Marlowe graced me with Faustus; now I perceive
more exactly the value of spirit, the cost of knowledge;
more clearly I see now the curved line of the equator
and the human-animal graft of the centaur.
The vision of the culture of suffering,
the deconstruction of the atom’s secret nucleus,
the chemical explosive, and the results of the explosion—
these still remain my offensive strategy,
my defense system against the gas’s detonator.
Exhausted by keeping watch on paper alone
I have built myself out beyond the bounds of my body,
beyond the holy water squeezed out of Philip Sidney
that made him murmur “Thy need is greater than mine.”
With irises written less densely yet than their whites
my eyes drive the world into logic’s antipodes,
around the dangerous balance of love and pain.
I rise and fall with the planet Kicelev,
careful not to desecrate the moon-footprints of the astronaut.
My atmosphere is a thin layer of life and death,
its hemisphere’s core remains one of sweat and blood,
its biosphere guides my neurons to connect,
helping the lithosphere guard my face from shame.
I have nothing to confess to the dark laws of chaos,
I abhor the effects of any prelude to invasion,
The destruction of even one person for the good of another.
Forgive me, Milton, but it were better
To serve in heaven than rule in hell.
The planets have lost nothing vital
in their semi-intoxicated revolutions.
From man’s quaint standpoint,
they seem equidistant, indifferent.
Majestic like the pyramids,
they are nonetheless overwhelmed
and cast off the weariness of age,
like a fine nylon décolleté eager to behold
themselves in the mirrors of your sunrise eyes.
The planets are like beads on your neck,
luminous with your wholesome beauty.
Looking out from where I stand,
straddling the gap between being a man
And elected by fate to be you husband,
humans don’t identify you with the wish of Vines,
don’t like you to the lights in the sky.
They send up astronauts, satellites
To find life in other atmospheres,
Unaware that something magical occurred
And that all those lights are aligned
And hang like ornaments around your neck.
When I read the world with your glasses
The slagged husk of a remote death
corrodes the physical evidence of past living beings:
carbon-14 that expires at a furious rate.
The remains of the disappearance retain
the surface crust of the loss.
The kernel of life’s eternity dissolves
in the cold atmosphere of reality.
Ice-slick tunnels offer escape
from the dark truths of the underworld,
but they break your skates in your morning’s urgency:
at once the contact of the visible with the invisible
of other eyes in need of spectacles.
It’s not just a conflict of perceptions:
it’s exactly at the edge of eternal beauty
that the horizons of resistance renew themselves
along with the forgotten poesy of Rumi.
I see, spiraling around the paper funnel as they drain out,
visions intended for destruction
and pentagrams with more than five edges.
All of which is an attempt to minimize the value
of ethics’ scaled order of music
and the reason why the fingers are horizontal
when people reach out to shake hands.