Saturday, July 15, 2006



If alchemists ever surrendered to common sense,

I’m not sure my mailbox noticed,

everyday coughing up a wealth

of free credit, a siren’s song of silk

in the free bras promised me

(or current resident) by each coupon

in touching good faith. The infinite

has never to me beckoned

so well I want to follow

after it into further confusion. If by that

confession I’m coined a curmudgeon,

what can I do? The Chinese

in searching for life

eternal found instead galvanic blackpowder.

For whole years potions

were heated over low fires

set in clay earth, tended to

at the cost of their lives. Sent to the green

eastern seas with five hundred

boys and five hundred girls,

Xu Fu never returned. Who can blame him?

This was never my dream,

to live beyond the code

coiled in my cells,

to live longer than the mountain

above me or the river

at my side like a woman, like you in moon-

light. Except we never

sleep with windows up

or the shades drawn

so it’s a lie to say I’ve seen you glowing

like the harmless half-life

of the clockface

counting out the measure of irradiated time.

Better to say I’ve seen you

barely at all. Better to say

the lost moon will never

guide us. Better to cover you

beside the eastern sea

in lapidary jade

fat emperors ate hoping not to die.

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