spring clinging

Four old (five years!) poems from an internet shoebox cleared of spiders:

B. splendens

Oil-neon, leonine, from the dark clotted thing it was,
a jarred betta pushed by a child’s accident against a mirror
tumesces. It is exactly the libido of an anchorite unexpected
in the tent of a perfumed eunuch: effulgence in excess
of the salt-mud clockwork of gods or genes, some eruption
kinking the cool smooth vectors of theology or biology,
a splendid allergy that wells genital and embarrassing
for the kid and the monk.

So when, in the aquarial brack of our beds,
some hand, or look, or word swells up
the piscine origami of glands –
mad ventricles flushing,
bruise-hued tissues
blooming laryngeally
something like:
I like you a lot-
You should not
push it back;
Desire is a fighting fish.

Irish Elk Sonnet Fragments Recovered from Shannon Basin Pleistocene Peat

Great sloping stag-thing that knew the bogging
tendency of lust’s rampant allometry: Megaloceros
giganteus, doom-antlered, direly love-racked, how onerous
was the added branching weight of knowing

that your line was fast collapsing under
the thorn-crown gravity of pleasure, every buck’s arch-necked, sated
bellow mounting deadly living stone upon your head? Heaney’s crated
air missed the point of skulls in muck-butter.

Easter 1994

stops. Amniotic
liquor cools around
the egg-tooth whose
subtle mineral sawings
quell. A little boy breathes
the incandescent damp
of a bedroom incubator,
the avian forge already
smelling teary. Dare he
break the seal of foam
and shell and risk the
mother’s rude, rural
contempt of runts?
The historical
(not the Synoptic)
Magdalene offers
her bosom, to tell
of a morning spent
ear-pressed against
other stubborn
calcium: how
she too broke
over futile prayer,
the cruelty of
a parent,
a failed

Ozarks Hermetic

A yarbman mules through a crick’s squirrelled
hickories, trundling spunkwater, morels
bundled against the depredations of snipes,
black howlers, and baldknobbers, fighting
nights’ visions of alligator husbands, white
spooklamps, hellbenders bipedal in moonlight.
Paused by a spring cave named mongrelly,
cold lime gospel and pagan in the shade,
he considers the incestuous albinisms which dwell
beneath, and shudders again, wading
farther from the city and the blind, blanched, cold
creeping things that haunt its karst souls.