Oh sweet thing
Why do you tear at your face?
Unclench your talons,
loosen the humming tendons.
Do not hide the blemishes,
the scales that cover the flesh
The queen is with you
Even in your dry and quaking mouth
Even in the husk of your skin
(though the light shines right through)
Where is the punishment
that can hurt you now?
The talons came from within.
The scales were made to fit you.
It was only you?―only you, all along.
See the strength in community,
your comrades in the circle.
The song they sing is old as the suffering
and stronger too I think.
Life is measured with the beat of the rattle
Love is measured with the beat of the rattle
The queen is shaking you
to the beat of the rattle
She is shaking you!
I am the child of an unwise love
Born to a mother who every day
Weighed herself, not for the heaviness of new life
But from a momentous belief
That she would someday learn to float
Like a helium balloon
Above my post-coital father
Rotating slowly as she composed haiku
to the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine,
and Murasaki Shikibu
My nervous fingers trace the thoughtless devotions of the ascetic.
Each half turn of a bead
reveals a small chastity of mindfulness,
a mantra repeated by a careless pilgrim
who long ago abandoned the meaning of his speech
for the image of the beloved.
The craftsman’s word not yet become creation
hangs upon my eyelids like love-in-idleness.
The form of my clay idolatry
lies yet devoid of the crude signature of the potter’s twig.
I am an artist, become the supplicant of his art
who now fumbles at the fastenings of the familiar
and swears to silence
the friend who finds him kissing the marble lips
From the living tree I carve our bed
in hopes that spring will always find us
ever rapped in new buds
And when the sap climbs from the roots
Look on me in my gnarled winter bark
And see how spring runs through my limbs too
When creatures creep into hollow knots
for the safety of yet unborn young
Look to me for shelter
And look to me in times of bitter persecution
But if you should ever feel the cold
Make from this tree your fire
Or if you should ever lack a home
Make from these limbs your walls
For what use is a bed
when these rags are torn from us by the storm
And what use are these mementoes
when we die in the snow tomorrow
The ocean rises ‘round her bed
foaming green cashmere tufts―
naugahyde sea stars
heaving swells dampen
briny tennis shoes scuttle
under the bed
(waiting gleefully for
and the stars fall
as little silver fish
that nibble at her painted nails
an ocean waiting―
for the dawn
Do not say you have not seen them
In their dreams
and tiramisu on a
hot summer evening
with a breeze from the bay
Do not see the poetry?
Under the buzzing street light
These are poems
Theodor Adorno’s “On the Current Relationship between Philosophy and Music”: An Updated Analysis for the 21st Century (2010)