Untitled Project

by W.M. Butler

*when this american woman whose thighs are bound in casual red cloth comes thundering past my sitting place like a forest-burning mongol tribe the city is ravished and brittle buildings of a hundred years splash into the street and my eyes are burnt for the embroidered chinese girls already old and so small between the thin pines on these enormous landscapes that if you turn your head they are lost for hours standing in a hotel room in san diego with her hand pressed between her legs dreaming of the man that i would one day become but for now for her i do not fully exist i remain faceless i am nothing but pixilated poetry on a screen  a pseudonym a stranger that she has yet to meet digging like some sort of virus i have cleverly managed to take control of a long forgotten corner of her mind she stands in front of a full-length mirror wearing a pink go-go dress red panties pulled down and stretched tight over her thighs a full blush to her cheeks her mouth open breathing i have yet to listen to the shallows and squalls of your voice  the ebb and tide of your words these things do not exist for me they are only rumors that have not yet formed lips teeth or tongue they have not yet mastered the breath of air or speech they have not yet been born you are a ghost a trick of the light you are a sliver buried in my palm you are a photograph of a stranger you are a bruise on my arm that will not fade a correspondence incomplete letters become words caught by wires sent speeding across the pacific ocean until video the patron saint of long distance lovers captures our likenesses and beams them over invisible webs so that words tempered by tongues served cold over the telephone or with qwerty little keys in black and white start to flake away on the back of lust bursting in technicolor dreams her thighs round and smooth and open i began to thaw my fingers recede leaving their invisible history across the fall of your lower back i get tangled in the hollow and trip on the rise star clusters like pin pricks or one thousand blinking eyes forge feathers where bone once cried speaking of evolution in the night a day away a plane was boarded an ocean was crossed until she stood amidst a great undulating crowd of chinese arriving home from overseas she found me before i found her i gathered her up to take her to place her under the harsh light of the hotel’s bathroom my hands moved with chivalry though one could not place blame if a wayward finger accidently grazed across the milk pale plain of her belly the place where hair hit shoulders secret places that have never felt another’s touch or those that have gathered the dust of years spent lonely she too begins to thaw as i lift her from the cold floor into the hot bath water which tints her skin scarlet for the duration of our first night spent teaching each other what hands and lips are for until my mornings out number yours by one my nights cut deep and long frigid against the back breaking crack of winter a funeral song a march a broken ivory comb pulled through hair one hundred times smoothing out the kinks the chinks of armor rusted gutted out with old blood old lovers wail quaking in the cold ground where i placed them where i laid them down to die we are the same yet we sleep at different times you keep me hidden i let you roam i wear you across my shoulders and in the eyes you keep me in a box you let me out sometimes let the ghost of my hands move beneath your blouse flush and rough stranded and disenchanted in aisle 5 of the supermarket i dance her beneath the high blue sky ceilings of the departures terminal as rare sunlight rumbles through monolithic glass walls i fancy myself a lover and a thief or a fool of the highest degree she leaves with jet streams trailing behind her bourn up on the shoulders of time zones i stalk through the herds of lovers and families whispering final good-byes like a hunter wearing his pray displayed across his shoulders later she tells me that she wept all the way back across the pacific ocean all the way back to the desert were she had started from only to find herself in the grocery store a can of peas in her left hand my voice strung with telephone wires burrowing beneath her dress.

*When this American Woman
By Lenard Cohen
Appears without permission