A blog for the writing of Elijah Teitelbaum (And a bit of music, and maybe some pictures as well) This is life. In more words.
If you would like your comments/questions to be answered privately, please let me know; otherwise I will be posting them here on the blog.
Said the scorpion to the frog:
“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”
Lo! My little longing skips,
Leaping, rolling, ruckussed lips
Tangressed, tinctured, tickled blue
‘Till rain does fall, and fall anew.
And then myself, with little sips,
The little drips and dips and long
Lovely little sups: I strip
The sun and starlet skin, begin,
And am as a cloud if clouds were crue,
Abstracted, splintered, sickly dew
Churning, climbing, grotesque and grand,
Fluttering as flocks across the land.
Deep in darks, pulled thickly through,
The dense dusk-break of crumbled sky
In quivers of light which caw and coo
But never once do tell a lie.
No, they never tell a lie.
A cloud! A crim, cackling thing!
And swiftly swerving drunken-sing
Myself into the sky. My mind into the spheres,
The stars in buckets poured, though tears
Streaked you – shushlet – amidst the sting
Of long bird-song, seeping slowly,
Slowly, until tender tips of your wings
Were ashen and aching, already ageing,
And my toothsome maw was agape at your fears.
But not yet, my hushling thrush, for years
Pass slowly, slowly, and the light falls dimly,
Rises warm, but weak, and grand but grimly,
And holds tightly dear its ugly smears.
Young yimpled doves, know me!
Know me as you know the wind that veers,
That bursts, fast and freckled and free,
As a fistful of sky through a burning tree.
So piece me pretty, puckered pet,
I’m longing for a tête-à-tête,
To seize that slim and supple sky
Which leaks and limpers by-the-by
Like soft rain, or silken sets
Of starlets streaming their buckle and hiss
With every kiss, with swip and sweat,
But have no clue, no clue at all;
I fear my love is awry.
It burns and bursts and blazes high
But breaks and blots my snowy sheets
With cut cries, skippled sweet
Sobs which wash, wane, and die.
And yet, with me, I must love so:
Longing for the pale passing sky,
Leaving flowers strewn which senselessly grow,
Taking flowers which bloom but never know.
Oh dear, my darling blue-born love, come now
And dwell deep in myself, my love, come now,
So that you may be me, my love; how thin
That line between myself and the wide sky.
There was once here a face, afraid, eyes wide
And green, teeth tip’d and white, lips shining rose
In folds that lay softly upon the night.
Be not that face, my blue-born love, come now
And dwell. This is my flesh; this is my mind.
Come unto me, let us burn long as though
We are set to consume all things we touch.
Myself: I will seize open sky, and eat
The stars that lie therein. They are but specks,
And specks they will long-last remain, always,
When I have had my fill of height and teeth.
Not before then will I ever hold me.
So come, come now, wade to my lips, your eyes
Scream theft; your teeth chime loss. Come now and be
But one: my blue-born love, my darling sea.
Come now and be but one with me, and there
Will be a thin horizon where the sky
Burns red and all-consuming so that it
Drinks ever-deep of the blue-born ocean.
Beating a drum, struck high and strong, he came
Along the river side so that its gush
Caressed his feet, those instruments of his—
Although their heels struck deep and harsh, caressed.
This was the man who said to me, “Burn bright.”
Since then I have stood still, aflame, in want.
That man, he told me of such things; we sat
In night, licked by the fire, the river-run
Boiling. It seethed and stewed and then I ate.
He shared with me his hunted meat: the fruit
Of toil, his labor past, his work to come.
That night the river rill’d in mime of him.
The moon, sick moon, hung like a smile of him.
The trees, they rattled like the laugh of him.
And when I woke, there was a hole in me;
It was cut deep and I lay still a while.
Then I went down the lone dirt road, that road,
Star-speck’d with red as I left him and that
Small death behind, away, far-off, ahead.
Before I left he told me this that night:
He drove a deer hard on and through the wood.
Its flesh we ate, its mind since waste and gone.
The man told me of his pursuit, so grim
And grisly to the tongue, read raw that night,
As the remains hung dripping over flames.
Oh dear, my darling blue-born love: lend ear.
She ran so swiftly but ‘twas all in vain.
She ran past trees as that great lidless eye,
Burning deep in the stars, watched on and cried.
She ran through stream and brook with drops splay’d up,
Broken, all smashed and splintered like the sea
While it churns on and sprays itself on rocks:
She slipped, and was spat onto shore, alone.
And he, eyes-wide, came up behind, prepared.
Be joyous, darling dove-like lucky girl;
I am still bleeding from the heart of me.
I am still gasping in the night, in fear,
So that I am removed from me and I
Can stand apart from this slow-rupture death.
My teeth have not yet fallen out with rot,
But only ache in springtime when it rains.
Be joyous, darling little star, for I
Am embers strewn across the wind and sea.
I am the shadow of a wastrel man
And though I froth and churn and spit and seek
To eat the sky – that sky! That shining slut –
Be glad, for I am happy that you stay.
And if you were ever to leave this place,
I fear that my toothache would grow to rot
And my pain lapse into the deepest want.
I am afflicted by this malady
Which turns sweet things to deep decay, into
A hunger to consume the world! But no.
Be glad that you are not that deer, my love.
Come unto me, my toothsome patient nurse,
And do not be afraid: I am not him,
His hunger, or the flame. Come unto me
And we will sink forever until dawn
Cuts into us with its all-truthful eye,
And shows that which we have so feared ‘till now.
Be not afraid! Be not afraid! But still,
In those long hours of blue-wash’d morning light
Will we look back with our hearts in our mouths
Like roses in our teeth, like bleeding gums,
And will we seep confessions through our sins?
My darling love, what have I done? A breath
Still lingers in between the lavender
Strewn long and blossoming all down your flesh.
Be not afraid! Be not afraid! I sleep.
Danton was a sad little man
Who had a small, sad little life,
Making flowers of paper leaves
And counting days by cigarettes.
Head full of sky and minuets,
Heart full of empty love sonnets,
He wasted time in passing days
And dreamed of lullabies in flesh.
This is all that there is of him;
If one were to take count of words
His would prove to be not but few,
And his life is surmised in one
Swift cut between our minds and his.
As such the swift, heavy blow falls:
Empty/Vacant/Call Now/For Rent
I’ve turned that post I made a little earlier – “An Arrival” – into a short story. It’s about dinner and malaise and all sorts of things. If you feel like letting me know how it is, feedback is very welcome and I look forward to hearing from you. In any other case, I hope you thoroughly enjoy the read nonetheless. (The story itself is available just after following the “Read More” link.)
I had forgotten the light of snow which was dull and blue and lethargic. I had forgotten how, inside, I was like an astronaut or deep-sea diver protected from the elements, and how therein I could lie sweetly in mid-morning warmth. But upon the cold frost which swept the grass outside I could remember all: the toboggan and the firelight and the lukewarm water which burned my frozen hands like flames. I sat with steam billowing against me, mugs filled and emptied, the overcast skies falling in pieces and settling quietly in white banks around my quiet and quaint existence.
It was over long drinks in the depths of a gloomy night that my dearest friend confessed to me. He was a milquetoast man, a mild-mannered person of middling height who spent his spare time burrowing through books in the comfort of his room. After months of insistence I had finally tweezed him from that cozy little hole and into my house for dinner. He arrived with a sour look on his face. I was tearing him from his pages, and thus from his lovers. He had a famous contempt for the flesh; though he drew the attention of a handful at university, he had never involved himself. His delights and passions which folded and blossomed according to their own delicate natures were to him as fulfilling as any cup from which to drink, or gathering at which to converse. He had cultivated his own secret garden of pleasures within the confines of his head. I had taken him from that fanciful world; he cynically awaited my attempt to meet its worth.
Cast long on those sweet arms the flowers bloom,
Soft-sewn and drip’d with sunlight like the sea.
The dress, it rills with wind, and brushes gloom,
The suckle of my eye embraced to me:
That gorgeous gown, that lovely floral wreath—
Although, perhaps, it may ring wrong to some,
For although one is quick to lick one’s teeth
It is more slow, one’s wanting to become.
And curling warm in dark and discreet rooms
I have, in truth, transgressed a stockinged knee,
But I, myself, have watched my beauty bloom
And drank the dainty sky-kissed vines to lees.
Still, in this flesh I would not twist the plan,
But love myself in what I am: a man.
If I were to carve a knife through my eyes,
Between the sight and the optical nerve,
Then I would perhaps shove myself in twain
And at last lie with my heart in my hands.
Oh how I wish to watch those draining sands
With nothing to lose and nothing to gain,
With every love and darling pleasure served;
With my own warmth and breath my lovelet lies.
But were my arms not as the city skies:
Fed deep on haze and starless to observe
So that long-lost those gems shine on in vain,
Still only to persist in foreign lands.
The light! How they rove in their jewelled bands
And drizzle in the afternoons like rain,
While I in bed cannot work up the nerve
To walk from my warm self, much less to rise.
Note: This is a fun little exercise, working in four joined stanzas. Each is iambic pentameter; the entire poem rhymes abcddcba twice. The last two stanzas contradict the sentiment of the first two. Because I can!
My love, she ran cold-blood and soft,
Sea-stained with her blue hand aloft,
‘Till on the rocks she climbed ashore
And lay amidst the sputter-roar
With sea-foam tracing her slick skin,
She lay, until the tide drew in.
O, lonely wanderer! Dashed on
And forced on and fed on and
Bled on and swept away whole-hearted
With your hair trailing infinite
And your eyes as green as your home.
There was a time when she was crown’d
With posies, flowers strung around
Her neck and entwined in her hair,
Strewn with the breeze of meadows fair.
And she would pose against great skies,
Her humble hand against her eyes.
O, once-innocent! How crude
Those streams to brush errantly
Against your bare arms and pucker-skin
With your mind dashed out and rilling
And your lips smeared red as the sun.
My love, she was put to her rest
With ships’ hulls leaning on her chest
As if to say: “That’s it; no more.
You need just once to wash to shore.”
And though she was but brief to me,
I swear she took my heart to sea.
The quietest breeze from the west and a low sun setting
While blood-brained and split-eyed running high-strung in spit
And fits of moonlight spilling from the highbeams
Which ricochet off treetrunks and stop signs while the growl resounds:
“I am engine in the earliest word.”
So slip-skinned and long-toothed sliding wild through the calm October night
Until all sense of direction is lost in the forest,
Until all sense of home is wrapped up in flesh,
Until the explosions fritter infinitely splinter and stick:
Hush tremble lovelet shiver lovelet hush quiver shake.
But toothsome ten-armed and running ever-go
Until engine myself I become deviant and peeling,
So that my eyes behold the slimmest bones and the daintiest fingers,
So that I am spent in long nights while redness spreads from the east,
So that eventually I lay myself to sleep with poison-dreams
Of myself running forever fitfully and falling into the sameness
And the inevitable throat of tomorrow.
It is there that I shake eternally in cold winds, and chatter in fetal bouts,
And slip neatly away in a sunshower of droplets
Running electric from one side of my mind to the other.