616 – erotism (poetry)

Erotropo, 1970, Sá Nogueira

I really appreciate everyone who’s been reading me and commenting in this new cycle. I certainly don’t write the way I used to, and I don’t want to, even if I do cherish some of my old poems. It still means a lot to me when someone cares enough to read, especially those that return despite the change.

Both cited lines are from Kafka’s Blue Octavo Notebooks.

What do you think of, when you can’t sleep?


616 -(erotism) 


When I can’t sleep, I think
   of Iceland. The world is made there,
the felt fingers that encage me are made there,
  the evenings’ fiery spit swells up the earth
and urgent silence grasps the domain
  as only a dominator could. 

You are much older than me, now.
  Many whom I’ve loved I picture
going down the Giant’s Causeway, into
  that ebbing bed I cherished coldly. 

You are much older than me, I
  hold the warm back of your hand to my face,
I too am cold fire bulging 
  underneath my dreams
  how there’s barely any light
  to the brutal absence
I’ve learnt to replicate. 


When you pass away, I will still be
  in my waking years. You simper at my
metal water bottle, I can kill someone with it,
 you joke. 
   “We hold the world fast 
	and complain that it is holding us.” 

I don’t try hard enough. I will one day
leave my body to a blood-rose. My thoughts
will trail the swallows into some imagined grove,
and the fevers which are supplied to us will wane,
percolate through the gravel of a dour coast
our feet shall never touch. 

Your cat greets me. Red fur polishing my shins —
she doesn’t like to be petted. Her name is Kafka, it suits
in its own unsuitability. “In a certain sense 
 	you deny the existence of this world.”

There’s warm ash in our evenings. It smells
like camomile. I fear and I welcome your winters,
because they are my winters too. That is where
the world is denied — fear, fear, to welcome it,
to hold onto it, to spend oneself in it… 


You ask		what I’m reading,
	I say		Artaud. The only 	man
who never went 		mad. 

Our bodies		some of us	  exist in hunger
	some of us		exist in ache. 

I am   —  like you say —   the tragedy of 
	every moment. Slowly	  we give way
   to erosion. Our 	pathetic	play

	rehearsing the wounds	     of those immune
     	rehearsing the screams	     of those silenced
        rehearsing the fate          of those impressed

Kafka’s hungry	   once	again, it can’t	be me,
I wonder if 		she	thinks of Iceland too.

I hold the warm back of your hand
  	to my face. You  hold 	 the world fast
and complain that 	 it holds you.

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

12 thoughts on “616 – erotism (poetry)

  1. Thank you for writing! Old or new…it’s the way you make words mean so much more than they really are. I like the lines..

    Some of us exist in hunger
    Some of us exist in ache

    …and sometimes both are the same

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I try to train my mind to not think, but it rarely works (to count instead or use a mantra each time I breathe in/out). Today I imagined the sound of our clock downstairs was the old bells in my mom’s home in Germany, even though I am back in the States. And that was a magical thing. As is this piece of whatever was smoldering beneath in the ice and rock in Iceland, thanks for sharing JM. Hope you’re not really reading Artaud, that actually could drive you mad! Ha!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The good old european bell towers. If you didn’t mention it, I wouldn’t have noticed mine clanging the hour. How trivial things for one can be the soothe of others.
      And I really am reading Artaud. I quite like it, actually. Thank you, Bill 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello, my brother from across the sea. I’m loving this style. I love all your work. I think what you are calling a new style touches me more than the work you have done in past years. I don’t think it is dramatically different, though. Maybe you, as the writer, feel that you are in a different place when you write, now. Your form asks for our email, so you should be able to see mine? Send me a message some time!

    Liked by 1 person

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