Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SIMON PERCHIK

*

Again the birds hide --it's waves
that are flying, that saw my mast
hauling away the Earth
--a hole struck my roof
and these joists again
dripping like the ribs Jonah cursed

--no bird noticed
though the notes in my throat
even the rain understands
and answers :the leak
meaty :a nest for a wasp
almost ready to sing like other birds
to eat without being cursed and bloodied

--for such a birth the sky
fills first, I climb
with blankets, milk, prepare my attic desk
--the wasp at least be taught like the hawk
to plumb, baptize its kill
to bang its head till the joists
tighten the roll in and out the sharp cornice
the sunken dark

then up and up and up
that it might hear its feathers --no bird
moves in or dives past
to teach the angle and the rate
--only these waves flying
from an Earth towed half under
listing, battered, swamped
as a migrant drenched on a ledge
will drift off from the crowd
from the grasping loneliness
that warps even water

--for such a beginning the rain
leans down instinctively
nursing these beams as if new leaves
would reach, hungry and fierce
and this wasp almost ready
almost a green song its tongue
already afraid to drink, to listen
afraid, as if making paper

--for such a beginning the word
comes too, reads from those leviathan jaws
the wasp dreads even in its egg :the leak
will stay! the wasp drink best it can
whiten its own teeth with feathers and bones
and my throat, write where it can.

*
These stones flattened
as feathers almost too heavy
lift the Earth to the dawn
it feeds on :another sun
eaten alive, by evening

a hill, stretching and the light
halfway down its throat --these gravestones
the sweptback wings
no light flies past, the moon
bundled in this dark
almost escaped --these birds

half stone, half wind
monstrous! the fire they steal
is never enough and looks at stars
more feathers, these birds

ache as if I were once one
and every morning the ground
lifts my eyes and I wake
not sure why it tastes like stone

or this churchyard
still cringing under my headlights
my skidmarks that claw
then blanket the cry for food
that couldn't wait for morning.

It was bleeding from both ears :each morning
lifts too much, takes on weight
and I crawl as snow carries its light
to where the Earth is already cold
and stays at our graves

--I must have been once a stone :a patch
still trying to muffle the Earth's first bone
its gagging moan everywhere --how else
will each morning stir into worth
into mercy and memory and bring

more fire :the Earth's first meal
as every stone still calls out
for breath, for mouths and kisses
--every stone gone deaf, never empty again.