Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sampson Starkweather

The Judgment of Women
—a transcontemporation of Max Jacob

In Hell, Dante and me were inspecting a barrel we suspected of containing chemical weapons of mass destruction. Dante circled it like a Chevrolet salesman. I struck what I’m pretty sure was a yoga position. It turned out to be a funkified jar of Vlasic dill pickles. Eve, acting as an accidental backdrop to a middle-school photo in the mid-80’s, pulls down the laundry, the whites, she looks like an angel on the bowsprit of a sailboat, liable for her halo of nakedness; if only I had my camera phone. She walked by Dante and me with a hollow and disposed look, as if somebody had just robbed her. As soon as I saw her I wanted her. I placed an apple in the grass. Then I became the apple. Awaiting transgression.

The Flying Nun
—a transcontemporation of Max Jacob

The confession booth. Someone smoking a bowl. Smoke seeps through the triangled holes like the breath from the shoe salesman’s larynxless-neck. At the pulpit, flies halo a cup of wine. A bunch of benches built by local fraternity boys are brought in as a bodiless surplice speaks using many persuasive gestures, and the lip of the cup is wiped by the armless sleeve of an alb, and the women in the front pews close there eyes and see the Virgin Mary bleeding milk, and from somewhere, like a chorus, the sound of coughing.

XV from Trilce
—a transcontemporation of Vallejo

      In the racquetball court, we made love, the world watched
through a tiny square window. A janitor weeping in the dark. 
We went to Sheets for Super Nachos and a mixture of all the sodas.
A CEO sprained his ankle slipping on the spot of our sex the next afternoon.

     You slept in the shape of the number 4, and left
like a tooth beneath a pillow. I went back to the racquetball
court with your ghostmoney, I read a book
of poems in French amid all your gentle points;
the same old story: a boy and girl in love: somebody’s
gonna end up crying on a racquetball court.

      I’ve watched hours of home movies
about how the light came in our kitchen, it was you,
scant anvil, white fire, coming in and out of rooms.

      But tonight, when the rain says your name,
now far from both of us, I suddenly start to…. 
Two doors open and two doors close, a life
spent(,) trying to make the number 3
shadow                  enters                  shadow.

XLIV from Trilce

—a transcontemporation of Vallejo

       The computer travels inward,
feminine, without the luxury of salt;
it breastfeeds itself in the fetal position,
screwed together by seven dream-bits.

       It Restarts. Flies through wire, wants
to be blood, goes underground, a life
without eyes; hacked, mushrooming
with desire.

       Sometimes its tubes burn out
and simultaneously an Asian’s eyes
eclipse; a micro-chip isn’t afraid
of death, but of losing its memory;
the nightmare of having hands.

       Computer, who does your spywear protect;
with your password that saddens me;
with my longing that indulges you?

oooh—  remember to save me too.  

Sampson Starkweather has been having dreams where his hot-air balloon sinks over a passive body of water, teeming with amphibious cougars. He is a big fan of plagiarism. Some of his poems are recently published or forthcoming from: LIT; jubilat; Poetry Daily; Absent; New York Quarterly; Sink Review; Gargoyle; Redivider; and Asheville Poetry Review. He lives in the woods alone.