On Writer's Block


Fear is the only punctuation at
The End.
Not a footnote, bibliographical,  
Nor a sidenote containing otherwise forgotten
Documentation: the aureole
Of snow upon the streetlight, say, or
Your beard against my tongue, the echo of sleet.
Unfortunately, there is no semi-colon
Planted in confidence
Of a noun-verb alliance to follow, em dash,
I should be so fortunate again, spinning out
The luxury of superfluous punctuation,
Promises of a line to come. 

Not a verse break,
Nor a line break.
Without a voice
I do not remember your scent
Or the placement of hairs along your wrist.
It is perilous to re-imagine
Your fierce profile, your fingers closing
My coat, the question of
Ellipses are a drain on my pride
And hunger no longer infuses
My pentameter.

Not a half-moon reminder to breathe,
Nor the comma serial,
Nor the comma biting hard
On the next clause,
Nor the comma incorrect,
Nor the one that is not necessary
Before the word “and.”
There is no And.

She warned me about the full stop.
Sixty years after the fire,
I made cider from her words.
My girl fingers, petal nails,
Adjusted the microphone.
One hundred and eight candles
Waxed unlit beside us
And flamenco frosting bled into
White, white cake no one will eat.
She remembered buggy-rides, and the drying
Sheds at Floating Feather,
The last stop on the street car line of 1910,
Fat blue plums, lying in their own sinking silver patina,
Waiting to be dry.
And in the year she turned 50,
A Valentine’s Day Fire consumed Mrs. Goiccochea’s
Her boarding-house burned to the ground and
Nothing, she said, nothing,
Not one thing
Came afterwards.
Sixty years without
Additional punctuation.

The vodka has lost
That slow-freeze lust.
Another young girl has given me
Exotic tea with orders
Scrawled hot in blue ink that flows
From her fingers like tomorrows:
"Do not hoard. I will give you more."
I am afraid. The tea pot has gone cold.
Gaius Valerius Catullus and I
Are empty of kisses
And the sands of Libya remain.
Is this the last full stop?
I cannot say.
I cannot say. 

Nadeshda -- A Found Poem

Swan Songs