Friday, April 22, 2011

I still think of you on cold winter mornings, darling, they still remind me of when we were at school.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

yellow to the eyes

The night I rode my bike down to alphabet city—the night you would not come with me but I came back for you at three in a cold sweat inside my red coca cola sweatshirt—I found an old dresser I think you would have liked. I saw a lot of things you would have liked: a smoke shop on seventh and first, that little French restaurant we ate at last spring and could never remember the name of, a saxophone abandoned on the corner of 10th and Avenue B, a brownstone with a very blue door. I’ve heard that Salman Rushdie lives there behind that door, just two doors down from Patricia Nix. I’ve heard professors say she’s faded and her art washed out, but I don’t believe it. There are eyes that watch you climb the narrow stairs in her narrow house. They blink and wink, peacock feathers painted over in striking reds and blues. She had me to dinner back in September, but you would not come with me then either. Nicky came instead and we drank champagne in the thin parlour on a blue velvet couch, sided by a marble bust of Benjamin Franklin, and portrait of Queen Elizabeth I in a red and gold dress, her eyes made of glass and portraits of children. The elevator from 1913 opened like a wardrobe, clicking with that distinct click of an old and ancient lock, and inside Ben and I were pressed close but he was not you. We rode up and down between the basement garden and the fifth floor. You would have liked the fifth floor. Patricia’s left over paintings piled and stacked, an old piano with its keys removed that cannot sing, the face of Henry VIII in every painting, grim in the corner spying on me. When I asked, Patricia told me, ‘I paint Henry and Elizabeth because I am Elizabeth reborn.’ In every portrait there is always red paint and in the painting hung over blue velvet couch the skin of snakes twist down her dress and her eyes are the eyes of her mother, cut out from yellowed photos and the stark white face of her baby brother. Always red roses of the reddest hue for the Tudor rose. ‘My eyes are blue like hers, see?’ she said. ‘I remember those corsets—see how they left scars on my ribs?’ Walking back down the Lower East side that night after dinner, I broke into a cold sweat inside my coat and I only saw the blue eyes, blinking and staring at my knees the way you stared at them in fiction class. I went back to Patricia’s for Thanksgiving, too, but you had already gone home, shut your yellowed eyes in San Francisco. You should have stayed in New York.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


you have grey in your hair at the leftside of
your neck, did you know?
silver baby wisps poking out & grinning
in the bored fluorescent light.
i want to kiss you on the neck, just below
where you've gone a little grey
your skin is clean & sweet, the colour of
raw honey
i want to kiss you on the leftside of your
honey neck
right where your earlobe connects & your
jaw line begins.
your shoulder muscles are
lean & come through the
white of your tshirt
a hill rolling through
the low of your body
i want to kiss the insides of
your elbows where the veins
are blue & green under
the honey of your skin

Saturday, December 26, 2009


been looking backwards today and yesterday. been twisting up my insides every afternoon in a studio. my teacher said its good to do the core work--it gets your insides all smoothed out; untwists your sadness.
i looked at your photos tonight because i could and looked especially for your hands. i can't remember why i hated them. did i ever? do i? there was just something off, you know. the nail was too short or the joint stunted; much too feminine although the knuckles were good. i just couldn't say. either way, i wanted to write you to say i'm sorry for that year, but i'm coward, you know.
i won't tell my mother my sister's secret either because i'm a coward. my insides are true yellow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a voice from the heart

From the heart a voice commands: believe
in that already dishonoured word justice.
The distant heir of the lion
must rebel against his captivity.

There is a way. Its destination springs
from the wild primeval forest of memory.
There is also a microbe
that carries the toxin of a millennium.

Then if you search for suffering's meaning
become its revealer
and hear how grandfathers awaken sons
like stormaxes against the bronze of bells.

There is a way. So climb, stride,
kick away the perpetual stumbling block.
Death pardons every error,
but slavery it never forgives.

Seymore Mayne 22 July 1941


the problem with me is that i never
admit i was wrong.
i repent & cry at your feet when you
find me out
collapsing beside the bed, instead of on it;
please,please believe me!
but by next month, i will not remember my own remorse.
i am not sorry.
yes, i did that & it was real & good.
i'm not sorry, i don't take it back
i'm not sorry, i'd do it all again.
it is only in the thunder of the moment
when you scorn me cold & angry, i am sorry.
i am only sorry for the way you
look at me.