Poetry | September 01, 2010

Featuring the poems:

  • Corrida de Toros (featured as Poem of the Week, Jan. 4, 2011)
  • Fig
  • After the Twentieth Century
  • Lacan at the Carousel
  • I Want You Dangerously
  • Revolution


Corrida de Toros

From earth, each star

is a likeness of the other, which is why divination

is impossible — the constellations are not Braille, but piercings,

wounds in the neck of a bull.


Perhaps the sky is a matador’s scarlet.

Or, no — perhaps the sky is the stadium in which we sit, watching

the bull, the banderilleros stabbing his neck, the way he falters,

throws his head wildly, his yellow eyes trying to focus

on the source of pain–


The men are drinking from leather flasks of wine and the women

avert their eyes, or a few young men avert their eyes

and some young women lean toward the scene so far forward it seems

they’ll fall out of the sky


toward the earth again, where their bodies will be trampled

or swell with children. The mothers fret at this,

their fingers drawing near the frayed ends of their daughters’ hair

as if their children were fabrics they could weave

without touching. Everyone is yelling kill the bull,


except those who murmur I want to die

into their palms, into the palms of their neighbors

who turn back to their wine, or stand and begin to weep.

The bull staggers and we swarm into the arena


to drive steel points trussed with ribbon

into his crest, his throat, his knees — until the matador

drops his sword, sprawls in the dust. Night shifts around us,

mud-dark and furious — clouds like white foam in the mouth

of the sky, and we stare a long while


at the scene we rendered, trying to recall

how we arrived. Slowly, the curved horn of the moon

rises. Lament settles in the stadium tiers.

Some in the crowd begin to chant there is no balm

to assuage the mark of the body.


Others sing there is no star that leads us away from ourselves.

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