Brighter the Veil / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780914061564
  • Publisher: Orchises Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

First Chapter

Chapter One



Dear Wall,
double secret
you show us
and show us
that what is out
there is what
here occurs


The boy on the balcony
has his own secret.
His matches are hiding.
Wall, see how the window
wants to be like you
but can't. All day long
it proves, like a photo.


At night you mediate
the blue air, the black air.
Where you split, you bloom. We are
tired and lie down, headlong,
in the temple of the right angle
we make to you.


No more denying—
desire leaps over, sifts through you
meets up with the scent
of spice baking, wine poured
unto which I give thanks
and bless this food, my body,
and you, wall
who join us invisibly.


I know there are times
you've had enough of our searching
dark knots for familiar faces.
But wall, with you between us
we sleep more easily in strange places.


We who grew you from a stone
touch your face so changed by words:
wailing, berlin,
back up against a ...
Wall, see everything you stand for?
South of Krakow in Kazimierz
circling the synagogue
namedfor Moses Isserles
(also called Rabbi Remu'h)
stands a high wall
of gravestones that were
gravestones first
then, torn up and walked upon,
now a wall.
And after many years of searching
on their knees, heads bent close
to the stony smell
the archaeologists of morning
stood up, stood back, saw
you, oh cage with hinges gone
unfolded, outstretched
without a roof and bottomless
set forth in the world
to divide, amaze.


Like her's, with a wide bank for prams,
coal dust and burning leaves in the air.
From all angles it resembles
a flower-seller's heavy arm around a bucket.
A drive over a mountain.
A monument and a street.
I long for the dark crescent shadow
like a smile, hitched over my face.
I've always wanted to wear one.


The buttons' journey:
find a threshold,
slip over and stay put.
All day they hear
that little thread of
At night
each goes back
through its own darkness.
Star after star is led out.
Like in the story:
and then the sea parted
and the exiles crossed
to safety.
Lie down now, sleep,
dark knots, until
daylight floods you
with a body again.
Suns on the ground, rising and setting.
They also turn their broken beams
toward something greater.
All the green grass is like a sea around them.
When they are old they turn to stars.
We cannot pluck them from the sea
without their bodies scattering in air. We want them
gone before then. Before they turn to wishes.
So the children are no help, keep them away.


Losing the watch
a bare arm turns up
and a few tiny hairs
the battery touched with its
contained, invisible flare.
It's hiding somewhere
like a big silver button
but no holes for thread,
just a rim in back
for force to hold in.
I keep checking my body
for signs of momentum.
The closest face is mine
in the mirror.
My wrist is bare.
A white band wraps around
the pulse time kept,
glares when is dinner?
Moments of terrible
perfume come back
and whole days
focus in the sharp,
bright noon of what now
becomes clear
was a desperate year.
Outside, birds rouse
for the nth time today,
moved by degrees
of that unknown power
to rustle,
to pull an offering free.
There's my neighbor
walking back from the bus
with a bag of groceries,
a bottle of wine
—so it's Friday, it must be
four-thirty, five.
Inside are pots, chairs,
a table and children,
uniforms dissolving in attics,
Medea, still taking her brother's hands
in a violent fit of wild devotion,
and he, just wanting to bring her back
to a time before hunger, or bells
in the head, alarms in the stomach.


They hit him and they ran. He fell.
Beaten. Three hearts beat. They ran.
Where he had fallen his weeping turned to sand
like time in an ancient race.
His weeping was a hill they climbed. Stood on.
Thunderclouds gathered over him.
He was the clapper in the night bell. They ran.
How fast they ran on the pavement
over the sidewalk's hardened sand. He fell
beneath their blows. They ran. He was
a hill of sand where they could not build.
And when the rain came down his tongue was still.
He was a rock with water all around.
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