Robert Kelly

that’s a snow word a loaded word
gone west in our sinister acropolis
(in shadow of Ionic columns
rubbed her back on a pilaster)
because it is always appropriate
to walk slowly around a thing
holding a twig of pear tree in your fingers
lightly as if you’d gone to dowse
the intentions of the Coming Beast
(roll over, you’re snoring)
I need my coffee, religion
is too far from here in human weather
(teeth of ancient rhetoric, zeugma thee
with me or is it a much bigger bird
strouthos to hoist thy chariot to me)
pelt of a virgin, torque of a Celt
(what is gold? answer at the back of the book)
in fact love is exactly like algebra
but I can’t at the moment say why can you
liberty has something to do with it, solving
for two unknowns, but why in Arabic?
Children wait for politics to be over
have you noticed all the naked dancers
who celebrate city ceremonies in the clouds
how they cavort solemnly as liturgy
talking only with their moving limbs or
scordatura of wind chittering oak trees brown
those corpse leaves left to mock our summer
(o come to me again this time I won’t
or let you go, take off your clothes
there are so many books to read)
aggressors natural this climate got to eat
nobody ever counts the flowers in the vase
or if they do don’t bother with the petals so
we are surrounded by an innumerate beauty
(earth has fingers we touch no skin but our own)
my prize icicle is four feet long
in polished silver card-case see the lily reflect
last night’s music unheard now re-echoes
(a property of morning like stubble on my chin)
touch me I am a foreigner hear me awake
do people live in houses for wrong reasons?
is there a climate where Cleopatra’s still alive
still young audacious and skilled in chemistry
linguistics she with the great pharmakon
she who was the last to read the stones?
(listen harder if you crave her attention)
the birds are weary with their own clamor
like playing children waiting for nightfall
voice of the mothers bidding them come home
away from the contingencies of other people
(no one can suffer like a child don’t you remember?)
roll over and talk to me at last or is all this
just a one-night stand but the night never ended?


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