragic: the child of the harvests
was abducted from Sicily,
from her mother’s own loam,
ate four seeds and was damned.
As for the underworld, one might
call it Hel, Hades, Mag Mell,
Abbadon, or Annwn: hell is hell.
Persephone, Queen of the Dead,
lies by Virgo; banished from dirt,
she has learned that damnation
is nameless, and discovers it
in the yawning of creation,
the expansive, tragic nature of stars.
Her serfs exist in the space between
the sun and its corona. The vacuum
collects souls and greets them
with the emptiness of sunbeams
and the heat of solar flares. The dead
and the gods breathe in the
plasmatic atmosphere of stars.


Horst P. Horst

Long thin neck of vase,
ten fingers on hands,
countless white petals
from dark stamen.
Liquid dark like blood
sits heavy in the wide
bulb of the vessel;
dark nails, slim wrists
continue to an elbow;
grasp with the left,
graze with the right.
Light shines through
glass between arms,
over flowers arranged
to shroud the shoulders.
Woman--Lisa Fonssagrieves--
ducks down, reaches up;
series of prepositions,
trying to get the angle
just right. Put
the light here. Place
the flower there. Cage
your arms around it
like this. Hide your face.
What I want in this shot
is your hands. Good, Lisa.


water/the ship/the pearl revisited

Water is made of light;
the atmosphere spoils and congeals,
and drags sunbeams down
as it falls to the ocean.

Ships and their victories stay above the water, while if all goes well the pearl stays below. If the pearl and the ship ever meet, it is a victory for the ship and a travesty for the pearl.

The ocean is the heart of the earth.
Full of waste with blood like water,
it pumps life to its limbs.
Watersheds rise and hurricanes come,
but still the sea moves.

Three lines written near a tidepool:
Movement, bodies crash
The ocean, the salt, the sand
Clarity, cut, light

An old folktale:
two lovers, a flood
between stars.
The cowherd prays.
The princess weaves.
The magpies bring
a bridge; “we
can give you
just one night.”

The ship tears the pearl from its home. Ships are to the moon as pearls are to the ocean; ships gather pearls, and upon the whim of the moon, the water moves.

If I am the ocean then
you are the moon and
I’m constantly moved by
the phases of you.

the wave
does not break
‘til it cannot move.

You were furious,
you were boiling;
you left me
with naught but salt.

the moon gathers the tide and, upon the whim of the ship, the pearl moves.