The Suitor


We fly through these streets
as though the snow bid us on
deeper into its white and pure

And now and then it touches you,
and you look away.
Do you sense the ruthlessness
of my coarse blood?

On your skin like porcelain,
on which the snow leaves no imprint,
your family has placed
a veneer of dazzling centuries,

and with boreal opulence,
your silence communicates
the burden of their dreams,
which were never yours.

You press yourself tighter to me
so as not to see where it has
finally cracked,
and in your sudden lips
I taste the young and violent
spring blossoms.

Do you now see what passes
at the open window of our swift rickshaw?
A whirling city already modern
and confident in its horrors.

And only now and then the
faint perfume of that other
lost world, from which you came.

I will be the end of your illustrious line.
I relish this,
the way, without even knowing it,
you sink into my arms like a beautiful ruin,
the way I have attained this sentence
over your young life.

The Wires

I do not know how the others can take it.
Every day, the sky that pretends to return,
the awful houses that hurl deathly flowers to the pavement,
the things that outlive us,

the poles and the wires that were already here long before us,
that glower on every street corner
like grandfathers disapproving of our fashion.

I do not know how they put up with
smiles on girls, dynasties of red lipstick sinking beneath parking lots,
rusted trolleys silently leading tramps
down dingy lanes that want only to die from an assault of lice,

the brains of rats that go off like grenades in fashionable cafes,
and of course the birds,
the pigeons that reek of ammonia, watching us,
while we pretend not to notice an offspring of dust
that collects behind our genitals and ruins our best laid plans.

We, who pretend to know equations of infinity,
perfect roses, poems of love and heroic laughter.
But the heart of the matter is this:
we live in the worn-out grooves that dead tycoons,

hideous philanthropists, and insects of lust once left for us.
There are dogs that play on a wreckage of beach
with a new owner every day.
There are couples that follow each other off the same old piers,
into the same green sea, that is neither sad nor alive,

and a sky that returns and returns and returns.
I do not know how the others tolerate
these corners piled with assassinated leaves.


Sand and mud,

sea water and volcanic ash

have claimed my streets

and my woman.

Even in her cleanest places

pips of sand invade,

and I must run

a fine toothed comb

across her vulva,

across her armpit.

City of sand

tears at my soles when I walk,

and the dirt and the chairs

and the billboards

of the young women

cling to me

where my hair once was.

Monstrous boys approach me,

dripping with water.

The water goes to the earth

in heavy clots

and leaves behind a face

of pumice.

I look away

and women heave past me,

smeared with makeup,

which leeches and

infects my city.

And they’re too young to be dead,

but the sand and the rust,

the loneliness of space

has stuck in their pores

and they’re old

and terrified at twenty one.

Take my city

to the dry cleaners.

Wash it, press it, fumigate it,

until there’s only

the floating fluff

and the white faces

of the bakers

in the pure fragrant morning.

Take my woman

to the beauty parlor,

tie her up, powder her,

make sure she

never grows old.

This sand and volcanic ash

clings to me,

and washes me for death.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014