Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Who Wrote The Book of Love? (Dec. 28, 2004)

“Here, here,” she whispered low, “here on my mouth
The swallow, Love, hath found his haunted South.”

-- Fiona Macleod, from “The Love-Kiss of Dermid and Grainne”

What a library, what a boneyard,
what a daunting reliquary of
love’s fallen saints have
assembled here upon
the back of the whale
who is also my unfreighting
for this next, still-latent,
wilding blue day! Just who
wrote the Book of Love
while I careered careening
at its hinged door, desperate
to both gain the sanctum
of as well remit its lascivious
warmth which tides
a thousand leagues below
all mouths? Ah the incessant
scribe of that dread south
with his scaly, fishlike pen,
composing polyphones of
scripture upon the
backs of brutal waves!
I recall that bad winter
a generation gone
when I poured booze
like freezing rain
upon my broken heart,
breaking it worse into
a cruel shatter of
mannish shards, glints
of ice, of hot abyss
which lured a tribe of
women to my bed
to sup the dregs
from a devilish
chalice. What words,
what wild exchanges
transpired there between
the underwateriest waves
of bad love? I don’t recall,
I was drunk and bleeding
from the thousand holes
I’d harpooned in my soul,
desperate to cauterize
the mess between whatever
woman’s breasts I could
release in the furthest
wasteland of that night,
my prone shape the
howling hollow acre
between those waves
a woman prays to wed.
That awful majescule
was writ those nights
in a madman’s bellicose
tongue, unharnessed,
unequivocal, a jabber
translating passion into
spermy schools of
of blinded fish. Love, what
an infernal pen you wielded
in my groping hand, the words
like horned cudgels
pounding shores so cliffed
no man could hope
to breach, much less sound.
The songs of angels
are distilled from such abyss,
their blue arias woven
from frantic black wings.
The Book of Love is
a weighty one, and sure
to drown that ship
which tries to freight
more than a page, two fins,
three words further south
than her softest mouth
that smiled but never
said a thing, much less
my name, while leaving
me for good. Not every
chapter since has been
so dark or riven -- most
actually have been good,
even merry -- but the
weight and depth of
the manuscript was
born in the hairy wood
of my most errant nights,
the sweetness of
whatever cream I cull
poured directly from
that older scream
that lingered in the
still, Siberian night
at the bottom of all seas
where I roamed and
cried your name
inside so many women’s
bodies, my voice
a Borealis -- the
greeny choler of the
hurtful scholar writing
far below the page I
dare to write,
rider of the rogue wave
which comes from nowhere
and knows only the
sound of smashing shores,
the recede at last to you.


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