sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
hoc opus, hic labor est.
Yesterday the sibyl spoke
at Cumae one hundred mouths
one hundred lips, tunnels, screams,
tongues opened, and we heard
the god's voice shining: the sound
of death in rushing waters
the clouds array forth battle
there's blood in the flight of birds
and promises, promises, promises
the words you dream in ruins.
O Musegetes Hekebolos Mantikos
Phoibos Apollon Parnopios
what plague-born poem is singing
from the arrows of your tongue?
(I dreamed of Sappho first
forgot all after, thirsting
for the poem she would become.
O Muse O Muse O Muse—)
The thirst of Tantalos
to stoop and scoop and never drink
to drink and drink and never slake
with wine or water longing
Yesterday one hundred mouths
one hundred tongues spoke
inescapable Nemesis sounding
from every shadowy cave
with promises, promises, promises
the words you dream in ruins
the downward hellward path, the door
that night and day stands wide—
And are you brave, brave, brave?
And are you brave?