Home Bitter Poems Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus
Transit of Venus

In smoked glass
on a broken hill
above Matavie Bay
we watched that shade
that silhouette
slide by
the crooked mill
the wind
that tossed our clothes
outside the
graveyard gate
 A veteran of what
you said
Of which
And while I walked
beside myself
I heard a child
recite your name

 Gentle
as a dove
the whirring
movement
tells how long
it took for Venus
with her blistered
palms
and bunting
to climb
the stockade fence
The insect sound
To reach the top

 Six you said
I always said 
that all of all
went on and on
no stop
since I was five

 I pause to recollect
the last thing lost
we left behind
A book closed
on a note
I never read
nor will
next to the sun itself
which can only be fathomed
by the blind
when each
with his tap-tap tapping stick
meets the other
twixt warm light
and shadowed 
sidewalk stone

 And you
asked
why my hand
is ever closed
What do you reckon
you’ll lose
you said
if you release
your grip

 I made no answer then
can make no answer now
always holding
a trump
never in play

 It’s the plain truth
Your hair chopped off
like a china doll
fallen into
the wrong hands
Sprawled
on the nursery
floor

 The clock stops
a lever drops
It’s only the
razzmatazz of
architecture
distracts us
from the blank
mechanics
of the hall

 A man who mutters to himself
is not to be trusted with words
A man in a cage gets to choose
his own freedom

 This is the true scale
of the universe
Venus dark
against the sun
A twin to earth
Hesperus and Phosphorus
her lifting veil
dancing
over mapless oceans
I’ll be crossing one tonight
from left to right
aligned with you
your bright 
skin
flashing
in the deep

 What began 
as a clean sheet
is about to reveal
a dirty secret

 It looks so much
like snow
drifted
under a door
the clouds down there
shrouded so cold 
on the face
of the deep

 The ox is slow
but the earth can wait
Who would be thus cruel
as ask Hyperion
to plow the nebulous
to set the sun
on fire
We have to cut the night
in two
slip Judith
in the tent
with a blade
keen
as thought
to spill the tyrant
on the hour
behead the mystic ignorance
The poor fool
nodding on his knoll
roped or hammered there
depending on
your fancy
Out to dry
at all events
sagging
on his wretched tree
We’ll have
no second coming 
here
Let him break
their whorish hearts
I say
and retire
from the world
and trouble us
no more

 I have my grief
and do not set it
on celestial thrones
I visit homes
of the quick
and take my leave
of windows after dark
I watched my mother die
her slow old bones 
fall into place
while I walked
on the waters
of a creek
and picked up holy stones
You saw
her narrow bed
the willows
all along
the side
and now
you scuttle
on the ocean floor
no more disturbed
than the rippled sand
itself or
the lightness
of this day
that glances on
the hidden face
of Venus
so pitiless and gay

 All in transit
always