Steve Dalachinsky

for jack micheline

a pitched fork among songs
a star amongst stones

here’s one for 
sunlight on cock’s comb
& the drunken troubadour 
who pissed in his pants & 
gambled away his life on an
endless train 
to the

               nyc 2003

Madrigal  ( listening to Gesualdo w/St.Lucie )
                                                                             .....a soul without a heart can feel no pain

it is that part of the song
that no longer
belongs to
                             ( i remember thinking “that girl must be crazy to have gone &
                                                                   plucked out her 
                                                                                                    eyes” )
i felt the knave  or rather 
a nave  holding in its gaze this exquisite
                                                                         so pale soft  devoted    to a myth

       the words of the nobleman filled the space the way her eyes filled the plate
         masculine  feminine  mediaeval voices    in a medial tho complicated time
                 apart from her humming i thought   “ she belongs in a madhouse”

yet looking at her 
there was that part of me 
deep within my barbaric self
where even i can’t reach  
that seemed to relax 
                                                          ( always   yearning )       i am counted among them                
gesualdo                                                                                   that go down to the pit
killed                                                      i was dead but now i am alive  dry your eyes       
his wife & her lover                              that mosquito flies back to that fair breast
                     then killed what he thought to be her bastard child

yet listening to him                                            that steals my heart away
something deep                                                           to share its happy fate i too will
within my uncivilised soul                                    bite you   as you carry away my heart
in a place i’ll never be able to touch                      carry away its torments      too
began to believe                                                     turn your beloved eyes on me                
in myths                                            for even the sun turns his rays on the vilest mud 
                 ( i placed my hands over lucie’s ears when what i thought was a 
                                  funny little amatory was about to be sung. )

Ciao Bella

i remember the people who started Ciao Bella
    the neighborhood was already changing
                                                                       2 robust young women  -
   i know nothing of the holy grail why should i care
if 2 young rosy cheeked young women want to go skinny dipping
                             in a river filled with slang terms

  i start my day waking from dreams of finding  $10 bills stuffed in plastic recepticles
      & buying rauschenberg books from 2 young blond women for $25 each
                           (same book but one in french  the other in english)
  & asking my unscrupulous constituant what they are worth 
                                       at least $1600 on the net he says   each?   each.
   i’ll sell the french one i say  he says no that may be worth more but i don’t read french
               what’s the difference      i don’t read english either 
      these books contain miraculous little bags with bits of things put in by the artist
                                               really marvelous   as far  as    dreams go
   i cannot even imagine skinny dipping with the 2 young women  that i buy them from
                 books filled with crackers     & memories      the artist’s not mine 
                                          oh but it was my dream  wasn’t it?

   i start my day    eyes closed thinking of my next lines for the poem i’m writing with Tom
   we’ve been writing it for about a year now  -   still romantic/ behind closed eyes/ bird voices
                      gathering in the morning air    or there-abouts      when she jumps on me
          are you getting up   she sings  accidently slamming her knee into mine
            ow get off me you fat pig that hurt  ow   did you call me a fat pig       yes fat pig
                                                        & there went my  morning 
already irritated by dreams & poetry   &  the coming day            she showers
               after which we argue for about the next hour until i leave to go to the cafe    
     i hit the hall only to find a ticket for garbage left by the curb
       a $250 ticket filled with exaggerations that i quickly sweep up & place in a shoe box 
              in case the landlord ever questions me  
                                                                              i gather the 10s from one dream 
          & the books from the other
                                                                             i’ll    show them   i think

                 ciao bella never had all natural ingredients  as far as i can remember
                         & that shoe repair shop that took up ½ a block   25 yrs ago   
                               now sells cosmetics & pays 50,000 a month rent

         we’re all animals that think we need to wear shoes        & dreams 
with their cruel crushing realities  are oft times sweeter than the clumsiest kick in the knee 

               7, 6, & 8/01   nyc 

                 u - boats                               ( for joe lobell )
                                     “....began to concentrate more on the crash than on the loss.”

beauty adorns virtue
three carat radiant cut with trillions
she still having a healthy period
me having a good shit
& growing  a new tooth 

yet i can’t pick things up anymore
like i used to
can’t even drop them

a friend suggests that i don the masks of different poets
& walk around giving readings
of their work

“ladies & gentlemen, i, leopardi now give you the MOON
it’s elegance & mystery 
it’s constant companionship    
whilst i remember things past.”

ah, so that’s where that came from

form & meaning are like a colored pencil
tracing meaningless lines
saying nothing
all those lines i’ve forgotten 
over the last 2 weeks
that my heart just assumed my head would 

the pain of having to dig deeper
when the glands stop producing images
chaos  longing  short life lived
long ...i, the old poet laureate testify to this
at life’s end
it takes me like the season’s take my garden
barring hurricane
& flood

i carry in my independent wilderness
the spontaneous generation
of freedoms
the caprice of continuous inspiration
though inspiration be quite

he’s my age 
& feels that acting will help him to produce 
accruing new details
both crude 
& cruel
sublime &
super - real  

oh small, abstract & pithy soul
piling up vows
like interest 
like waste
like .................masks 
like the useless weight of depth charges
lying torpid
on the ocean floor 
utterly devoid of vanity
                                               i am waiting to decode you
                                                  waiting to decompress

               thanksgiving  11/23/00  nyc

    in the natural world there are more than 2 paths more than one way one reason for our roots the way one carries one’s self into sleep into dreams into waking sparrows arguments gardens equivalences songs the coming years of non-stop commitment to eachother to friends & loved ones the honesty of being honest earnest the poetic musical miracle of vision in these blurred times breathing ginkgo leaves well travelled soles your 2 souls bringing warmth to all you touch heads shaking in the cool shade hung here heaven’s uniting the sweet & bitter of both sides of shared blues dues this ride home a home to come home to you both life springing forth in the natural world all seasons uniting to bring YOU together as ONE in the natural world where memory enchantment & wish brush across the insides of your eyelids & dissolve into all that LOVE has given & desires of YOU

Poet/collagist Steve Dalachinsky was born in Brooklyn after the last big war and has managed to survive lots of little wars. His book The Final Nite (Ugly Duckling Presse) won the PEN Oakland National Book Award. His most recent books are Fools Gold (2014 feral press), a superintendent's eyes (revised and expanded 2013 - unbearable/ autonomedia), flying home, a collaboration with German visual artist Sig Bang Schmidt (Paris Lit Up Press 2015), The Invisible Ray, with artwork by Shalom Neuman, from Overpass Press, "5-COLOR ASSORTMENT" Chameleon Too from Redfox Press, and FROZEN HEATWAVE with Yuko Otomo, from Luna Bisonte Prods. His latest cd is The Fallout of Dreams with Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach (Roguart 2014). His poem “Particle Fever” was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize.
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