HONEY IN TEA (SUNSET)
for/after Carter Tanton
A gate skirts what’s unlatched in us, honeyed static.
If it’s not ruined, ruin it thusly. Then go through it.
Honey in tea.
The room switches pigments.
Drug lust or what absence does to this crevice.
Translucence, ruefully making us. That we think the sun dumb
because it can make us so is part of our predicament.
You begin in lead. You end in lead.
One hand flutters the other holds
That spring, I read The Romance of American Communism. The party was not communism, say many of the interviewees. But there was what they shared which was purpose. Truth is on the side of death, wrote Simone Weil. I mourn because instead of politics, I disintegrate into individuals I delegate to summon pieces of my northernmost self. I watch sugar dissolve in hot water and I think of the communists. I am around the age Simone Weil was when she died. The former party members that Vivian Gornick interviewed slid below the horizon of America. Some went into industry. Still others went underground. Many of them struggled with their inner lives but understood keenly social responsibility. I feel both/all liquifying. Sugar and lead. Lead is a heavy metal and a poor metal. Druggy summer almost-dusk sun’s made its decision.
Last autumn in Akureyri, Iceland’s northernmost city, I got sick. Near the end, yellow bile landed on the landscape as mountains rose all around me, breathtaking. The last pool of my illness disintegrated into the frostbitten ground. Splattered black boots. My hair was a bottle blonde that I could see from the corners of my eyes as I crouched over the cold grass shaking fake sun. A decade prior, I was in Iceland with a different lover, my hair a different color. I was not sick. I was sick.
On the plane from Reykjavik to Philadelphia, I ate chocolate in small slices, felt fatigue near to love, death, and/or truth. I sat still for 5+ hours in airborne peace. I recognized it as the limpidity of disintegration.
I go there. I cannot. I go there. I cannot.
When I arrived at the gate, Bill Clinton was in line to board a flight smiling dumbly into iPhones. Muted carpet and wafts of airport food. Enervated and relaxed, I wore a black turtleneck and trench coat. M observed how only two days of sickness made me look frail, fleshless and that this was proof of my being generally too thin. Too much, not enough. I ate three bites of a plain croissant and let the buttery residue smooth my fingers. I tiptoed through the terminal, rough carpet beneath my boots barely giving. I suspect what Marguerite Duras said about men hating women who write has to do with divulgence. I watch myself give everything and nothing at all.
Simone Weil’s de
Lisping into sunset
As it/I melt(s)
Look what the body can do. Look what she does and be quiet. Then wrap her in gauze and send her, finished idling, to the place of rest where the world won’t get eaten. If you want to eat it, Simone Weil said, it’s not beauty. I am easily fooled because I mistake hunger for love but neither is distance love. Dirty glitter stuck to the ground on New Year’s Day in the West Village. Is austerity a lack of bravery? If smooth clumps of me come apart in hot water, easy honey in tea, I lose. The setting sun is beautiful because of loss, according to Artaud. If I identify with the glitter. If I should eat what I love. If I should abstain. If I should use the wide white screen as a mirror. If I should find romance in static. If I should decline gracefully. If I should stir a virtue in you.
I am sometimes holy. In Iceland, the ground was frost-shriveled. Textures left me and entered the landscape unholily. Where did the decade go? Slid below a horizon again and again then rose, anaphora, into bodies. Communion wafer dissolving on my tongue as I cross myself as I eye someone a few pews over, one day in the years between Iceland trips. I wrote this. Keeping rigorously to the point is a way to lie. I yawn and hear him shift his weight in the chair. Somewhere. Honey in tea mumming an iteration of love I can feel, repeated to excision, bliss, horizon, bye.
no souvenirs none
I am supposed to be in France I am in Pennsylvania
there goes mountain
honey in tea
orange and pink Dunkin Donuts sign falling fast with the sun
behind neon easily slides
alongside the simple exacting charm of a chest of draws, I be
triviality of the kind of travel I did honey in tea
northern city calling my gaze thither
before honey in tea disintegrating if you only knew
I walk to the top of the hill while my companion sleeps
honey in tea
name the ambient violence that doesn’t cut
but makes whatever’s in its air a lozenge
quiet fervency of a mouth honey in tea
echo swoop mouthing an echo
I miss the northern lights and the sunset
while I wish he/I was more of a creature
liquidity disintegration loop
do you see and/or smell and/or hear
bottom of an atmosphere
in the bodega near the end
then twinned in here’s greyer air
Simone or Saturn or Akureyri
abnegation honey in tea unmusically
present stirring a memory
spoon scraping mug to shortwave
along the edges of a winter
almost dissolved/born a love