22 December 2006

Laurence Lieberman

[from Laurence Lieberman, Carib’s Leap: new and selected poems of the Caribbean, 2005]

Skin Song

I cannot be a fish     sure of failure, I will try
no risk, no loss

the flippers tell my feet     flesh, be rubber
you must not bend or kick     to be
moved, lie still     to be held
let go

the mask instructs my face
mouth, stay shut     the Other
opens     be slow, nose
you will breathe
easy     eyes
do not be first, come
after     late, you will see more

Water commands:

body, be light     the will
is heaviness     ignorance
has no weight     know
nothing     give everything away     cast off
self to the deep     shed weight
lightness     grows
full     body, be light

be white, blood     be
without color     lose your red
grow lighter than water
thinner     blood, be white
skin, be empty     sleep
you will dream

a motion not your own     a motion
that is given     give
up, touch     be taken     emptiness
lifts     skin, be empty

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