b e n j a m i n    b u c h h o l z

Hushed Voices and Hothouse Flowers


::Secret Penis:: this is how you came to be in the seventh hour, foie gras, quickly upstairs undressing past the rush in a fine mansion until the next morning when we snuck she is my stonemason my carpenter tour guide all banister capital cupboards and tiled Corinthian framework around bookcases Bacchanal flipswitch hidden to spiral passages, the belfry, march upon which phallic formation someone has left her panties, shame, for a long walk home, the long walk around a sitting room this breakfasting after, having loved but not understood, having been surrounded by the symbols of fertility like so many covens, it was legs unshaven, the sharpness of a jawbone, helix, tea-leaf, a sliding of body into body like pocket doors, it was orange oil on woodwork, mahogany skinned by flamenco fingernails, pulling out in the last moment to avoid the last honor, east wind, a catalogue unthinking, not of the earth

::Levanter:: perceived origin of the wind, namesake for the song In My Blood, Breed 77, Balearic, on balcony as the November sleet, some bird in his cage is drawn among Byrons in turban, is drawn bloodless, gavage, wet bandana folded on forehead, Romanesque with flaccid hand outstretched, reaching toward Hell with a hang-over, the body new swum across Bosporus, sleet on lead-glass, a shower of geranium incense, that stuffy smell, do shut the door, Moncrieff, Iím dying here, she says, as into common market scarves and felt-brimmed derbies hurry, for kale, cabbage, a bit of lamb, a mistress in her dreaming and a jangle of party trinkets, little napkins with rouge lips leftover, smudges, bottles of claret half empty on the mantle where an unobservant man might hold the solid frame of what she once commanded carved

::Portrait of Maude Abrantes:: Les Chants de Maldoror open on the end table, Bauhaus singing: I hold the fresh pink baby with a smile, I slice off those rosy cheeks because I feel so thirsty, she is calling, leaving messages on the answering machine, my lord, my lord, speak or be spoken, sliced lettuce on the fish sandwich makes me vomit these mornings, my eyes underscored, see me staring, soto voce, I have loved you with a most unholy love and sheathed the secret of the mansion within me, yet where in the rainstorm, my love, my unholy, are we, row me out onto the lake so that I might oversee the skyline and the absinthe and look into a mirror for the Ile-de-France, to hear Modigliani quote from it from the Montparnasse: he is with child, I float down like the lily maid of Astolat, the hunting goddess of the Boeotian hill

::Singular Neon:: in the Domesday Book as Geldeford, another morning, we meet, sheís been force-fed neon, lit up like a fish sandwich billboard above the A31, Hogís Back, bristling, I had not expected, six months of not ignoring the possibility, just her, since France, the messages more urgent until at last, at last, I agree: I will be gentle about it: let me show you Surrey, Tudor schools and Wey and the mutilation of Alfred Atheling in the heights by Harefoot, treachery, your face glows, truly remarkable against the staid, the sleet, continual, dear lover, I, nevermind,

::Dingo:: responsible for thylacine extinction, that monster, in her wrap, with crochet shoulder, itís not the money mind you, of course not, no, you should just be part of the decision, not mythical anymore, not symbol, just instance, I will abort and the blood money I ask from you, Dingo, with your proper manners, I donít remember the talking that went on as we went upstairs, or the music below, you were a quick fuck, barely hard before, youíve gone about, found or returned to your pastimes and whimsy, may they be many, merry, this is my body and I will not be held to it like an Azaria on Uluru, not angry, then, not, she reaches for my hand, we walk the length of the canal toward her waiting train, weíre late, and in the evening that follows when she cannot cross the channel home, with Bach and conversation, she is otherwise convinced, not of the machine or of the god out of, but of you



BENJAMIN BUCHHOLZ is a US Army officer whose work has appeared widely and has been featured in Dzanc Press' Best of the Web 2008 and 2009.

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