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)
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
finally making life to each of his repeated
wives. Or is it really one woman? One
seed of flax
oiling the tongue?
into the mirror of our choosing,
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
or a bleeding
in. There was, of course, the sadhu
in Calcutta, rumored to have pierced
with cut glass.
Now, as I swallow,
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
rough and tender
Hears the bitten,
the bleeding of a bell.
Hears the sift sashay of moonlit pubis
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
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?
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
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