Sunday, April 29, 2012

Roberto Tejada, from Gift & Verdict

Not a word of my surrounding not a half-whispered
go to catch the rattled ought of a third concurrent

universe unlatched the more you wait, chalk drawn
thick of old around the marred bodies left

by the citizen squads our authorities facilitate, fail
to prosecute, guilt being therefore—quote/unquote

or so the papers—a ‘willful negligence,’ a ‘scathing
complicity’ in the bloodlust rife until ‘wolves

lower’ incite the end of illness, until the highland
collide of cricket jaguar issue running water

when physical comfort, when bodily prowess
and sovereign shape are rendered command

over the meaning of a nimbus once in sprigs
of goldenrod or Indian paintbrush, chalice

owing to rock crystal and featherwork, ivory!
carved in supple limbs, remote gazes and crusty

wounds, gold-leaf reredos in bellows pyramidal
from an organ pipe: an opulence wrought from

the nightmare of native oblation, of X-ian zeal
waged on local hands in effigies, Saint James

the Greater made in Goa and the Philippines,
or Rose of Lima, in a ministry of Indians

and slaves fallen victim to epidemic, heroically
to God and in penitential practice so extravagant

—cat claws and fish bones across her wasted
flesh—as to be the subject of ecclesiastic inquiry

into questions of faith, soundness of mind
stretched the length and breadth of his midrib

and torso in taut spasms, teeth clenched and lips
in a slather of animal darkness in time spent under

thickets, our twin intelligence a forearm and fist
in fast strokes around gleam and edge, tips

wet with each other, then deeper, to a clump
of hair and fingers guiding the back of his

head, mouth over gloss and curvature, blade
inextinguishable when too-slow a swelter released

in sounds of who, whose ah spread soaked along
his back and thighs rubbed sleek across

the wonder imperfections of form, lips abruptly
pursed to each moan pillowed by the sudden

hush of skin a spirograph, his dark upper
eyelids and lashes down his own limbs

now in aftermath-order and lucible enormity

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