Sunday, February 25, 2007

Miguel Murphy

Love Song of the Thief

I live where my shame is.
My body is an ugly excellence.

“I want to be your knife that lasts for years.”

I am loveliness the boy
I was the only
reader in the world, like you

beyond belief, I wanted to hurt
those I wanted to love me.

“I want to be your knife that lasts for years.”

When he tried to kiss me
that afternoon in the University
(all the students walking past
in slow motion)

wearing my sunglasses I turned
though not all the way:
green grass, brown tree, and close hot perfume
of his breath pursuing me:

“I want to be your knife that lasts for years.”

Where I loved was a little white, where
I slept was a little broken, where I wanted
to be was in collision with a greenness
not my own.

No Elegy

This song is of an odd
hour:   an orphan dark

where returning to the body feels
like leaving home.   The sun

is a blue sun.   All the fish
have turned to stone and I

am the only living thing.
I have not


My brother once told me
he would never be

my friend;
the wound

smelled of saltwater
for days.   I believed half this life

is spent lying.
To say

a gypsy water
ran between us

is to say, once
his hand in

a black glove
touched mine:   when I turned

I found
the moon, a white tree

in a field of green
brushing over me.   Still,

I’m not convinced
true exile

between men is only
that pure embrace

longer than a lifetime—I sang
softer than blood

no elegy.   The sea
returned nothing.   My brother

who I love
remained lost.

Dream of the Dwarf Secret

Before you go, as
in my life,
in the dream:

I am ready
to say yes, always, keep me—
Instead I open the sack

where the pages, the white leaves, should be
but aren’t—inside is the nest
of dead
black chicks:

blood-warm.   Inside
the dark mail
sack, deep asleep.   I

needed to see
what hurt was.   Never
not be with me—

you touch my hand, and puff a cigarette, and call me foxy,
then say, I’ve got to be off now

to my secret.

Miguel Murphy's poems have appeared in Willow Springs, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Hawai’i Review. His first book, A Book Called Rats, was awarded the 2002 Blue Lynx Prize from Washington State University’s Lynx House Press and will be re-printed by Eastern Washington University Press in 2007.