Beauty must fall. It is just
how it must be. We try to shelter
with hand or mouth love
it could happen at Hed Kandi, @ Pacha,
usually at Rouge but
it is like blossom and it must flower, that is
its form of passing grace.

I call this poem Constructed because
before this, it was not.
Like an igloo from the snow,
like a word from silence
it is raised. But
it is not a dwelling,
and we cannot stay here,
not even for a moment.
Nothing, indeed, dwells here, yet
it is not ghostly, and not a ruin,
no more than a kiss or a moment of sympathy
haunts or fails, lingers or falls.

The ache is terrible, sometimes, and sometimes, literally,
unbearable. Who loves seeks to hold,
that’s natural, and tries in squirming reaches
to protect with caressing this
that other life,
combing lice from our children’s hair,
recording a casual message on voicemail,
making electric shelter
for syllables, for what
is more fragile than a human voice?

My sorrow at this time — November, 2002 —
is dimensionless, and I cannot bear
the news of suffering, the way we grow
cannibal with necessity.
So much beauty will go down, it is like the Greeks
or Nagasaki, like Stalingrad in winter.
One must be formal with such wasting,
find a ceremonial container,
and to the ceremony and the form adhere —
cling, really, when the new dying begins.

An electrocuted bull kneels, its blood
still moving inside it, and the tapeworm
survives in the gut. And it
is like this — we found it
endlessly. Once built, what can a tower do
but fall? Once spoken, what can a word be
but silence? And yet,
I call this poem Constructed
and it suspends
the fall of beauty as nothing.

Where is the ground of our glance, our eyes
moving on a moving page?
Show me it. Where is the base
of thought, where is the home of silence?
And how can a love be sheltered
when the sheltering hands and mouths
themselves are homeless, where they want to be?

Forgive me for the hardness of this poem,
it is difficult to write of such things.
Certain things can be said simply; others cannot.
I write this humbly, wanting to be honourable,
and without affectation — bare, essential, like rain.

Then let me be explicit.
If our foundations are in power, control,
exploitation, possession, material mastery,
this poem will not be constructed,
and silence will roam here
among swaying weeds.

False power is greedy and despises
moments. And it dwells here in Constructed,
evicting the truth. It is unjust:
it is like Kafka’s mole, endlessly
at risk, imprisoned
in the very place devised for its security.

Does the tyrant trust his own bodyguard?
The tyrannical, towering aspiration
to dominate and to endure like light
against the fluttering moths of lovers’ hands,
and night wings of soft voices,
is doomed like this:
power so conceived must fall —
how could it not? —
founded as it is
upon us — founded as it is
upon others.

But I ask again:
where is the ground of our glance, our eyes
moving on a moving word?
Show me. Where is the foundation of a love?
In this hand? In that hand? In this way,
or that? In my desire? Or in your desire?
Or in desiring, which like the wind
is seen in its effects, but never seen?

I ask, for the first time:
where is the ground of our glance, our eyes
restless on a restless word?
Show me. Where is the foundation of this love?
Recall: this poem is called Constructed.
May beauty rise with it.
And may it be a beauty of yours.

Show me.