Les Fleurs du innocence

Dedicated to Baudelaire

Flowers of innocence rising the day they were asked by winds to start singing of tears and mud – mud streaking their cheeks, for every inarticulate ruin has its own reedy voice that catches throats by its sadness, like water like loneliness,

sadness like star-filament suspended from skies, shedding tears that we drink, bees drink, make beauty make food, & we stand in this world beauty all around us and even so

our hearts seek water, seek a moistening that will travel from earth to our atoms, to filament glinting in our very flames.

In that song we are profoundly lost and meanings lie scattered in winds like a call that parts the skies with its ache, with its fist of hurt. Fistful of sky falls into my eyes as I look up, tracking sun-moon-stars and hard glint of planets. Planets grow in my belly like grass and drum a beat until I believe concatenation mine.

Time’s stopped its devilry. We look at each other across the halt, measuring what must be slain. Sacrifice raises its tender gaze to the two of us, licks our eyes.

So, where will we begin today?

The window, barely cracked open to let in the light of sun.

I had barely begun to celebrate us.

I had barely begun to feel the pain of not being able to celebrate us.

Pin that held us together dropped,
and for weeks we continued to fall
together. Apart.

I raise my head above the swamp we made
together, apart.

Mud’s role is to clear the skin, make us beautiful.

The draft of Yemaya’s poem I wrote for you
is still propped against the wall by my bed,

Yet my mudcaked head rises above the swamp,
and I see the new world through red eyes.


Frightened deer
in my heart
are all grazing

edges of forest
and I want to draw
them to cool
dark clear pool

where my tears
mingle with mother’s

peace drifts
we wade

knee deep to essence
that brings us to living
waters every day

dip and drink

Myth of Wound

“I am doldrums drumming with an incarnate,”

darkness hums in a seedy voice. There, everything has gone to seed, will never grow. Metaphors are tired & doled with shame.

Livid person, whose side do you take?

You try to blow a comical into a comic picture, but the elephant parts that zigzag their way into your memoirs crush every hope, every luminosity. You are living under a boulder. Landscape changes every instant and is charged with a banshee’s scream. Pain that lives in your gullet is booming and your head is a black minotaur of pain.

Archaic monoliths of pain hulking around the interior. Its wall is thin as slippery sheet of ice, cracking. Its shards are cutting into your eyes.

And sometimes –

when you begin to write, thought is merely redness on horizon that insinuates

itself into your body like a dancing bear, its teeth clattering with sounds of the dead

that trickle into your belly and laugh their secret laugh, for it is wise to want to be born

out of ferocity of need, out of skeleton bones and shark teeth, out of impelling

driving like electricity intention into turbulence.

So unscrew the mind and set it on the table, and find a feast: other heads

lolling, images blinking their eyes at you, and space to meander

in should you choose. Unspoken butts its head against yours.

Excerpted with permission from Bright Parallel, Monica Mody, Copper Coin.