Saturday, February 18, 2006



This is about failure but let’s pretend

it’s the rain that fixes us here

stamping our feet in this gulag

of a month. Let’s pretend the moon

isn’t the sky’s scar tissue.

Let’s pretend the artifact

of our breath will remain

obedient, not like a good dog

licking the deep salt

from your hands, but like

a robot or a butler,

or in a better world than this one,

a robot butler. Let’s say

it was summer

and the world

became a lurid green

and all we could

do to survive was darn the socks of tyrants

in a cave beside

the green murmur of the sea.

What would it mean

turning to you

in the night

disguised in the milk light of the moon?

To your throat

I would press

my lips like a voided stamp.

You could never return me.

If this life is

the only one,

it will not be so hard to love ashes before salt.

To always ache.


Sisyphus Walking said...

I'm sorry to hear about the book complications. I can't imagine the frustration.

But, on a lighter note, this is a super poem.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

I stumbled on your site and must tell you I am very much enjoying your work. Do you like Davis McCombs? Something about your work makes me think of him. I heard him read last year at a UK Symposium. Wendell Berry and Barbara Kingsolver also read. It was quite an enjoyable evening. Here's a McCombs piece for you from his book Ultima Thule:

Star Chamber

Once, the Doctor spoke to me at length
of stars and prognostications, how,
when we observe the waxing of the Moon,
everything cognate to her nature-marrow
in bones and in trees, flesh of the river
mussel-increases also. He told of tides
and how the ocean is affixed as with a chain
to moonlight. I think it must be different
in the Cave, where no light penetrates.
There, I have lost hours, whole cycles of the Sun.
At Star Chamber, I control the spheres-
a lantern hung just-so will produce the night sky
as if seen from a gorge; wobble it, and a comet,
smoky, pestilent, streaks across the Ether.

It didn't format correctly, but you can look him up if you like him and read it in the correct format.

Again, I really enjoy your work!

Annie in cloudy KY

Paul said...

Hi Annie. Glad you enjoy my work. I do like Davis McCombs a lot.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

It actually did format correctly. Yipee!