From “Azulejos; or, The Blue Far”
The fact is that I’d rather not mess around with cow’s milk, but it doesn’t
Solve the problem. Something is killing me. And I am killing something.
Even if it is all in our minds. That’s where it begins and ends. No one –
Although you wanted to do so – can tell me otherwise. S&H greenpoints,
Microgreens, “organics”: the supermarket makes all three a metaphysics.
The olive tree: it’s aboveground. We can all see
Its beauty, its stateliness, unmoved by the wind.
Tree, tree, you who give us everything, political,
Ignored like any inheritance obfuscated in guilt-
Mourning: root and trunk, healing fruit and leaf.
Haaaoooi, haaaoooi. Haaoooi. Hoo.
It’s essential to thrive sans sleepless
Nights, after which I can’t live safe.
That is why stimulants are pending;
Sugars are so implacable and mean.
They don’t allow you to take your time.
In fact, time vouchsafes itself to special
Effects – a gold standard of materialism
Made to order. I hate that you convince
Yourself otherwise, see it as your move.
Greens help nurture the blood environment Antoine Béchamp
Was perhaps the first to recognize as the terrain. He countered
Pasteur, didn’t accept germ theory, rather eternal microzymas:
Old dust to dust transforming sights we’ve come to recognize;
We do ourselves in over and against an image of who we were.
Day into night so blithely: actually everyone’s doing it – that is, in a city
It’s not so hard, in fact, to interfere with circadian rhythms, our ultradian
Cyclings. Does it really matter what can be tested? We’ve lost our ability
To glean from “metaphor,” from a seasonal, the communal or indigenous,
Earth dependence. An unacknowledged holocaust overtakes her meridian.
The exemplary shaman in the East Village, with his fountain
Supported by a copper basin dotted in salient minerals, does
A reading of my vital signs by touch, the physical map, cues
All over the place: my hologram of unconscious states. I can
No longer ignore his warning about books, that I will drown.
The Jubbs insisted on upstream cleansing – namely, the foundation
Of excellent health is the elimination of phenomena from the colon,
Gallbladder, and liver: stones, debris, gunk. How can I find a poem
Redeeming me from stuff? It might be the saving grace: “If you are
Going to keep so many books, at least get them out of the bedroom!”
(I have no way of knowing.) Especially, as often is the case,
With the refusals: where is that can of spinach that pops out
Of its own accord? Popeye, my original mumblecore auteur
And your jackhammer forearms: you’re lost forever. As per
Olive Oyl . . . raw foodists’ dipsy-doodles, running in place.
What do I want to watch: The L Word, L.A. Law, or Look-a-Like?
“What will your life look like in 5, 10, or 20 years . . . you setting
The stage for a fulfilled and vibrant life? It’s never too late to dis-
Cover the profound and healing benefits of yoga . . . ” I’m getting
Back to a body language that yokes the boons of Word to practice.
So this is the Wilderness of Zin,
The place I’m being unliving in.
I’ve been a pawn – as are we all –
Incognizant of desert vs. seeded
Land. Will I will as I’m heeded?
I feel oppressed by my own biochemistry: elements . . .
It’s getting so difficult to feel as if one were assured
The good when “dozens of long-lasting synthetic[s] . . .
DDT, plasticizers, dioxins, benzene-related solvents . . .
Are foud [sic] in tissues of all living things on Earth.”
Peas and pansies in my salad bowl.
Where is a food that is not in vain?
Herbs’ medicine: medicine is food.
Like castanets, you lack, lack, lack,
Flooring death, whose bell will toll.
High on Cacao
I have to cry for my fate,
Not yours – and that’s why
We’re at odds – because
I have betrayed me. Until I
Down the street where you lived
One more . . . time – just in time –
I should have known. There will never be
Another you. So many places
To go to, see, people to meet
(If I am complete, if I can commit),
Drugs to refuse, out of a bad habit, what on
I think I will always want to commit
Suicide if I don’t turn the tide.
Wearing the right shoe on the left foot
Is disadvantageous. Do I imagine death
To be release? Not really.
This is your last chance.
Morally dilemmaed, counterfeit in breeches . . .
The penumbra on an easy chair
Long ago . . . oneiric . . .
A staple of romance. Last call. Last
River of doubt, last mile o’ trouble.
One can feel the pain: so many histories,
So many veins, arteries stiffened
With poisons – pointless ridicule,
Transparent desiccation. Until we mouth
The words Thou shall not kill as if
There was something to think about.
A silent meditation when the everyday
Is vagary: clean without a clearing.
A wonderment: a wandering. An abandonment, a betrayal. It’s not you, it’s not you.
It’s not you. No. It’s sugar. It’s the body’s incapacity to use this frequency, to make
Something of it. In other words, I feel a loss: my muscles are spastic. It’s the result
Of eating many fruits after several days without them – alkaline. I wanted to know
What it would feel like again to taste a beloved summer favorite and for my answer
I see that my sleep would betray me, filling me with confusion, brain extraordinaire:
A fallacy. A fallacy of any kind of envy – as if somebody were there. Not I, not me.
(I won’t grow up . . . so there!) So there I’ll be until I confound an exquisite corpse.
I am so unhappy to be in pain. My toes buckling, feeling I might show contortionist
Sensibilities of which I hadn’t an inkling . . . despite my honorific Bridgeport birth.
Would Barnum have come running? Do I know what to do? Say a prayer to creator
Of ducts and tubes (nekavim, נקבים) because a physics-metaphysics of conducting
Is never misbegotten. And if I’m forgetting Jerusalem my right hand will domineer
Its cunning – its cul-de-sac will marry the sand in a wave of mourning glory. Know.
I did not go to school.
I went to Dr. David Jubb’s academy of gallstone removal.
I do not want approval.
I want to live another day apart from liver detox protocol.
The Order of the Trees
I want a pear
I want a pear
If I don’t have a pear
How will I get from here to there?
I want a pear and a date. I want a pear and a date.
Your brain is lacking in serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Because you have had another kind of date, and sleep
Belies your name. Sugars, sugars, sugars, simple, not
Complex, is the answer. Fruits, fruits, fruits of trees.
It’s all a lie
It’s all a lie
How can it be a lie
To say what I mean when I say I die?
I want to get my blood pH back to alkalinity. Sweet.
Not acidic – I can’t tolerate this constancy of burning
Flesh, and no object in sight. Have you a mind for it?
And to be true to this saga of my own heretofore, will
Diplomacy, which I learned being human, pencil in?
Something spleeny has come back to life then,
And I’m not of a mind to make up differences
Between medieval or early conceptualization
Of the maroon oval ductless organ and a faux
Science as it’s observed by American faithful.
Melancholy, ressentiment, caprice, and whim:
All the political instincts of modernity cycled
Through the highly vascular altar of sacrifice.
In with dead red cells / out with lymphocytes.
You can start from various points: impulse vs.
Malice, envy and a spur of the moment. TCM
Might be considered pseudoscience by some,
But zang and fu, yin and yang enter a lexicon
When more than the winds of change work us.
I was thinking of the actions of the yetzer hara,
The so-called evil inclination – the imaginary,
Often of late coming across a new gay science
Of will and faith. I realized yesterday living in
My laborious uprising of desire I would never,
May never again know whose eyes laugh, dare
Me – inciting excursus of the soul to transcend
Me. If the spleen is yi, that is, intelligence, and
Its partnered fu organ is the stomach – what am
I to make of the bitterness you used to liberate
Pleasure? How do I sit, pacifist, as not to envy
Enough to be jealous of life? Startling wrong –
Brazen wisdom has its commonplaces infiltrate
Some ritual angst or other unnatured from love.
Phytotraces Beggar Prescription
Could it be that I need this vigilance,
These drugs now (cacao nut, seed):
The blood in my veins boiling, like
Some prizing pirate’s stupendous
Conquest upon high seas, one-eyed,
Mustachioed, limping on a peg leg?
Hoi, like they say in Genesis. Ahoy.
I’m an island unto myself, satisfied
With nothing better than my poison.
“Kissed the girls and made them cry”
Or words to that effect; I want to die.
I’m not destined to be an addict, yet
I want to remember my faults, find
Tenor in my magnificence, crush my
Solitude of child’s bannister: “Toorah
Loorah loorah . . . now, don’t you cry.”
Woe the familiar, whoa, now, time-out-
Of-time film on the cutting room floor,
Silhouette cutout in the barroom boards,
Out on the bathroom floor. Who done it?
As I say, these phytotraces roil blood.
Verily, they beggar prescription. All in all
(What the hey) to be clear-eyed, game
Witted, entitles me to nothing more
Than seaweed simile and metaphor,
Allusion, counterfactual pun: poets lie.
Sty in your eye. You see it. Now you
Don’t. I wager your antique chamber pot
That this House of Design – proper –
Will walk the gangplank of Oedipus
Before the night is over. (Before night . . . )
What I’m saying is that I’m done for.
The Eyes Have It
I’ve just been to an iridologist.
She tells me my adrenals are stressed.
My right thyroid isn’t working.
I bought some herbal supplements.
I have been tired . . . for so long.
And I stay up late so that I can write.
I have to do things in broad daylight
That I’ve kept for the night lusters.
There has been a muse . . . and
I feel there’s been an injustice.
The awful questions arise
Because you have gone against
Your better judgment, yourself
A sacrifice for the obloquy
Of what you call kith and kin.
Hayu laylot, the times of our
Lives: time + time = hymn.
And you may not remember
What you were called upon
To remember. And you may
Envy any moment of many
Other lives. And list mistakes
Effortlessly, like an old song.
But if I hear your word apple
Timeless countertime after
I am coaxed to know you, to
Know your ablutions, aloe, sun,
Weddings excel at binding
Me to my own deviled anomie.
That is their design: to use up
One living to manure the new.
What you do claim to be true
About hiddenness and love
Is your conflation of oxytocin
And OxyContin: your murder
And mother beside you alone.
How the redbreast selvages.
Your message to me of kept
Admits captive, brine, foreign.
Susan Pensak lives and works in New York. Her poems, translations, and essays have been published in journals, books, and anthologies and translated into Hebrew and Portuguese, recently appearing in two freely distributed chapbooks in Lisbon, Frankincense and Myrrh/Olíbano e Mirra and "Denso com Música Ancestral": Ditos/Ética de Pizarnik.