Speaking In Tongues

31 01 2010

(I whispered this poem spontaneously into the ear of a young woman one night by way of trying to get into her pants. I guess it didn’t work. Who knew that she worked for the FBI. Taped transcript follows.)

If I had seven tongues
I could say I love you
and lick you in six places
savor you like something stolen
speak languages only heard in poetry
If I had seven tongues my kisses
would be conspiracies

so like me to go in all directions
my chakras throwing sparks
looking for the ground like tongues
in desperate arcs
hungry for the earth

lightning finds certain people
and strikes them again and again
something to do with a rare
unfathomable cosmic magnetism
or else god just hates them

the tongues quarrel at night
when I pretend to sleep
when three dimensions collapse to two
the plane of solitude not fit to fly
she-demons bitching under the scalp
tangled as cobras in a basket
and I need at least one tongue to play the flute

everything floats eventually, love or fear
this tongue is lighter than the atmosphere
and licks soft and salty as a baby’s tear
this tongue is a twisting devil
spits and lashes and spreads rumors
this tongue whispers and insinuates
this one babbles and flatters
this is the silent tongue
it knows everything by taste

no tongue is an island
like a lizard licking the air
tasting for something
that you cannot see
led by the palette on-scent
spaghetti, flesh infinity
slippery tongues of meaning
thick as a whale’s throat muttering
stuttering tales of songs that stretch for fathoms

the marriage of a line to canvass
the betrothal of tongue to word
my tongues are too smart to lick the flagpole
they articulate prayers and curses, oaths
or a note to the air strident
turning three dimensions to two
ribs suspended, the Trinity
collapses into duality
divorced and forked as a snake’s

The bride knows better.
It’s the bridegroom who’s beguiled.
like a child or a lamb unsuspecting
it only takes two tongues to lie
but one can tell the truth
the truth is that nights are cold
in the autumn of my abdomen
the vixen knows where the whole is
her gown is white only broken by red
wanton breasts inscribed
defined by my tongue and
a line
a line
held to the canvas,
a moment held to the universe
like electricity holds magnetism
the tongue holds spit and semen and
if you think that holding your tongue is hard
try holding seven of them

my other tongue separates the forces of nature
copper coils and inert gasses
conductivity is two tongues
storms of flesh and electrons sparking
three of my tongues are sweet
and three of them are bitter
and a salty tongue to tell you what I think
I have seven tongues
kiss me, you fool

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