We Wander, We Now, We Utter and Through

We now wander through the utterance.
We cup of it in Uruguay, we reassemble the pokeweed.

Nothing is more impressive than a hermeneutical equation.
The discarded skin of a shaddock equals the dropped wing of a hummingbird moth.

For only a brief moment, I have thought backwards toward afflicted stones.
Is it possible to translate the gravid birth of a wonderful alphabet hidden in the
    small intestine of a fossilized bee?

Beautiful chromosomal luck.
The cytoplasm of archeological undoing is an extravagant ratiocination.

The mind provides a fanciful phrase.
How the genre of common air is referred to as fragrance.

We wander, we now, we utter and through.
I have backwards and thought and affected my birth.

Kiss me, please, not of tongue but of unsettled, templed word.
Reassemble my most impressive, my brief, my discarded impossibility.

         From the Book of Tongues (11)

          Could come
     as a dying, a mid-morning wrinkle
ripped through the passage

          of a voice.  The day's activities extend
     beyond the rational, like a dream
               of Delvaux
          finally making life to each of his repeated
     wives.  Or is it really one woman?  One
          seed of flax
     oiling the tongue?

                        We look
               into the mirror of our choosing,
          see ourselves
          like fire crowning the tops of dry pines.
Okay, we think.  Jupiter does have eight solid moons.

          In the conspiracy of bees
               the conflation of ease
     at the foot of the bed, I hear primitive pulsings
          I am sure of.  I am unsure
               whether the scar on my forehead
               is also

                        a dying

               or a bleeding
          in.  There was, of course, the sadhu
               in Calcutta, rumored to have pierced
          the forehead
          of initiates
                       with cut glass.

                                       Now, as I swallow,
          something breaks
in my throat, rough
                    yet full of sun-glint.

                             We must have died
               early, to be dead so long.  The ghost
                    of a bee rises from my breath
               when I lean into the mirror
                    to brush my teeth.
     Why is there such a thing as teeth?
There was the kiss, the rubbing, the passion-bitten
          Aren't we always dying

                            through one another?
               Even as we struggle

           to live
      rough and tender
           as tongues?

                      Hears the bitten,
                                the bleeding of a bell.
                Hears the sift sashay of moonlit pubis
                    tracking Delvaux.
           Hears, how many more miles
      of starlight as bent blood?

The mirror of our musing repeats itself
like doubled ropes, like the fiery rings of Saturn,
      the blurry blood of the moon.  We believe

                in circularities

           because of an inner cosmology
      quite part, quite distinct from

               He spent much of his time
               watching insects in their death agonies. ¹

           Yes, and also desired the rough silken throat
                of the moonbit moth as his
                he always could lose himself
                in the thought of thighs, in desire
           for this tongue, for that cut
               of glass, for even more

      Aren't we already full?  Even from the yeasty moment
the birth bag bursts onto cold kitchen tile?

                Could come
                    as eidetic,
           as a dying
                     maple leaf.  Could

           fall all the way
      to the mirrored pond,
offering the world

                   row upon row of eelgrass
                (beat back by plasms of wind)

           when it had sought the salt of a cut

¹ Kawabata Yasnuri, Snow Country


george kalamaras is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.  He is the author of five books of poetry, three of which are full-length, Even the Java Sparrows Call Your Hair (Quale Press, 2004), Borders My Bent Toward (Pavement Saw Press, 2003), and The Theory and Function of Mangoes (Four Way Books, 2000), which won the Four Way Books Intro Series.  His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies including Best American Poetry 1997, The Bitter Oleander, Boulevard, Denver Quarterly (forthcoming), Hambone, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Sulfur, TriQuarterly, and others.  He is the recipient of Creative Writing Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1993) and the Indiana Arts Commission (2001), and first prize in the 1998 Abiko Quarterly International Poetry Prize (Japan).  During 1994, he spent several months in India on an Indo-U.S. Advanced Research Fellowship from the Fulbright Foundation and the Indo-U.S. Subcommission on Education and Culture.