876 Readings | 2 Ratings


Love begins with a bench:

                       (here I’m coming in secret
                         to smell the beeswax)

                                                                                     Nous and Logos
                                                                                     belong together
                                                                                     their union 
                                                                                     is life

I ask the singer what the priest is singing.
He tells me it is a funeral dirge written
in the ancient Yi language.

                                                            (We like to play
                                                               at dying: there’s our
                                                               unknown crime.)

                                                                                          the voice in the distance
                                                                                          is incomprehensible
                                                                                          but clear and beautiful

Girls her age
took new-edged blades
to cut in mourning
for these curls
of their soft hair

                                        she        without the art          of putting
                                        her         skirt over                    her ankles                    

the figure of wisdom
(which we encounter frequently
in Gnostic systems) indicates
a relationship

he number can it god he: morning mist and you survive several fights about organizing rhythms into bed sheets                can you pick leaves in the desert or the alps

she vibe the last only if infinite ratio she: frozen only if confident, she pulses the coming trains of Brooklyn           subway ride, afternoon                the way statues lift arms under early light
can you morning eavesdrop                only if they round salve maria
sal-vay maria                               they left church steps in order to ring faces like ministers

mother: bertolli light                    she grabbed on the fist full           vapor relic out of the marches, veronica                               the planets, they seem fidgety like on bus seats

father: only to sleep five more times                     only if they bottle horizon and we grow a bit after fighting                                    they hope for starfishing night night        night      night           night                surround the population embraces 


I write this way because it happened to me. We act this way because it happened to us.  Trees are not gentle. They push themselves through earth. Push themselves past sky.  I write this way because it happened long ago. I see tree outline framework. I feel indignation tree bark feasting empty sky. Trees used to be sky. Unfortunate tree breakages in the sky.

I write this way because it happened to me. The trees bring language up, vertical, above the complacency of soil. Language makes false stories about what happened, long ago, when I was barely beneath sky.

It happened to you, too. Remember. You’ll get mad when you remember.

We were all children once. Before our first utterance, we learned pollen language. We learned to speak of trees, and how they rupture vast expanse. Later, we learned the silence of not speaking of trees, to keep hush the vultures of every morning when they plant sycamores upright. We feel the sting of pollen against our brushed playboy stomachs. The sting of tree bark on our thighs. The opening of soil to plant milk seed. The vibration/tug of earthworm in mud.

It happened long ago. I have no visible proof. Fathers leave traces of mud. I understand your mother hides in forests and she opens wide when the trees grow dark. I understand that you lost yourself there, too. I understand that you denied your walk through the forest and saw it later as a brisk walk at the start of day. But it was really night that time and there have been other times in similar state parks when you saw the outline of wildlife against the moon. And you denied that sight and later thought you had only seen the hollow shadows of trees. Think again. You’ll get mad when you remember.

I write this way because it happened to me. It also happened to you. We struggle with the way we act when we see the clamor of thistle in the mildew of how we keep ourselves hidden, in language, in the defrost of wishing to devour each memory of our still birthed yet alive robbing.

the one time we stopped
looking beyond the traffic
we could finally see our
two faces situated
beneath the embers
of streetlamps
this light dwindles
into discord
we couldn’t form ourselves
into knitted funeral costumes
the way we did in ocean towns
this building could be the same
as the granite street
where we found ourselves
more deciduous trees

                                   drape earthmasks
                                   like death sheets
                                   over the hardwood floor

there is a security checkpoint
at La Guardia airport
you are in a taxi
pulling away

                                             he never loved
                                             another person
                                             the way he loved
                                             the ceramic washing bowl
                                             she hid underneath
                                             her bed

Each time opposition is set up to make sense, the couple is destroyed. A universal battlefield. Death is always at work.

The morning after
I had to read several books
to forget the night before
                    In my copy of Otto Rank’s Doppelganger
                    all of the important pages
                    stuck together
                                                       I thought I had spring-cleaned
                                                       his sperm 
                                                       from my dress
                                                       sitting cross-legged
                                                       the irony was that
                                                       cross-legged sitting
                                                       breaks the flow of blood
                                                       to the brain

                                                                                     I will never know what its like
                                                                                     to wake up beside myself
                                                                                     (o how I loved her
                                                                                     her fingers felt
                                                                                     just like mine)

a candle next to a hurricane
fire won’t save
the avenue from flooding

Norea told Noah to pack his bag and build a ship. She took her two favorite giraffes, one male, one female. He took two llamas – one male, on female. They had two children – one male, one female. Noah was male and Norea female. The morning after, the rest of the world was gone and Norea told Noah
               that in the jungles, many animals
               used sexual intercourse
               as a means of saying hello
               as well as farewell

one male

                         and one female

The morning after
                                             I could only look in the mirror

in Otto Rank’s Doppelganger,
               there is a photo
               of a woman
               with long black hair

the morning after           we left        our spaces                  in line                           
for personal development         my lips settled          like two lovers meeting we past the funeral department                we went down to floral                        we went to the jewelry counter                               settled upon a nice death ring to bring us closer             to warning           our memories need a lunar eclipse to guide them into knowing

                                                                 the morning after
                                                                 I ran toward you with a death wish
                                                                 and I noticed you looked

Posted 07/31/09
Books by Debrah Morkun
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