Saturday, January 28, 2006

FOUR POEMS by Eileen R. Tabios


The white street
an obscenity

when haloed ascetics
can't remember
a wash in hot water

There must be another light

than this wind stuffing
headless birds
--and spermatozoa--
into fragile craters
of a trapped moon

until even onions
cease to make you cry


Could our two miseries
into one opulent being?

Men simplify
before slinking back
to antediluvian burrows

Baby priests
turn away
to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello

But she is clutching lilac print
within a shadow burning
salvation's seedlings


....and passing a poet banging stones against my mountain because lightning is fun to play with, except lightning also hurts....and I still have to roll my own boulder up the to remain standing when one has paused to stop lightning with the left hand, while the right hand props up a boulder so heavy so heavy so heavy....

[.....the towel on your shoulder is sodden now, so I'll go to sleep now....]

…..and cobalt-winged crow slits sky, something wriggling between its beak, black diamonds for eyes….and I still have to roll my own boulder up the mountain… to persevere with palms now bleeding from rock shards embedded through the pushing towards cloud-covered sky, even as the valley of men below possess a gravity inserting iron weights in the hem of my skirt….

[.....the towel on your shoulder is sodden now, so I'll go to sleep now....]

... and look, you're all wet as the towel couldn't protect you and I'm sorry your shirt's all wet and your pants are all wet and still you just have to sit there and suffer the flow of more tears more tears more tears more tears and now your room is flooding and, oh dear, all your papers are wet and you have deadlines but your printouts have become tracks for black rivers….

[.....the towel on your shoulder is sodden now, so I'll go to sleep now....]

…..your curls are wet…..I'm sorry your curls are wet…..and I'm glad you'll ignore this too…..but so sorry about your curls…..

[.....the towel on your shoulder is sodden now, so I'll go to sleep now....]

.....and then I thought the flow stopped and for a while I was happy because sunset eyes can't help but hurt but then it's winter here so why would I think the rain would cease and now I'm wet and crawling back for your shoulder and now I'm wetting you again and I'm so sorry and yes please do be careful to make sure I don't harm your printouts or books or other pieces of paper that flood your writing space because I'm so wet and now chilled and….I apologize that you're now sodden because I just couldn't keep peeking out from behind the hair I'd tried so hard to grow as a veil…..and now you're wet too and I'm sorry but I can't leave yet I just need your shoulder just a little bit longer and there, there....

[.....the towel on your shoulder is sodden now, so I'll go to sleep now....]

.....okay I go to sleep now ..... dreams, defer thy selves.....


One man, Pygmalion, who had seen these women
Leading their shameful lives, shocked at the vices
Nature has given the female disposition
Only too often, chose to live alone,
To have no woman in his bed. But meanwhile
He made, with marvelous art, an ivory statue --
from Ovid’s Metamorphoses

These are my last words
before I become stone

the same color as the ivory
virgin known as “Beauty”

defined by crumbling pages
gasping, “Her name is Galatea”

A god stopped playing
(for once) to manifest mercy

A god blinked long lashes
for a statue to step down

from a pedestal also carved
by my withered hands

The statue blinked long lashes
She whispered her name: “Galatea”

Her mother was her father was
my instrument carving her curves

Who could have foretold
she would transcend my grief

over the women she -- that is, I --
emulated through ivory and stone …

She reddened her lips into roses
She revealed her breasts for moons

She opened eyes fearlessly at the sun
She laughed as she spread her thighs

These are my last words
before I sculpt myself into limestone

a chateaux as moonwashed
as the ivory whose purity I formed

into the virgin I desired. But
I accept her departure from my

opened hands as the price for tasting
human lips before they now proclaim

“Poems make stones breathe. Within my eyes
poetry, nature, art and wine converge

for a life beyond stone.” I live beyond
stone by immortalizing her within my fold --

an embrace formed by stone walls
as white as she on a pedestal

mythologized as “the perfect woman”
even as her flesh wrinkles, then cracks,

for living in the world, becoming
of the world, forming the Real.

EILEEN R. TABIOS recently released the multi-genre collection I Take Thee, English, For My Beloved (Marsh Hawk Press, New York) which features poems, an experimental novel, an art monograph, play, and poetics prose. In 2006, she will release a new poetry collection, The Secret Lives of Punctuations, Vol. I (xPressed, Espoo). She performs THE CHATELAINE'S POETICS blog