Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

the landscape of 163 lines
on my skin in flanging groups
like little cave wall marks, striations
from a little cave man hunt or mystery
or a diligent bear.

flick a blade from a dollar bic with a screwdriver
pull it out between your teeth, bending it slightly
between canines, sharp tang of metal on the tongue;
wear the dress forever.

today i fill each scar with paint from a silver marker
as though i were an ikon or a god, light trying to get out;
or a gas station wizard statuette, the kind in cheap enamel
with a garish, unrealistic craqueleur. i leave the house like this,
the grocery checkout girl’s hair looks soft as a blanket.

when i first made love i heard my desperate, deep cry
and the animal force of my body wanting
and i thought of my mother’s rape,
and of my sister’s rape,
and was afraid.

after we slept i felt sarah’s
lips on my arms and legs;
she said, i will kiss each scar.

tonight in the cove where i live
my singing is the loudest sound:
the black scoters are silent in a full moon
and a hundred feet downcliff
the water touches each stone
to its smallest pore,
then the roar of a navy jet
pounds the sky to heavy surf.

i remember the cove is a scar
from old ice passing –
in the mornings it is red as iron clay
as i watch it fill with sun.
i know it will never, not once,
repeat itself.

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