Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ekphrasis on Bruce Herman's QU4RTETS

A turned back
invites the viewer in.
into skin
and suit us to yourself,
caked and cobbled as we
are, kicking,
flecked with blood and peeled
wet as color. Pellucid,
wiped clean and yet
not sanitized. Juice pressed
beneath our kindled gaze.

We walk behind you dripping
and you will not look.


It is in fires and floods
most things are lost. What
is underneath? We cannot see,
we did not seal or copy
and it wrinkled, flaked,
God forbid
we forget
this lost effort of a life
of costly things. Royal,
bright as pain, striated
vinegar down a pole.

Bathe up to the knuckles,
preserved in layered earth.


I would not be young.
I would like to know,
sap cloying to my clothes.
Creak and sway in wind,
groan under breath. Over
my head, eight umber
tablets,    angels,    angels’ tablets.
I carved into the smooth side.
I hope you know his name as well
as mine. Benighted, discreet.
It is sometimes the same.

You said to meet you here,
to bare my feet.


He has come into himself more beautifully
than bent head under wing.
Illumined, half erased, past
the bleached bones already.
We wrap you in transparent paper,
ashes. The smoke of something holy lingers.
Composed, rescinded, stroke
the loose skin on your wrist.
“the body dies, the body’s beauty lives.”

He sighs out like a match.

(Quote: Wallace Stevens)

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