This Halloween I want to go as its own unraveling,
as a knife drawn drunk on anyone's
idea of a good idea, the blot between us that cohered
last time I checked, be still to come. Or maybe as
a scene drawn by a hand of ashes and
a rude right hand. Maybe. Whatever glancing forms
of the plein air depict me turning from my book                                            
to branches backed by noon sun, I might as well go dressed
as those. That morning I might as well wake early,
as on the morning before we met, never the same sun, and wear
the way we brought back from the movies the firm green grip
of young and wastrel love. Get drunk. Go dressed as the rooftops
of mornings after, driving all the stars, holding
a branch of that oak in both my hands, and with
the way eyes have of looking side to side
as if tearing stitches from the very garment
of our gathering, go forth and dare the world to take            
my information, if it can.
                                                                       Your Every Other 


By the whole pill or little
perception of the moon tonight, I can understand
the appeal of the human being
as capital. It makes us calm.
To make us miserable without our knowing it -
there lies the still pool of art or
verbiage in the incorporated bourgeois soul.
However hard to swallow, that I am not
a saint begins to dawn on me, drawn by a hand hard
to keep apart from the vocabulary
of our nights together, faint profit and worry
and fulsome praise. Apart
from the idle talk or skin of whatever people have,
ontologically speaking, in common, drowning
is what we take to be ourselves, my YES
one more address in the combinatorial
metropolis, your NO a rung bell
no door declares.


If only harmony could come
to harm. If only the avant-
garde could pour its empty heart out
one bottle, martyr, or carpeted
boutique at a time, if only
only could befriend
or at least plight troth to the pale
leap of the sea, urging us on
in poems, dolphins, and the throttle of this maritime
economy that breaks the calm inside accu-
mulations of the same. We have a duty,
don't we, to delve, to exchange places, to
erect primitive altars on which
to tender our devotions, irreducible
to love, for love feeds only the fire
we go to, swollen with choler or
the dogma that, against all odds,
maintains its own. Foaming at the mouth,
the carpenter killed his partner
with a hammer made of bone. If only
redundancies would deepen your company -- I mean,
conceptually, not with slow
hands building out of the sea
these big salt organs we don't, as a rule,
want to deal with on our own.


Free and artesian friend, when I see
the shore before you came
(as Karen said), your feet beside me tan,
calloused, but nonetheless like artifacts
untouched by any uses less complete
than time's, I want
them fungible, although I myself
belong. I know that's wrong. So nearly
Egyptian in their full pain
of long arms reaching, or Grecian, when
I see you walking next to me I can see
only tap-tap-tap, a property
that can be exchanged; it makes like
pageants in the sand, and
they pass on untouched, some smooth straight line.
And watching, I feel too abstractly                                                                            
this freedom from time's broken awful horns,
obscure from long disuse. Significantly cool
and dark, your skin perfects                                                                                        
a Levantine device. Your skin                                                                        
is about to fill my pockets with the wrong part
left over after they broke the bright yoke
of our mutual belief, when they smote
the sun against a law unto myself, against
music, and I feel left behind. Without
the example and fair tread of your feet,
dancer, clear and distinct
before I came, the hale heads belie the unique                                                                      
truth of being alive. Before you came along, I was aloof                                                        
needlessly, but now it's to the dark
tap-tap-tap of the sea that I myself belong.
I feel abstractly its long arms reaching
to render us each the less complete, to make
us wretched, to make us right or wrong,
part of the problem. By moonlight all
along the rest of the liberal machine the male
heads lie tonight untouched, in restless line. Not I.
They may be accurate, they may
be mine tonight. But I will know the dancer
until it's done with good, god fuck them all.
She won't write back, or in a week, and then I'll die. 


They cry out to the loss of a way
of working, as to a bridge beyond
the films we watch, old welter of parts requiring
feigned austerity or a leap of any sort
of exhortation, too early lost to learn again
or tell. What they call sometimes good for us,
like to be loved and beloved and
haply to fail, I never learned,
oddly enough, until now. The words declare
themselves fetishes? Fuck. The literal
should keep it all together, when to keep
calling loops us back upon our own compulsory
audition, and of our hearts
my haecceity is afraid and to subsist on the more
than savage lords. Physician,
go fuck thyself in the back room that gave us
hearts with the long list of their
ingredients, like letters from our parents or a great
superior to the spalled gray head that up to now
we could have called a key genre
in our psychic economy and may
yet call it so again. For now,
with the prerogatives of the authorial
idea, under whose seal this palpable absurdity
began on slow nights of our sloth
and indigence so long ago, with such a kind
of hunger, trimmed in black, they rummage
through our sleep; into the midst                                                                    
of an audience of lovers and superiors and wearing only
loincloths they creep, spewing an elevator speech
on processed foods, but we approve. And lest
our eyes glaze over before
the saddest part, and when the rain lets go,
they serve sex and danger as vanished forms                                      
of every business brooding on the hole
in its communication, like a feast trimmed
in black but transparent to the blood inside.                                                              
Let us learn another way.

Old foolish Tom has wreathed his horns
with the long cone of what you wrote last time,
with havoc and correction, or let's say a little
critical reflection as to how it all could be
explained. Physician, go straining
against a hand held where it hurts
as we approach the saddest parts of the films we watch,
and then the rain lets go. Maundering,
the writing life gets founded in palpable
absurdity, but that is not the saddest part. All thumbs,
my sublimation accompanies an urge
that if I could, I'd vomit up, so cold
and quiet is the plunge. Tender and blind,
if not entirely trustworthy, a little handshake
stands only to succumb, and here I am, a puppet,
feeling my stomach steer. My fumbling may.

Two men likes sides of beef
that if I could, I'd vomit up, and the fair inch
between them both of the commodity,
investment portfolios, perhaps, unspoken,
playing along the lips, firmly signaling,
their light hair blown about them like a lunar, yes,
consistency – in this
perpetually deferred landscape, this vast, carpeted
property that follows them everywhere,
where begging you again, fingers happen, how
strange...among them art
will change, and practice acquiescence. It will
not be okay. I will not want
to teach again. And when the whole
narrows down to the burden of a Romantic business
communication cum surface, disturbance, dilettantish
consistency, the conceptual artist
sounds like a predator,
especially about girls. Old tragedy
hails to the harm that raised it, I hear
the cold sea saying, like the only friend
of birds, the larger ones, drawing a dark weight overheard
at midnight after them: desperate
to no purpose, rich no doubt in the search
for serial aesthetics, white
lake, snow melting, something to cast ladders
across. I think I’ll take up eight-minute dating.

Dolsy Smith is a poet in Washington, DC. His work has appeared in DIAGRAM, the Yale Review, and the Poetic Labor Project, among other places, and is forthcoming from Cricket Online Review.