Thursday, January 26, 2006

WILLIAM Mary Hickman


Because he was so foreign, I bought a pretty boy with hooks & fists. His species sprouted pepper branches. Cities brought their split to heal.

      Spine-pointed bloom, sheath-white-William.

His cheek. A bridge. Ha, the stems of a bridge, she says. To be famous & quick I cut

it down. I cut it that morning & a tell-tale flush.

      He's god's r in pure sensation. Peeled his joints from the sand, knelt down to plant. In oil, in soil.


      Pigeon-breasted boy, I could flower

to the end of May. A foot mislaid the holes & pebbles of the beach. Birds covered over the gardens with dull red glass. We pray. I'll

flay him alive. His graceful palms embedded. My white greekly perfect. Hot webs

to touch a thing like this—wild-sweet-William buds

early. Studied prayer, hone

the gay birdsong

                   we begin to hear respired hums.

A peep of white touches the spot. William, she says.

Clean clean bloom along the head.


I grew his strap-shaped image in the tub.   Knobs—discs—cups sprung & cultivated a horn from the wreck of rib. I lashed the Sweet Bough to his head,                  Wealthy William.

He hauls a reef of skirt. William who lives, she says.

      His brain cries out in plenty. In habit. My fingers taper oval to hold

a pigeon's song of his. Drunk, what I said about the bud of ordinary god, "wood of life" & he'll wince.


Nuptial light in whitish bone: dense spikes

form the lady's crown. Hadesgreen—the shade, the toques—heron feathers for my thigh

& three fangs placed in his jaw for luck. We wed again. The calyx home, she says, & pry them off my eyelid.


I could pile my stones to sprout or

graft garden junk from the stalk to the fall of William.  Devil break the red

hasp of your back, she says. All raised untidy palms to sun—white &

      blades & laid limp curled around the grass. Hand that was his. The seabirds pent into my cheeks.                          

Or I could pity

his buds carved

foxy on each kidney.    "Pearly everlastings."   Clap hands

& shoot inside his bulb, we pray.



He could be big. He could be sung by rocks.

A bloody sound. His head in sun. Really a throb

from my owling throat. Hanging.

Praise from stones.

Junk he said to all them open-mouthed.

      William named my garden New York City. Then shoved me on my knees. With the suckers, the fat flowers which are

            the skirts of heavy walkers now bent

            in the garden. His women which are

            white ants which are termites which see.  


Mismade him again, she says. Mislaid him. A two-celled sac borne on the stalk

his hands behind his back.  He grew profane

& big as a bottlefly. Bullfly. Covered

his left eye to wink at me.  His thousand

hands grown from his ribbed-for-my-

pleasure side. He yanked us down with a bang.

Deny the gods of the garden say. Their downy hands. Barang!


Love, tender as a beetle. It shoots down. It shoots

us down, pushing on the larynx. Pushed all our teeth back

& tongued the bark of our necks. Orchards of speech axe.  


He performed a miracle is right.    

Hush! Hush! Shut your goddamn mouths he said.

To plant him in the city full of prayer is to

chain him to the bar.  

Tender oyster-gut of eyelids, heal us.

William     his ear to the bar     healed. His little finger

extended back      

              begat (begged) wax from the crowd.  


Honey stop wrestling honey. I said I'd suckle for you. I said

I'd Sabbath and scatter the wafers for you. I sliced an orange root to see the kids inside. God's kids.

Weak dirt. But the rain wills trees.  



A cave with arms at the mouth.

Our hero is blind: everything he hears he sees.

Hear! she says. Gold light sifts to his ear.

A roar. The seas

beaten—his duodenum, colon,

blind intestine and appendix, destined

for heat, they blush.


William's cabbage heart shook. He dragged

himself from the dirt.

If he could have rested his ears he could have seen

ginkgos in his city. The pretty boy I mean

& Will, who were both aging

with their senses curbed until they knew

New York City by root & by crack.  


As if there is a fig tree rooted in heaven & each of its leaves knows all the rules.  

8:45am hum: he saw the boy had fallen

into a manhole & the fig tree had fallen into a manhole

& neither could be the sound of hands splitting

gold hands landed

up the breadth of William's back.

god bleeding me a kind of blooded cry

my lady makes me a heron

or my leg for a stump

the cursed in the loam my

venomous thumbs my

His guts an a-readied muck, she says.


If your hand had been dusk-

yellow not a lantern but winged

—a bridge or a dove sprung

from the dirt.    

Trying to make a shape. The feathered

thumb herring-

bone. We would not fall.  


I brought you in from the garden since I can't

stand the trees' visions. William you will

be there the last

stately in ribbons.  

But the vision is a fattened glee.

The glee is a clubfoot.  

The glee is a mutt.

The eyes sewn up the air & nothing can be seen

but visions.

You are burst sideways like a fist in water.

(Your maker staring into an apron of mud.)

Thou art

      bore a hole in the man.

Thou art

      not a bloody bit, not the man.