Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.
Nor the woman in the ambulance
Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly-
A gift, a love gift
Utterly unasked for
By a sky
Palely and flamily
Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes
Dulled to a half under bowlers.
O my God, what am I
That these late mouths should cry open
In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers!
A squeal of brakes.
Or is it a birth cry?
And here we are, hung out over the dead drop
Uncle, pants factory Fatso, millionaire.
And you out cold beside me in your chair.
The wheels, two rubber grubs, bite their sweet tails.
Is that Spain down there?
Red and yellow, two passionate hot metals
Writhing and sighing, what sort of scenery is it?
It isn’t England, it isn’t France, it isn’t Ireland.
It’s violent. We’re here on a visit,
With a goddam baby screaming off somewhere/
There’s always a bloody baby in the air.
I’d call it a sunset, but
Whoever heard a sunset yowl like that?
You are sunk in your seven chins, still as a ham.
Who do you think I am,
Sad Hamlet, with a knife?
Where do you stash your life?
Is it a penny, a pearl-
Your soul, your soul?
I’ll carry it off like a rich pretty girl,
Simply open the door and step out of the car
And live in Gibraltar on air, on air.
You come in late, wiping your lips.
What did I leave untouched on the doorstep-
Streaming between my walls?
Smilingly, blue lightning
Assumes, like a meatbook, the burden of his parts.
The police love you, you confess everything.
Bright hair, shoe-black, old plastic,
Is my life so intriguing?
Is it for this you widen your eye-rings?
Is it for this the air motes depart?
They are not air motes, they are corpuscles.
Open your handbag. What is that bad smell?
It is your knitting, busily
Hooking itself to itself,
It is your sticky candies.
I have your head on my wall.
Navel cords, blue-red and lucent,
Shriek from my belly like arrows, and these I ride.
O moon-glow, o sick one,
The stolen horses, the fornications
Circle a womb of marble.
Where are you going
That you suck breath like mileage?
Sulfurous adulteries grieve in a dream.
Cold glass, how you insert yourself
Between myself and myself.
I scratch like a cat.
The blood that runs is dark fruit-
An effect, a cosmetic.
No, it is not fatal.
Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.
It is all Hollywood, windowless,
The fluorescent light wincing on and off like a terrible migraine,
Coy paper strips for doors-
Stage curtains, a widow’s frizz.
And I, love, am a pathological liar,
And my child-look at her, face down on the floor,
Little unstrung puppet, kicking to disappear-
Why she is a schizophrenic,
Her face red and white, a panic.
You have her stuck her kittens outside your window
In a sort of cement well
Where they crap and puke and cry and she can’t hear.
You say you can’t stand her,
The bastard’s a girl.
You who have blown your tubes like a bad radio
Clear of voices and history, the staticky
Noise of the new.
You say I should drown the kittens. Their smell!
You say I should drown my girl.
She’ll cut her throat at ten if she’s mad at two.
The baby smiles, fat snail,
From the polished lozenges of orange linoleum.
You could eat him. He’s a boy.
You say your husband is just no good to you,
His Jew-mama guards his sweet sex like a pearl.
You have one baby, I have two.
I should sit on a rock off Cornwall and comb my hair.
I should wear tiger pants, I should have an affair.
We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,
Me and you.
Meanwhile there’s a stink of fat and baby crap.
I’m doped and thick from my last sleeping pill.
The smog of cooking, the smog of hell
Floats our heads, two venomous opposites,
Our bones, our hair.
I call you Orphan, orphan. You are ill.
The sun gives you ulcers, the wind gives you t.b.
Once you were beautiful.
In New York, Hollywood, the men said: ‘Through?
Gee baby, you are rare.’
You acted, acted, acted for the thrill.
The impotent husband slumps out for a coffee.
I try to keep him in,
An old pole for the lightning,
The acid baths, the skyfuls off of you.
He lumps it down the plastic cobbled hill,
Flogged trolley. The sparks are blue.
The blue sparks spill,
Splitting like quartz into a million bits.
O jewel. O valuable.
That night the moon
Dragged its blood bag, sick
Up over the harbor lights,
And then grew normal,
Hard and apart and white.
The scale-sheen on the sand scared me to death.
We kept picking up handfuls, loving it,
Working it like dough, a mulatto body,
The silk grits.
A dog picked up your doggy husband. They went on.
Now I am silent, hate
Up to my neck,
I do not speak.
I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes,
I am packing the babies,
I am packing the sick cats.
O vase of acid,
It is love you are full of. You know who you hate.
He is hugging his ball and chain down by the gate
That opens to the sea
Where it drives in, white and black,
Then spews it back.
Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher.
You are so exhausted.
Your voice my ear-ring,
Flapping and sucking, blood-loving bat.
That is that. That is that.
You peer from the door,
Sad hag. ‘Every woman’s a whore.
I can’t communicate.’
I see your cute decor
Close on you like the fist of a baby
Or an anemone, that sea
Sweetheart, that kleptomaniac.
I am still raw.
I say I may be back.
You know what lies are for.
Even in your Zen heaven we shan’t meet."
The abstracts hover like dull angels:
Nothing so vulgar as a nose or an eye
Bossing the ethereal blanks of their face-ovals.
Their whiteness bears no relation to laundry,
Snow, chalk or suchlike. They’re
The real thing, all right: the Good, the True-
Salutary and pure as boiled water,
Loveless as the multiplication table.
While the child smiles into thin air.
Six months in the world, and she is able
To rock on all fours like a padded hammock.
For her, the heavy notion of Evil
Attending her cot is less than a belly ache,
And Love the mother of milk, no theory.
They mistake their star, these papery godfolk.
They want the crib of some lamp-headed Plato.
Let them astound his heart with their merit.
What girl ever flourished in such company?