William Holbrook The 2River View, 5.2 (Winter 2001)

Above the Canals de Provence

Amidst the lustful fires he walks; his feet become like bronze,
His knees and thighs like silver; and his breast and head like gold.

William Blake


I had told him of the matter in between the stars,
That if there were enough of it, the Universe would collapse.

He asked me without guile whether this was bad or good,
I told him that it just was; just as a tree was also.

This reminded me of the grand impasse, the great misunderstanding
Between Man and Liberty; the problem of the one very hungry God.


Winter on the beach, the sky is almost big,
The palm trees and the lighthouse orange the clouds.

The sky that tempts the light off the bay 'til evening,
Sounds of children on the sand, stoked with ice cream.

Through the haze of cold trees and roses all is wan,
All is wannabee, wants to be until the mauve turns blue.


There is a red tip on the gray piece under the wing.
This will do for now, though there is no word for it.

Does the unnamed object exist. There is a knife wound
In the thigh; it hurts, he limps, freshly bandaged.

When you love with a violent passion, all else
You love with a cold flame that sears the flesh.


My love for snow shows how creating systems of measurement
Can bring stubborn facts into being and then erase them.

City streams, the fluxes of senses and their convergence.
Her sighs, even, were engorged and glowing as they swayed.

They were in the same place, stalking, each connected
To another, so that all but strained intercourse was futile.


Meaning streams through the ways of webs; read aloud
Find that he was surely right, exposing the sliced flesh.

The rubbing of the fingers, the thumb and first finger.
The sign of the transaction agreed upon by nod of head.

The sky was so leaden and so gray; I looked and looked,
But could not find the author anywhere, long out of print.


That in built mechanism in the brain that knows
Long before; that moves blood; that tightens tendons.

You see, I had paid her to play in Barcelona that weekend,
Invested in her inaccessibility except for the transpiring.

The world is far emptier than we thought, far emptier
Even than the red eyed blackbird could readily imagine.


I touched her just once, to make very sure that I was real,
Then shrank the size of the print, to fit us both on the page.

Even then I could see the tops of their heads, guess the down,
The loose limbs cruising by themselves along the Canebiere.

The gallery of the imbeciles threatened again, so I wanted
Then to go down to the beach and feel the cold darkening air.


She is asleep now. I readily agreed that the best part
Was the climbing of the stairs, the feel of the metal

Railing, the soft warm wood under foot, the echoing hall,
The smell of disinfectant and of polish, the roughness

Of the obsession, addiction, the slave who tied me, forced me
Compelled me to admit the affectionate gesture of the matter.


Dry, dry heaves; look, look, over your shoulder. Admit
That you like your rough trade lucid, your lucidity very rough.

It is like this, it is the Sunday and it knows.
Omar the generous, the other, smiles with pride.

The genius is in his white hat, the smile, no smirk, why
Even the animals of night have it all figured out.


Your whole life is but a few leaves, but that`s OK.
It is a start. Now I remember almost nothing of the rest.

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