15 May 2009

Raymond McDaniel

[from Raymond McDaniel's Murder [A Violet], Coffee House, 2004]


continent's face turned from the sun
posture rotation to her nighttime hours

show me

and indigo the killer steps barefoot and backwards to the abbey wall
walks one foot behind the other
counters corners and breech

four-cornered fortification around the abbess

whose gaze never slips from indigo incapable of misstep or pause
lifting her foot from the scorpion unseen yet spared

(proffer poison
onyx armament and arch)

it is very beautiful

the penitent nods

hastens her heel to the scorpion's body:


describes the action of a wheel

Once when I was a child I played in an empty barrel
the satisfaction

not the filth or that it was forbidden
but the sensation

of scampering along the walls of the barrel --
knowing my weight

would roll the barrel over as I climbed --
that to feel

as if I were scaling the interior wall would last
only so long

as I stopped short, lest the barrel tumble with my weight --
I mention this because

she keeps dreaming of a cliff so high and so sheer
that to scale it

she must eat into the rock with her fingers --
but in the dream

the higher she climbs the more manageable the angle
becomes, until the cliff

is flat, until she could stand upright and walk it clean --
yet as she walks

the wall continues to rotate, until the stone is heaven
bearing down

and her back is to the upended vault of the moon.
In the dream she never

falls, but just continues upward, until up is even,
up is down and

then up again, sky slowly spun empty and filled.
I am trying to tell you something

about this woman -- who has asked me to explain
how, if the world

is on a wheel, she can ever learn
to fall.

the academy

appearing initially by twos or threes
to seduce with service or satin

janissaries of the academy appear

as amber as heat leonine
from alien climates through which
the plainly simple simply step:

to the academy and companionship

east of warp wave and burgundy ocean

west of cloud wall artificed
and engineered into pillar and fortification

wall as daily lesson and martial memory

embedded as graduate and assassin

so that this along with other worlds entire
becomes what I did before I came here

Buy Raymond McDaniel's book @ SPD or Amazon

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