Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
~Edgar Allan Poe 1809—1849~
one ground to another runs itself rock and rock in the unclosed pebbles of dirt open to aching at the wire your father fixes for free in the canceled warning of crow made gauze for blacktops poured not wholly over a woman-
she a belt buckle drunk pocked full the called back joy of a pop gun.
over glass I go with my milk bottle feet to church after church past mirrors sick and doctored.
needs hisself a dog he does the speechless boy drawn mother to his own mute breast -
so he clicks the roach of his tongue
makes a hole with the hole in his sock
makes tunnel sounds.
my aunt’s ear like a deformed thumb.
my aunt dreaming she says for two.
my aunt changing her mind, her mind
a mid-bread knife.
soldiers able to turn in the throat a chicken bone straight.
for muscles: jaw down nightly the door of a stove,
jaw it up,
tiny cups cured with sugar cubes and stilled with steam taken
from a skinned
pig, a train
about ladders and war, about the devil-
a man stands on his hands in three feet of water. about god-
the blue dolls and the gray dolls and the care with which the chosen choose cloth and after
all of it
some meat colored cloth.
water knows your lips, and mine; takes our mouths
top teeth on the skin of an apple. top teeth mine. a test of joy, joy’s age. mama stepping on a scale holding my brother. mama putting him down, cocking her head, picking him up. asking for a towel. asking nicely be a good brother. the towel, hot from bread, sick with ants. heavy my mouth with sorry sorry. my slapped mouth, my loved love. mama’s hands back from hell. dish soap mama hands
uncut by the hair long had by my head.
I hateth th' song of th' grass outside;
and t'eir blades t'at swing about my feet
like fire. How unfeeling all of which are-
did t'ey really think I wouldst ever be tantalised
by t'eir sickly magic? Such a gross one-
demanding, rapacious, parasitic!
Even I am fed up with t'eir proposals,
and ideas t'at t'ey fervently throw
in th' hope t'at t'ey canst corrupt my dreams,
my feelings-ah, yes, my sincere feelings,
and secure, t'ough imaginary, dreams.
Oh, and my comfortable desire as well!
My rosy desire-which at times canst tiringly
petrify me-ah, unbelievable, is it not? Th' fact
t'at I am so satiatingly, and daringly, petrified
by my own desire-and reproved by th' one
whom I am astonished at, praise, and admire;
How pitiful I am! How horrific and tragic!
I hath knitted my sorry without caution,
I was too immersed in vivid glances
and disguises and mock admiration.
Perhaps it hath been my mistake!
Eyes t'at blindly saw,
ears t'at wrongly judged!
Lies t'at I forsook,
tensions t'at I undertook!
Oh, how credulous I am-to vice!
Mock me, detest me, strangle me!
Stop my sullen heart from breathing-
as I hath, I hath spurned my darling-
oh, I hath lost my love!
How sorrowful, tearful-and painful!
And how I hath lost my breath; for cannot I stop
my feet from swimming and tapping
in t'is fraudulent air, gothic and transient
With poems t'at no matter how mad,
but nearly as thoughtful and eloquent,
I shalt still remain doleful and sad,
for my love for him is indeedst thorough-
and imminent; No matter how absurd he fancies
I am, and how he looketh at me oftentimes
with twigs of governing dexterity;
but most of all, shame.
I hath no shape now.
I hath lost, and raked away,
my elaborate conscience;
I hath corrupted my conciseness,
I hath wounded my sanguinity,
originality, and thoughts even, of my poetic
soul-of my poetic bluntness and sometimes
I am an utter failure.
I am a mad creature; I am maddened by love,
I am frightened by virtue, I despise and reject
truth. I hath no sibling in t'is world of humanity,
ah-yes, no more sibling, indeedst,
neither any more puzzles of fate
t'at I ought to host, and solve;
I deserve nothing but fading and fading away
and give up my soul, my human soul-
to being a slave to disgrace
and cordial nothingness.
I belongst not, to t'is whole human world;
T'is is not my region, for I canst, here-
smell everything sacrificed for one another
and rings of delightful and blessed laughter
which I loathe, with all th' sonnets and auguries
of my laconic heart. Oh, I am misery!
I am evil, evil misery!
I, myself, equal tragedy; I am a devil,
a feminine and laurel-like devil-
just like how I look,
but tormented I am inside,
as a cursed being by nature and God Almighty
for never I shalt be bound to any love;
and engaged to any hands
in my left years and in th' afterlife outright.
I shalt have never any marriage within me,
any marriage worthy of talks, parties,
neither anything my wan heart desires;
like sweets with no sweetness,
or dances with no music.
No human love should ever
be properly conducted by me,
I am incapable of embodying
a unity, I am destined to be with me.
To be with me only-ah, as sad as it is,
as vague as how it sounds, or it might be.
O, and how I should love, emptiness!
Any loss should thus be romantic to me:
Just how death already is;
my husband is death,
and my chamber is his grave.
I shalt, night and day, sing to th' leaves
on his tomb,
ah-as t'ey are alive to me!
Yes, my darling reader! To me, t'ey are living souls,
t'ey open t'eir mouths and sing to me
Whenever I approach 'em with my red
bucket of flowers; lilies t'ey eat, ah-
how romantic t'ey look, with tongues
slithering joyfully over th' baked loaves I proffer!
T'eir smell of rotting flesh my hug,
meanwhile t'eir deadness my kisses!
T'eir greyness, and paleness-my cherry,
and t'eir red-blood heath my berry!
So glad shalt I becometh, and shimmer shalt my hair-
and be quenched my buoyant hunger-
beneath th' sun, with my hands, t'at hath
been aborted for long, robbed of whose divine functions
Laid in such epic, and abundant rejections
Brought into life again, and its surreal breath
But t'is time realistic, t'ough which happiness
shalt be mortal, as I perfectly, and tidily knoweth
and as I flippeth my head around
And duly openeth my eyes, I shalt again
be sitting in th' same impeccable nowhereness,
nowhere about th' dead lake, with its white-furred
swans, ghost-like at t'is hour of night-
Wherein for th' rest of my years should I dwell,
with no ability and desired tranquility
t'at canst once more guarantee
my security to escape.
T'ere's no door-yes, no door, indeedst,
to flee from th' gruesome trees,
t'eir putrid breath solitary and reeks of tears,
whilst t'eir tangled leaves smell strongly
of vulgarity and hate.
I hate as well-th' foliage amongst 'em,
grotesque and fiendish art whose dreamy visages,
with sticking tails wiping and squeaking
about my eyes, t'ough as I glance through
thy heavens, Lord, gleam like watery roses
before t'eir petals swell, fall, and die.
Oh-so creepy and melancholy t'ese feelings are,
but granted to me I knoweth not how,
as to why allowed not I am,
to becomest a more agreeable mistress
to a human-a human t'at even in solitude
breathes th' same air, and feels all th' same
indolent as me, by th' tedious,
ye' cathartic, morn.
Ah, and shalt I miss my lover once more
And t'is time even more persistently t'an before,
For every single of his breath is my sonnet,
and every word he utters my play.
He is th' salvation, and mere justification
I should not for ever forget,
just like how I should cherish
every sound second; every brand-new day.
My heart is deeply rooted in him;
no matter how defunct-
and defected it may seem,
as well as how futile, as t'is selfish world
hath-with anger and jealousy, deemed.
How I feel envy towards t'ose lucky ones,
with lovers and ringlets about t'eir palms,
so jealous t'at I cringe towards my own fate,
and my inability to escape which.
How unfair t'is world is sometimes-to me!
Ah, but I shalt argue further not;
I shalt make t'is exhaustive story short-
I am like a nasty kid trapped in th' dark,
without knowing in which way I should linger,
'fore making my way out and surpass her.
She is a curse-indeedst, a curse to me,
t'ough at th' moment she is a cure-but to him,
but she is all to forever remain a bad dream,
which he should but better quit,
she shalt subdue my light,
and so cheat him out of his wit.
She is an angel to him at night,
but at noon he sees her not,
she is an elegant, but mischievous auroch
with ineffectual, ye' doll-like and plastic auras
She is deceit, she is litter, she is mockery;
She hath all but an indignant, facial beauty
She does not even hath a life, nor
a journey of destiny
She hath not any trace of warmth, or grace,
and most of th' time, at night
It is her agelessness t'at plays,
she ages but she falsely tricks him-my love,
into her lusted, exasperating eagerness;
t'ough colourless is her soul, now,
from committing too much of yon sin
She still knoweth not of her unkindness,
and thinks t'at everything canst be bought
by beauty, and t'at neither love nor passion
canst afford her any real happiness.
Ah, my love, I am hung about
by t'is prolific suspense;
My heart feels repugnant in its wait;
uncertain about everything thou hath said
As thou wert gentle but mean to me;
despite my kindness, ye' mistaken shortcomings
as I stood by th' railings th' other day, next to thee.
Ah, thee, please hear my apologies!
Oh, thee, my life and my midday sun,
a song t'at I sing-in my bed and on my pillow,
last week, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I am, however, to him forever a childlike prodigy-
shalt never he believeth in my tales,
ah, his faith is not in me,
but I in him.
But foolishly I still love him,
even over t'is overly weighing injustice
on my heart-
ah, still I love him, I love him!
I love him too badly and madly,
I love him too keenly, but wholly passionately.
I love him with all my heart and body!
Oh, Kozarev, I love thee!
I love thee only!
For love hath no more weight, neither justice
within it, if it is given not by thee;
I was born and raised to be thine,
as how thou wert created
and painted and crafted-by God Almighty,
to be mine. As I sit here I canst savagely feel, oh,
how painfully I feel-yon emptiness,
t'is insoluble, inseparable solitude
filled not with thy air, glancing at
th' deafening thunder, rusty rainbows
With thee not by my side.
I fallest asleep, as dusk preaches
and announces its arrival,
But asleep into a burdened nightmare,
too many fears and screams heightened in it,
ah, I am about to fallest from smart rocks
into th' boiling tides of fire beneath my feet.
I wake into th' imprudent smile of th' moon,
and her coquettish hands and feet
t'at conquer th' night so cold.
She is about to scold me away again,
'fore I slap her cheeks and send her back
to sleep, weeping.
I return to my wooden bench, and weep
all over again, as without thee still I am,
barefooted and thinly clothed amongst
th' dull stars at a killing cold night.
Th' rainbow is still th' rainbow,
but it is now filled with horror,
for I am not with thee, Kozarev!
Oh, Kozarev, th' darling of my heart,
th' mere, mere darling of my silent heart,
even th' heavens art still less handsome
t'an thy images-growing and fading
and growing and fading about me
Like a defiant chain, thou art my naughty prince,
but th' most decorous one, indeed;
thou art th' gift t'at I'th so heartily prayed for
and supplicated for-over what I should regard
as th' longest months of my life.
O, Kozarev, thou art my boy,
and which boy in th' world
who does not want to
play hide-and-seek in th' garden-
like we didst, last Monday?
Thou art my poem,
and thus worth all th' stories
within which. Thou art genial,
cautious, and beneficent. Thou art
vital-o, vital to me, my love!
I still blush with madness at th' remembrance
of thy voice, and giggle with joy and tears
over yon picture of thee; I canst ever forget thee
not, and sure as I am, t'at never in my life
I shalt be able to love, nor care for another;
thou art mine, Kozarev, thou art mine!
Thou art mine only, my sweet!
And ah, Kozarev, thou knoweth, my darling,
t'at the rainbow is longer beautiful
tonight; and as haughtiness surfaces again
from th' cynical undergrowth beneath,
I am afraid t'at t'eir fairness and brightness
shalt fade-just like thy love, which was back then
so glad and tender, but gets warmer not;
as we greet every inevitable day
and tend to t'eir needs,
like those obedient clouds
to th' appalling rain, in th' sky.
Ah, but nowest look-look at thee! Thy innocence,
t'at was but so delicate and sweet-
like t'ose bare, ye' green-clustered bushes yonder,
is now in exile, yes, deep exile, my love!
I congratulate thee on which, yes, I do!
I honestly do! For thy joy and gladness
doth mean everything to me,
'ven t'ough it means th' rudest,
th' eeriest of life; t'at I shalt'th ever seen!
But should I do so? T'at is a question
I canst stop questioning myself not.
Should I? Should I let thee go
and t'us myself suffer here
from th' absence
of my own true love-
and any ot'er future miracles
in my life?
I think not!
Ah, and not t'at there'd be
any ot'er mirages in my love,
for all hath been, and shalt always be-
united in thee! O, in thee, only, Kozarev!
For I am certain I love thee,
and so hysterically love thee only,
even amongst th' floods-ah, yes,
t'ese ambiguous piles of flooding pains,
disgusting as blood, but demure,
and clear as my own heartbeat;
I love and want thee only,
as how I dreameth of,
and careth for thee every night,
t'ough just in my dream,
and in life yet not!
Ah, Kozarev, I am thy star,
just like thou art mine-already,
I am fated and bound to thee,
and thou to me.
Thou art not an illusion,
neither a picture of my imagination.
Thou art real, Kozarev,
thou art real-and forever
shalt be real to me;
thou art th' blood,
t'at floweth through my veins,
thou art th' man,
t'at conquereth my heart-and hands,
thou art everything,
thou art more t'an my poem
and my delicate sonnet,
thou art more t'an my life
or my ever dearest friend.
Probably 'tis all neither a poem,
nor a matter of daydreams;
perhaps still I needst to find him,
t'ough it may bringst me anot'er curse,
and throwest me away
and into anot'er gloom.
Ah, Kozarev, thou-who shalt never
be reading t'is poem, much less write one
Unlike thou wert to me back t'en;
Thou art still as comely as th' sun;
Thou art still th' man t'at I want.
Even whenst all my age is done;
and my future days shalt be gone.
She brought me to the devil—
swept the leaves off my brain
& we jumped in the pile.
After rolling a few
we bathed in wine
washing our minds
with chicken soup for the soul.
He appeared in the stars
& we smiled—
absorbing his card
through a lovely osmosis
supposing the black roses
hiding behind his back
were cut by a queen of swords.
We skipped roped
w/ a noose
cuttin’ loose our useless
baggage by tossing them over
a stony cliff.
As the devil lit a cigarette s/he mumbled
something about a conscious shift.
The devil gave us a gift—
It was a skull
inside a prince’s disk
shaped discus change purse.
“I bring you death as a parting
gift to show where to put the change.”
We laughed & giggled
as we played with plasma—
that’s liked fire cubed.
The tenderness of creeper vines
and garden trellises
plucking fruit from branches and
leaping with abandon into the
Dirt and the
Rocks & water—
Idyll & idolatry
fed through a tube.
I am on
Four blocks north of eagles court and
Where is a funny kind of word
won’t you stop to dust your feet off and
hang your jacket on the trees on orchard road—
This is our home now,
I told you with the early morning
dewdrops in my eyes and you
plucked them from the apples
of my cheeks and pocketed them like
Burn yourself onto my skin
brand me like the devil—
I quake not at the
Eruptions of hearts & other
wise blood that pulses through the stones and
trees among which we’ve gotten lost.
Tangled together, you
Weave, serpentine, in & out of
focus as the poison works its way into