Fashion a diving cormorant
to the wall
________so that it looks like it’s flying.
I haven’t taken very good care
of my skin,
The body gives off
and the body gives off
____________If the weather should be warm,
____________be pleased to order the Bowels
____________to be taken out and some Pepper
____________put into the Body, but no salt
____________which would spoil the feathers.
Knowing in the beginning
that there is an ending.
Removing meat from the skin—
they call this phase
________Take this spoon
________to my skull
I won’t be the same shape,
I will lose my eyes,
________and anyway it’s not going
but I want to be still and
the whole of it
is eaten by beetles
________I don’t have
________I don’t want
I say out loud
______from the mouth
______of the lions.
________your raised red crest
________nowhere in the Sweet Gums,
gone in Arkansas’ Prairie Lakes,
in the Tupelo and Bald Cypresses,
the Oaks and Hickories—
____________Faulkner’s Big Woods.
I have a gypsy moth in a jar,
splinters from a telephone poll.
____________Do the preserved still poison
It all gathers, it comes like
__________________a wrecking ball
________to the light
________of seven o’clock.
Yes, I dream of trees.
Blue-eyed, black-feathered fool,
____let’s avoid the language
dollhouse done up
____with dull shards of glass,
____blanched sheep vertebrae,
________rifle shell casings,
____pebbles and piles of nuts,
________with caterpillar feces—
Baby, this all
____Some damp leaves,
____sprays of fern dotted
________with aphid eggs
________on their undersides,
____handfuls of your hair,
____a blue-footed mushroom—
Song and dance,
a short bout of mimicry—
____that’s not what
Talk to me like a waterfall.
Blow the house
________Did I tell you I can put both legs
________behind my head?
____I’ll lay face down
____in the underbrush,
________you just get on top of me.
The stupor passes, something else
The blue everywhere, ambulance
birds migrating at midnight—
the bobolink is there, the tanager—
birds and birds and birds.
Birds—and a caution.
______This isn’t some sort of scrapbook,
______The bodies don’t get dropped
I turn South—and then East again
along America’s back-bone.
Convulsiveness. The great unrest
of which we are part
and Walt says the real war will never
get in the books.
The weather—does it sympathize
with these times.
What kind of specimen
What will you do with your
electric body, its mouth.
______The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly,
______remove it with a knife
______and pin it to bedroom wall, pretend
______it isn’t over yet.
Your tusks are breaking branches.
You march through marsh
all skeleton, articulated body
bare white in the swamp
the airport made.
The herons have left.
When they found you in our bog
you stood exactly as you’d died—
massive body upright, legs thrust forward,
head tilted upward and gasping for air.
What mattered most to us
was your head.
______________I regret very much the loss of this head,
______________it is impossible to save those that are taken
______________out of the water, and it is in the water or
______________Mires the Most entire bones are found.
Your skeletal trunk wraps round
Nipple-tooth teeth, tusks a ton each,
swagger and stomp
through the Super 8 parking lot,
past the sleeping big rigs
and diesel tanks, up the entry ramp
to the highway.
Every small town is
unhappy in its own way.
Ride, ride into the flood-lit night
and behold the warm, fetid future.