Notre-Dame (de Longueville)

A dead man bolted to a daed tree is
lodged like a bone in the throat of Notre Dame.

A tongue flickering in a lamp cannot be suppressed.

Before the burinings and conversions this choir
was a barrow where my fathes and mothers were brought
and planted like seeds in a belly.

The clerestory and blindstory were trees and each cold
intricacy, a leaf.

I forgive the bowed and kneeling patriarchs
and matriarchs separatee d by stone ribs, for they knew not
what they did or they were afraid or they did
know and are buried now in stone.

Before I left Chicago, I saw Auntie Jeanne standing
on the the corner of Irving Park and Clarendon.
A squealing bus did not disrturb her because she is dead.
Her coat was so old and her hat so ridiculous, I almost
hurried out to huddle her into my car,
but she wasn’t
watching for me, and she wasn’t
waiting for the bus like the others. She had come for her
daughter who was dying.

I have crouched in a savory cathedral like this before waiting
to be born, sipping and sleeping to the thumping
of a big bell beneath the bold
cupolas of a mother’s breasts, absorbing pink stories
from windows of flesh stretched
between ribs, woring
toward a slit at the nape of the twin towers
of her knees.

Notre-Dame (de Longueville) [#41]
© 2000 Fammerée

* * * * *

Richard Fammerée

* * * * *

Photograph by Susan Aurinko

* * * * *

“Notre-Dame (de Longueville)” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

* * * * *


A Rose and Its Seiche

When Daphne decided to allow her breasts
to receive mouthings, the severed Gods became alert, for her
essence could weep to the turnings
of a tongue.

Undefiled and clever, she wrapped herself
in incantations: a ruse and its worm, a rose and its seiche.

Now a deer, now a thrush nosed the vulva of a knot, and she
rose before him, and the moss of her unbound the blossom
of his lips.

Her chest became a harp and he became the other half.

Silver threads fastened their sternums, and she held his wrist
to her hip, and he rose into the god green ring.

A boar urinated down her untwining legs, tearing at new hair

Daphne tore at her hair.

There was coarseness and weeping aloud.
She concluded that speed and departure are preferable
to bark.

Once she stopped. Her breasts stopped. The wings of her hair
fell. Her mother (who had offered her plumper body
at the time of the boar) perched,

the size and color of a heart.

Beyond the tips of Daphne’s pinkness, a freckled back
strathspeyed, sprang, cartwheeled, reeled
and dashed, flipped,

flipped, flipped and leapt.

The thought--This could be my daughter. She should have been
my daughter--
frayed her lips.

A Rose and Its Seiche [#40]
© 2000 Fammerée

* * * * *

Richard Fammerée

* * * * *

Photograph by Susan Aurinko

* * * * *

“A Rose and Its Seiche” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

* * * * *


Asleep in Ireland

My forehead touches folds and stone. It is mud
and gold. It is sky
silvered. Its curls fondle a puddle where fingers abandon
the wind to huddle as babies
at my breast.

I am asleep in a waving field in Sligo, and the earth
mothers me.

Oh, how I love my sleep in Ireland.

All that has transpired during the previous nine years
is now a dream. When I awake
to myself unblemished,
dressed again in juniper:
I did not invite Deborah to Dublin.
We were not married in the Shelbourne Hotel.
We did not abandon the family on Wicklow,
and the family in Wicklow did not abandon me.
I did not retreat with her to Germany.
There was no divorce one year later.
I did not soil my story, and my story did not soil me.
I did not lose my adventure.

I first knelt in this dimple of nettles and puddles upon
the forty-second day of my great pilgrimage.
The sun was my shield, the fields unlettered and not dying.
I lay my bag next to this rock and lay my head
upon my bag.

I slept to the rhythm of cows
and clouds, the moon, invisible in cerulean, wandering
and blessing the shore of me
asleep upon this belly, burning with the yolks of furze
flowering into the big, dreamy, beating silence
of the embryo.

Hobo licks my palm. We walk hills wet, wax
green and valleys wetter and greener.
The sheep farmers do not concern him.
They have not yet poisoned him. He is turning away and
turning back, orange and lime
in the sun.

He is an Alsatian like me and a stray. When he died, I
buttoned him into my flannel shirt and buried him beneath
a plum tree.

We sleep now in Ireland, separated only by a vast mirror
of earth. I bite
into fruit nourished by his body. Hobo knows me
as I enter the mulberry trees.
My mother greets us from an iron chair. She rises. She, too,
is smiling victoriously. She is lantern lit, beautiful again.
I knew that she could beat the cancer.
I knew that she was still alive. I say to her,
Now, don’t upset. But there was a time I didn't know
you. Years and years when you wore your hair like this--
[I gesture.]
All lost. All that time is lost.
She begins to cry, but we are together again.
Before I can introduce Hobo, I awake.

I begin to move my limbs.
There is gray in my beard but I do not see it, for I have no mirror. I believe that I am healed.

I believe that I am healed.

All that I have dreamed is real. All that has shortened
my breath and scarred me is a dream.

With what god do I negotiate the is arrangement?
And what more must I offer?

Asleep in Ireland [#39]
© 2000 Fammerée

* * * * *

Richard Fammerée

* * * * *

“Asleep in Ireland” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

* * * * *


Orpheus Recusant

In this widowed room I repeat
the lessons of my senescent heart,

bead by bead. I ready myself
for the opening of the bitter book

which counsels your faith
and the colored book attending

with cap and bells the approach
of our impatient story:

Attic blessed, fluted
with Lydian melancholies, the umbria
implicit in our breast

We adorn ourselves with tears and amethyst
as children of the Queen

No eclipse will ever elicit a denial
between us

This hand-pressed netting,
this veil of brides, this storied fabric winding
its whisperings about us, sleeplessly

compelling our mouths together for breath, for

I now assume Botticelli’s love
for you

And if time were to abandon us in some unmeasured
embrace, I would rest bedside you
until we were chosen to be brought forth again
from the cold.

Orpheus Recusant [#38]
© 2000 Fammerée

* * * * *

Richard Fammerée

* * * * *

“Orpheus Recusant” appears in Lessons of Water & Thirst,
a book of poems by Richard Fammerée.

* * * * *


L’Embarquement pour l’Ile de Cythère

We loved in the cup of a blossom
It was violet, it was Tuesday
petal deaf, petal deep
blue matinal sheer silent shivering

time, hand-sewn as summer, little seams, little scars

the past which always follows the bitter
chocolate, the particular wine

Wednesday, its gilded frame opposing the deep wooden bed, the shroud our bodies

blind scrolls

hundreds of mothers and fathers
before literacy, the touch of a blond beak to the palm, each palm

pressing back, it was this
juice rising and quivering in the wand of beginning and end

Beginning and end always with us

in that cup unitil it dropped its great violet, violent

L’Embarquement pour l’Ile de Cythère [#37]
© 2009 Fammerée

* * * * *

Richard Fammerée

* * * * *

Photograph by Susan Aurinko

* * * * *