Groanings Unspeakable

Feet like hymnals
carry us inevitably
to the same asherahs
as our forebears.

This, too, is vanity
and a striving after wind.

‘For I will visit the iniquities
on the children
and the children’s children
to the third and forth
generations.’

Thus says the Lord.

Shoes

My old ones were cracked apart,
a single faultline running like
a Nike check up both feet.
The soles degenerate and thin.

I bought a new pair today,
the black of them unsoiled felt.
There’s joy in such easy exchange,
though I’ll bet the future will see

these shoes broken on the same planes.
Our gaits are unique as fingerprints.

Untitled

Bookstores are sacred places:
cemeteries for words,
altars for ideas.
The putrefying corpses
of long-dead writers.
The ink won’t turn
your fingers black.

Is it bad, then,
that I find that stench
much more pleasant
than my own vain scribblings?
The dust of my own thoughts,
ink still wet and sticky on the page.
Useless jotting
in the Face of the masters.

Bundren

i’d a tole him
not to name his son ‘Anse’
because the sounding of it’s
like ants – and ants,

while active, only end
up hugging the ground.
i’d a tole him
that his son would be like the ants

with the hugging. that
a boy named Anse
would work and work and tire,
rubbing off his own toenails

in the frenzy and sweating
out his work ethic
til the fever took him
and he only ever

hugged the ground after,
Anse. ants. ants. anse.
like the sounding of the
trees in a autumn wind,

the sounding of his name.
not the wind
but the trees.
the sounding of his name.

i’d a tole him
that Anse is a boy’s name
and so the boy would
outlive the man

in the one vessel.
that a man-Anse
would only ever
reverse things, turn them over

like coins in his hand,
(or peaches, maybe, or jewels)
and keep the turning like
clockwork. flipping things

on their heads like
the roarings of a mighty
floodriver or the backwash
of silt and timber and horses and wood.

the chile will stagnate
and putrefy, i’d a said.
but he wouldn’ta listened.
he was a Bundren, see,

and all that ilk
are planted upright,
more like a grove than a family:
steadfast, stalwart, unyielding, bound.

i’d a tole him just the same.