Not Ever Again

This cannot be the place, the end of the way,
I wake up in this body as in a marble quarry,
early abandoned — All warmth gone.
The world recedes in the distance,
the suburbs, the freeways,
the hand who invites me to a fuller life,
a higher lake— Nothing stays.
Except that ongoing song of flesh
pulsing in the bones, thicker than honey.
And I don’t have enough soul to dismiss
this melody; notes, sounds
filling my mouth, moving in me —
Incorporeal salvation has no meaning today,
since lying on my back once, on the asphalt,
the earth felt like a bed of moss,
my thighs of coral — ablaze.
Why should I pretend there is another joy ?
— It’s a lie. This cannot be the place,
the end of the way. I want to wake up one
more morning, feeling the city trembling,
my lover’s hand on my belly — Everything near.
The sea of fire under the crust of the earth,
the stars and planets on top of skycrapers.
Wild, urgent, never removed. Not of anyone.
Not of anything, ever again.
Listen to me now — not ever again.

Viridis

Based on a film by Charles Pictet

And if we are to go on living,
the film of our experiments
will not run softly like a dream ―
It will have the flaws of life,
the faint sound of traffic,
the incessant blink of city light ―
And when the wind hardens
everyone will leave the table,
everyone quit the scene,
but there will be a stir
somewhere, unexpected ―
like a touch of silver
on olive leaves.

And if we are to go on parting
let it be without passion,
venom or blood.
For the verso of Red
is Loss ― a dark courtyard
death inhabits best.
And when we have enough
of dinners, negotiations, dice rolling
at tables where we always lose ―
Let’s find a greener altar,
colour of an olive grove,
a fresh almond ―
or simply a more tender eye
behind the lens.

And if we are to go on believing
that love begins with flesh
but does not end with it,
let’s sit and feel our hands
on this fabric,
as an event, almost
a memory―
Let that green tablecloth,
that red ribbon flutter ―
Hope and History,
History and Hope ―
Woven together,
like reeds along the lake.

The Music Box

There’s a music box I tried to repair,
a melody playing through the red
clockwork of my heart —
There are worlds I thought
I could leave behind
that never stop sending postcards
from the past. And no matter
if the song is out of tune,
all photographs pale and torn,
they keep taking me back
to a crossroad — where everyone
has chosen the wrong path.

There are lovers broken by rules,
wedding dances stopped by wars.
There’s a woman leaving her child
for three roses on a coat of arms.
There’s a Jew tricked by a tricky star,
children gone and a mistress
crowned. Oh the trembling done
behind locked doors
leaves the equation unsolved.
I feel — suspended, I don’t know
how to grow old. Conventions
smashed like a string of pearls,
but no answer rang out, at all.

Life goes on, beautiful and strange,
I stand staring at this crossroad.
The music box turns and turns,
its love song — foreign to everyone.
Tell me, is there a flag to hold,
a desire I shall not let go —
A fire that a storm will not blow ?
Blood runs to these blue regions
of my heart, then drips unspeakably
red.

Which of you ?

Listen Father, I lost my hunger,
I have no need of bread
any longer — Give me a stone.
I’ll leave the glass of wine
where it is, the sweet berries,
thyme and honey on the table.
In such a wide blue place, alone,
losing time, taste and touch,
an orphan inevitably turns
into a wild cat. But I never
hoped to be so mad, so gone,
to have fought so many wars,
unsheathed so many claws.
Now I long for another song,
not for this train of thoughts broken,
not for this station. There’s a line
of cliffs, I miss, ending in a lighthouse,
a wall of rock halfway up the sky,
cleared by a summer wind.
All that happens, the sea,
the city, happens under its wing.
It’s a tender chalk to lean on,
it never fears, dooms nor
cheats, and on the skin
oh it’s softer than silk.
Listen Father, keep that sugar,
I won’t lick your hand
which never took mine.
I can only stand there
untamed. Flowers and blood
are frail — this stone
holds it all. At dawn
it rocks me close and tight
in a firm touch of light.

Stunned

Locked in an alabaster room,
untouched by dawn
and untouched by noon,
years slowly cancel my flesh
degrade the dresses I wear.
— Still life is so long
and desire so strong,
like a wounded bird
I endlessly return
to what burns.
A lost indigo,
a sealed window,
that one day some hand
must open.

Easter

There was a silence
of wine and myrrh,
an absence equal
to a presence —
instensified.
Petals came
falling upon it,
showers of eglantines,
jasmine like beads.
No word was left
inside me, yet
the red stain
of my lipstick
on the glass
proved I had
a voice — once.
In the East,
a transparent band
of blue sky,
almost a torture,
appeared.
Whispering
Light, Light
does not resent
sorrow —
We were so many
with a heavy heart,
wearing it
at noon,
like a peculiarly
fine jewel.
I remember
among vine and myrtle
I wished to cry.
Yet, I laughed.

Lacrimae Rerum

“This culture refuses to affirm death. And it is the central myth of our
culture, but we refuse to affirm that we have been expelled from paradise.”
— Leonard Cohen.

At the East of Eden
I shall die,
defenceless against
the garden wall
— the page printed
the hurt inflicted
yet, a thousand mandolins
in my mind.
Among so many
animals gone mad
such frail violets
piercing rocks —
even if something
might turn wrong
I am still calling for
an encore.
At the East of Eden
we shall die,
misled, bereaved,
broken by lies,
so let’s go down
to the rose bush,
talk a little,
drink wine —
The door is open
on the Spring night,
come on Love,
there is time —
let’s defer the tears
a little while.

Fallen

Something went wrong
on my way up to the Shining City,
the stairs were no stairs
they smashed like porcelain,
and left me hanging there
on a floor that was no floor.
Naked under a light robe,
too naked, childlike
I didn’t see my keeper
sitting in the sun,
ready to lift me off my feet
to set me high over the void.
Alone I stared into the darkness
with broken hopes and bones,
even the mind,
my own mind,
didn’t answer me anymore.
I couldn’t retrace my steps,
neither recall the fall.
It happened long ago,
so long ago ―the shock,
the Exile from paradise.
Now I was stuck
in that center ― Nowhere
that point ― wearying
every compass.
Like Eurydice
in the dirtiest corner of Hell,
waiting for an Orpheus
who wouldn’t come
nor care,
I felt a penchant
for every fallen man,
a craving for every
leaving train.
But I couldn’t recall a start,
it had always been there.
Oh my keeper,
these memories I’ve got ―
It’s like a blood red flag
I will plant one day
on the shining top
of that City of yours.

Aria

And entering these Daedalian years,
the loneliness, the cold delicacy
of the dark, entering slowly, step
by step, hand in hand, we couldn’t
help but watch each other stumble
— fall. Time took us by the knees
like water.

Separated from the ground, gone,
we could only lay, utterly worn,
utterly clear — as suspended
in mid-air. The distance between
our lips infinite and microscopic.
I was with you, you were with me.

After the deluge, after the struggle,
only the freedom of this place
was given. I could kiss your most
fragmented days — you held mine.
It was as simple as a musical
phrase. The worst part — over.

No one tried to adorn it with
words. Having to be satisfied
with drops from the tap, when
the highest lakes or an ocean
move in you, never soothes.
We were cut from the same stone.

So we just kept on getting through.
Accompanied by an aria in the most
hostile places. And those who saw us
dancing concluded we were insane
— they couldn’t hear the music.

Wonder

I do not dream, I watch the sea
feathered by a light wind,
the city of pale silver, sharp-cut,
small churches filled with an idea
of grandeur, death woven in poppies
and violets along the roads —
and I know not if this is real.
It would be unfair to say
I deserted this world — I was
deserted, the sun bathed
the empty space I left behind.
I became an imitation of light,
a lamp under a bushel.
And I no longer know which one
is the miracle — the world over there
or that flame burning with so little oil.
Tell me, Elisha, which one
is the mirage — I did dream
once — of a lighthouse.