There is No Author

 high eminence of deconstruction
Paul de Man
declared the text subversive--
meaning debunked--
the author dead

writing in Belgium, 1941,
for Nazi Le Soir,
called Germany the future
of Europe
said Jews might be shipped off
without undue loss

at Yale, negated history:
the aporias of Auschwitz
transformed by hermeneutics
into jouissance

all accusations fade
to écriture

millions of corpses
lost in the text  

Plato’s Internet

 “as if a magic lantern threw the nerves
                            in patterns on a screen”

a monitor
articulated blueprint
of bone, muscle
neural interlace
circulatory system (red and blue)

your body
puts you in the movie
God says,
I’m gonna make you a star

you lift these limbs
trudge through landscapes
clothed in the language of the clan
trading dead rabbits for grain
herring for coin

searching those points
where feelings jerk back against the strings
where that which is not puppet
hides its heart  


 How long can I keep them in my head
those little voices
suppressed by Ego’s law

chattering monkeys
brain full of maggots

when will they stream out

as children burst from school
at three o’clock

as nebulae erupt
in flowers of light?  


                                        for my daughter,1997

because you’re
so tormented
and I’m so
fucking helpless

and like the ’92 Accord
I bought you
in the body shops
of San Jose



by the past  


 your body beneath a dress
your body bare

trying to discover the art
of touching you
of cradling your nakedness in mine

of matching smithereens
of the first marriage  

Two Meanings of Cleave

 last night
I could feel
how I felt to you

we were one
in the sense of “cleave to”

our fingers
embedded in flesh

time cleaves
our entangled atoms

I don’t remember
how I felt to myself

as distance numbs
cooling skin

and I see you
as someone



 the watermark of love

her thigh
across my groin

a sentry
of her sleeping mind

stakes out my presence
in the breathing dark  

The Strong Force

 charged intimacy of paired particles
binding of quarks
the strong force

you who are so no good for me 

but in a flood of pleasure
give yourself to me
beyond all measure

whose skin spreads heat
under my palms
whose stirrups are my feet

from that which drags us down
that pure perception

awaking, we can never keep
up love’s deception  

Love Affair

 shatters the calm surface of his hours
goading the pulse to blind acceleration
betrayal, guilt
incite disintegration

envelops, everts

Another World

 Our love
a theory held so deeply

damned by experiment

tries darker formulae
rarer elements;

dreams of
a flat-earth world
where Troy still stands
Lamarck’s confirmed
aether, mermaids
cold fusion

to the thousandth place
as theory bends with flesh.

Till then 

tested to destruction
locked in the starry tangles of our minds 

our love defines its own dimensions
and believes
its own soliloquies.  

Moving On

 last year
she put the old retriever to sleep
placed her father in a home
gave away the furniture
closets of clothes

and left the house
where she’d brought up her children
the boy who’s living
the girl who died

last night, 

in dreams, she let the dog
whining because it hadn’t peed in months
out of the house

I hope she lets her daughter out
and then herself
closing the door behind  

In My Apartment


for years I tried
to realign the stars 

tear you from a dark populace
of ragged shadows

sad hovering spectre
you smile distantly
when our paths cross
absent—still here

I don my ghost shirt
heliotrope with navy stripes
a cloak of film and newsprint
floating behind  


 from which quadrant
is the wind?
how high the surge?

how many knots and isobars?

lately we sleep
in separate beds

boats thrash in their slips
snapping lines

a gull spins
in a gale of fragments

she leaves
a letter listing
unforgivable things

I dream of our
wild acts of love 

as walls roar
and we move

into the eye  

I returned…

 half expecting
to find her unpacked
but the hangers all were bare
the photos, gone.

We’d rehearsed this
a dozen times—

with all the sorrow and the explanations
concern of friends
probing of motivations

until we got it right 

no melodrama, no mistaken cues.

I remembered the penultimate
when we’d made love
I was too ardent, hurt her
there was blood

the next time I was gentle
she moaned into my shoulder

some slight redemption
in a world

where every single time could be the last.  

Prairie Lightning


flashes in distant cloud 

recurrent in the mind

under Fall debris
postcards, snapshots

letters returned 



 I wanted to write about your body 

as you stood before me
naked in candlelight and summerdark

my hands at your waist
the warmth of your skin
curving from hip to breast 

your shoulders brushed by gold

the sorrow in your eyes
that always returns 

and sunrise doesn’t wait
on ecstasy

I tore your picture from its frame
hid your nakedness
in the pages of a book

 fragrant as morning
luminous as night