She came from the sea,
she came to marvel the pearl’s
pinkest let to grieve.
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Dryad, in velvet
bells, platforms, and heart-shaped shades–
Boughs, cited to flare.
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Mermaid in torn jeans,
sea glistening on her knees-
Your myth is safe with me.
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Anais Nin

Invention was your solitude, your twin,
wasn’t it, Miss Nin?
The way you spread secret pages
like silk violet capes,
like fringed shawls,
over an air of mystery, and err
of desire.
You enabled symmetry, to confess.
Why couldn’t a woman be a fabulous opera fulfilled
nightly through shadowcall and tenor?
Why couldn’t many hands
attend fruitfully to matters of flight
and garden envy?
Paradise, for you, was always one well-flung
entry away, wasn’t it?
A diarist’s mad dash
and hush to engorge, inflame,
and export the wilds of a soul
which outgrew borders
and margins, the fluid spill of ink
a blue bloodlet to let the air in,
to carry visions to siege and form.
You warmed yourself in reveries,
Miss Nin, while attempting to detonate
and explode your neuroses, going so far
as to leave us detailed maps of your psyche’s labyrinths
and grottoes.
Yet, like a cartographer with an interiority complex,
your maps led seekers to regions well beyond you,
territories, unmarked, leading us back to ourselves,
and I, like a spelunker with a hard-on for Sphinxes,
used your maps
to my own advantage,
to reveal and baffle,
to record and dwell,
because, you see, Miss Nin,
your bones carried over
to mine,
as mine will to another,
and so on and so forth,
an underground network
of interconnected bridges and tunnels,
where the tenderest of ravels
come to know the secret bask of pink
on light.
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Between blades and pines,
she lay still, spreading forest
to stars that filled her.
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I found him, wanting,
satyr’s swell of thorny play–
fondling fresh, green grass.
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Some kind of tender,
hard to find its truest name–
words fail to claim touch.
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Henry Miller


Some men rattle their chains and wonder, some sing them.
Then there are others who spraypaint their chains rainbow siege
and dance a jig like a peacock on fire, and when someone asks
Isn’t it hard to dance around with those chains weighing you down,
the man laughs heartily and responds—What chains, my dear lad,
these are feathers. Listen to the way they jangle and clink when I dance,
have you ever heard feathers that sound like that? Miraculous and unusual, yes?
You, Henry Miller, were one of those men.
You turned wrought-iron links, Brooklyn-made, into loafer’s foam,
into dreamfaring plumage, unabashed in its frisson and vainglory,
smeared bottom’s up in in deep semen envy, angels spit, and stolen honey.
Vagabondage was your claim, but not your master.
Though you did have many teachers—bilious clowns, crowded streets,
torn trousers, children’s capered faces, gateless barbarians,
your mother’s frigid ruler (and how you learned the only thing
worth measuring was love, that which belonged to the immeasurable).
A lusty little scamp at heart, eyes unpopping buttons
and sailing seas of skirts in parks, you were literature’s answer to Charlie Chaplin,
with an unzipped mouth and cracked tower of seismic songs to yawp,
the world needed a Henry Miller, because you said so,
and in cement that remained eternally wet, you signed your name
and sang, Whitmanesque, of yourself, again and again and again,
an explodingly insistent echo,
and the sincerest of forgeries,
because, for those dwelling between lines,
a signature verifying an identity—
I am he, he is me, he is he, I am I, etc,
never does true justice
to the multitudinous at work
in the playing of one’s self as instrument
upon which God’s deepwelling nothingness
meets and mates with one’s youthingness,
and from there, bang.
Just bang and wow and let’s make radical inscrutable love,
music, art, whatever.
You, “Henry Miller,” wink-wink,
gave us your pulsing timepiece of whatever,
and you, Henry Miller, as my Brooklyn soul-chum and compatriot,
separated by age but not spirit,
granted me amnesty
and helped me to unlock my own
bang, wow, and whatever
resounding yes
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tendered through soft vowels,
like mouths,
hold air,
on the feted cusp.
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To sway, with corset
no more to bind, hips
parlaying grace, to rivet
greening desire.
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