Monday, May 31, 2010


After forging both our signatures - Mrs and Mr
on the hostel register, the hostel somewhere

between limbo and hell, but all we could muster
with sunrise already red-spattering the air -

we rose as if in worship of each other,
intoning in the tongue of lovers or lovers'

image, and if we already shared a language
pre-existing and only to be gouged

from us as from a stone, then her mouth
was a wellspring where air met earth,

and on her tongue that was every river,
or black-reflecting puddle we had earlier

tripped over, was every drop of sweat
or condensation from every dancer and bar-light,

and in the light of a new year we were hesitant to face,
her dim eyes, her Indias of spice

glanced down at the feet that were never my feet,
then the eyes that were only mine, and yet -

even as the doors of our twin cells closed
and sky paled to eye-blue above the clothes

we had discarded - I settled down in my casing
and simmered to the accent I still have trouble placing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I found him on the beach, half-starved on his driftwood
raft, barely able to form the sound of his own name.
Once he could, I heard his story, broke bread for him,
hardly gave him credence, led him to the palace
nonetheless. Nausicaa came later. But the day
I recovered overnamed Odysseus, naked
but for a leafy loincloth and flotsammed beard,
became the night I met you. Everyone we knew
crammed in a sandy cove, the bonfire's drowsy light,
the big man's susurrent tone, lulled me to agony.
I was ready to grab a bottle and vamoose

when I caught your steady, uninterested gaze
and the universal two-finger sign for 'smoke?'
You asked who he thought he was, whether his story
were fiction or recollection, his or someone elses,
what difference it made? And answer were overlong,
but mine was studied, earnest, and as far beyond
my recall as your pine-green shawl, your eyes pine-green,
even his raven-ish beard and his hands tucked behind
himself like a raven, weren't. These fragments coalesced
one night in dream as a sensuous whole. As for all
that happened next, you remember as well as I.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Côte d'Ivoire

As if there were nowhere in the world
but the ten-or-so yards before his back line,
Kolo Touré might yet hold his position
(kitted out in orange and still more orange)
somewhat better than another Ture,
Samori, who, in circa eighteen ninety,
saw his French-styled legions driven
by French legions east and further east,
his turf not so abandoned as removed
from the place between two European stones
that had once been his own back line.

As if the whole story could add up
to more than a matter of lines,
as if a field of battle could become
little more than a field of play
marked by bunkers and fox-holes
that might once have been called home,
as if this scorched and salted dirt
might yet show signs of blooming,
Kolo, in a white-and-green change
kit, fills the hollow in his defence
as if he might yet hold his position.