Joanna Newsom Ys thread - Day 1

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Postby NEO » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:29 pm

Emily

The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow
set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport of the pharaoh.
Little while later, the Pharisees dragged a comb through the meadow.
Do you remember what they called up to you and me, in our window?

There is a rusty light on the pines tonight;
sun pouring wine, lord, or marrow, into the
bones of the birches, and the spires of the churches, jutting out from the shadows;
the yoke, and the axe, and the old smokestacks, and the bale, and the barrow —
and everything sloped, like it was dragged from a rope, in the mouth of the south below.

We’ve seen those mountains kneeling, felten and grey.
We thought our very hearts would up and melt away,

from that snow in the nighttime,
just going and going

and the stirring of wind chimes
in the morning
in the morning

Helps me find my way back in
from the place where I have been —

And, Emily, I saw you last night by the river.
I dreamed you were skipping little stones across the surface of the water —
frowning at the angle where they were lost, and slipped under forever,
in a mud-cloud, mica-spangled, like the sky’d been breathing on a mirror.

Anyhow, I sat by your side, by the water.
You taught me the names of the stars overhead, that I wrote down in my ledger —
though all I knew of the rote universe were those Pleiades, loosed in December,
I promised you I’d set them to verse, so I’d always remember

That the meteorite is the source of the light,
And the meteor’s just what we see;
And the meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee.
And the meteorite’s just what causes the light,
And the meteor’s how it’s perceived;
And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void, that lies quiet in offering to thee.

*

You came and lay a cold compress upon the mess I’m in;
threw the windows wide, and cried amen amen amen.
The whole world stopped to hear you hollering.
And you looked down, and saw, now, what was happening:

The lines are fading in my kingdom
(though I have never known the way to border them in);
so the muddy mouths of baboons and sows, and the grouse, and the horse, and the hen
grope at the gate of the looming lake that was once a tidy pen.
And the mail is late, and the great estates are not lit from within.
The talk in town’s becoming downright sickening.

In due time we will see the far buttes lit by a flare.
I’ve seen your bravery, and I will follow you there

And row through the nighttime,
so healthy,
gone healthy all of a sudden,

In search of a midwife
who can help me
who can help me,

help me find my way back in.
And there are worries where I’ve been.

And say, say, say, in the lee of the bay
don’t be bothered.
Leave your troubles here,
where the tugboats shear the water from the water
(flanked by furrows, curling back, like a match held up to a newspaper).

Emily, they’ll follow your lead by the letter.
And I make this claim, and I’m not ashamed to say I knew you better.
What they’ve seen is just a beam of your sun that banishes winter.

Let us go! Though we know it’s a hopeless endeavor.
The ties that bind, they are barbed and spined, and hold us close forever.

Though there is nothing would help me come to grips with
a sky that is gaping and yawning,
there is a song I woke with on my lips,
as you sailed your great ship towards the morning.

*

Come on home. The poppies are all grown knee-deep by now.
Blossoms all have fallen, and the pollen ruins the plow.
Peonies nod in the breeze,
and while they wetly bow
with hydrocephalitic listlessness,
ants mop up their brow.

And everything with wings is restless, aimless, drunk and dour;
butterflies and birds collide at hot, ungodly hours.
And my clay-colored motherlessness rangily reclines —
Come on home, now! All my bones are dolorous with vines.

Pa pointed out to me, for the hundredth time tonight,
the way the ladle leads to a dirt-red bullet of light.

Squint skyward and listen —
loving him, we move within his borders:
just asterisms in the stars’ set order.

We could stand for a century,
staring,
with our heads cocked,
in the broad daylight, at this thing:

Joy,
landlocked in bodies that don’t keep —
dumbstruck with the sweetness of being,
till we don’t be.
Told: take this.
And eat this.

Told: the meteorite is the source of the light,
And the meteor’s just what we see;
And the meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee.

And the meteorite is just what causes the light,
And the meteor’s how it’s perceived;
And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee.

Monkey & Bear

Down in the green hay,
where monkey and bear usually lay,
they woke from a stable-boy’s cry.
He said: “someone come quick —
the horses got loose, got grass-sick —
they’ll founder! Fain, they’ll die.”

What is now known by the sorrel and the roan?
By the chestnut, and the bay, and the gelding grey?
It is: stay by the gate you are given.
And remain in your place, for your season.
And had the overfed dead but listened
to the high-fence, horse-sense, wisdom…

“Did you hear that, bear?” said
monkey, “we’ll get out of here, fair and square
they left the gate open wide!

“So, my bride.

“Here is my hand. Where is your paw?
Try and understand my plan, Ursala.
My heart is a furnace
full of love that's just, and earnest.
Now.
You know that we must unlearn this
allegiance to a life of service,
and no longer answer to that heartless
hay-monger, nor be his accomplice —
(the charlatan, with artless hustling!)
But Ursala, we’ve got to eat something,
and earn our keep, while still within
the borders of the land that man has girded,
(all double-bolted and tightfisted!),
until we reach the open country,
a-steeped in milk and honey.
Will you keep your fancy clothes on, for me?
Can you bear a little longer to wear that leash?

“My love, I swear by the air I breathe:
Sooner or later, you’ll bare your teeth.

“But for now, just dance, darling.
C’mon, will you dance, my darling?
Darling, there’s a place for us;
can we go, before I turn to dust?
My darling there’s a place for us.

“Darling. C’mon will you dance,
My darling?
The hills are groaning with excess,
like a table ceaselessly being set.
My darling we will get there yet.”

They trooped past the guards,
past the coops, and the fields, and the
farmyards, all night, till finally,

the space they gained
grew much farther than
the stone that bear threw,
to mark where they’d stop for tea.

But,
“Walk a little faster,
don’t look backwards —

“your feast is to the East, which lies a little past the pasture.

“When the blackbirds hear tea whistling they rise and clap.
Their applause caws the kettle black.
And we can’t have none of that!
Move along, Bear; there, there; that’s that.”

(Though cast in plaster,
our Ursala’s heart beat faster
than monkey’s ever will.)

But still,
they have got to pay the bills.
Hadn’t they?
That is what the monkey'd say.
So, with the courage of a clown, or a cur,
or a kite, jerking tight at its tether,
in her dun-brown gown of fur,
and her jerkin of
swansdown and leather,
Bear would sway on her hind legs;
the organ would grind dregs of song,
for the pleasure
of the children who’d shriek,
throwing coins at her feet,
then recoiling in terror.

Sing, “dance, darling.
C’mon, will you dance, my darling?
Darling, there’s a place for us;
can we go, before I turn to dust?
My darling there’s a place for us.

“Darling.
C’mon, will you dance, my darling?
You keep your eyes fixed on the highest hill,
where you’ll ever-after eat your fill.
O my darling…dear…mine…if you dance,
dance darling and I'll love you still.”

*

Deep in the night
shone a weak and miserly light,
where the monkey shouldered his lamp.
Someone had told him the
bear’d been wandering a fair piece away
from where they were camped.
Someone had told him
the bear had been sneaking away,
to the seaside caverns, to bathe;
and the thought troubled the monkey,
for he was afraid of spelunking
down in those caves.
Also afraid what the
village people would say,
if they saw the bear in that state —
lolling and splashing obscenely
well, it seemed irrational, really,
washing that face;
washing that matted and flea-bit pelt
in some sea-spit-shine —
old kelp dripping with brine.
But monkey just laughed, and he muttered,
“When she comes back, Ursala will be bursting with pride —
till I jump up!
Saying, ‘You’ve been rolling in muck!
Saying, ‘You smell of garbage and grime!’”

But far out,
far out,
by now,
by now —
far out, by now, Bear ploughed,
Because she would
Not drown:

First the outside-legs of the bear
up and fell down, in the water, like knobby garters,
Then the outside-arms of the bear
fell off, as easy as if sloughed
from boiled tomatoes.
Low’red in a genteel curtsy,
bear shed the mantle of her
diluvian shoulders;
and, with a sigh,
she allowed the burden of belly to drop,
like an apronfull of boulders.

If you could hold up her
threadbare coat to the light,
where it’s worn translucent in places,
you’d see spots where,
almost every night of the year,
Bear had been mending,
suspending that baseness.

Now her coat drags through the water,
bagging, with a life’s-worth of hunger,
limitless minnows;

in the magnetic embrace,
balletic and glacial,
of bear’s insatiable shadow —

Left there!
Left there!
When bear
Left bear;

Left there,
Left there,
When bear
stepped clear of bear.

(Sooner or later you'll bury your teeth)

Sawdust & Diamonds

From the top of the flight
of the wide, white stairs,
through the rest of my life,
do you wait for me there?

There’s a bell in my ears.
There’s the wide, white roar.
Drop a bell down the stairs.
Hear it fall forevermore.
Hear it fall forevermore.

Drop a bell off of the dock.
Blot it out in the sea.
Drowning mute as a rock;
and sounding mutiny.

There’s a light in the wings, hits the system of strings,
from the side, where they swing —
see the wires, the wires, the wires.
And the articulation in our elbows and knees
makes us buckle;
and we couple in endless increase
as the audience admires.

And the little white dove,
made with love, made with love;
made with glue, and a glove, and some pliers

swings a low sickle arc, from its perch in the dark:
settle down, settle down, my desire.

And the moment I slept, I was swept up in a terrible tremor.
Though no longer bereft, how I shook! And I couldn’t remember.
And then the furthermost shake drove a murthering stake in,
and cleft me right down through my center.
And I shouldn’t say so, but I know that it was then, or never.

Push me back into a tree.
Bind my buttons with salt.
Fill my long ears with bees
praying please please please love
you ought not
No you ought not

And then the system of strings tugs on the tip of my wings
(cut from cardboard and old magazines):
makes me warble and rise, like a sparrow.
And in the place where I stood, there is a circle of wood —
a cord or two — which you chop, and you stack in your barrow.
It is terribly good to carry water and chop wood,
streaked with soot, heavy-booted and wild-eyed;
as I crash through the rafters,
and the ropes and the pulleys trail after
and the holiest belfry burns sky-high.

And then the slow lip of fire moves across the prairie with precision,
while, somewhere, with your pliers and glue, you make your first incision.
And in a moment of almost-unbearable vision,
doubled over with the hunger of lions,
Hold me close, cooed the dove,
who was stuffed, now, with sawdust and diamonds.

I wanted to say: Why the long face.
Sparrow, perch and play songs of long face.
Burro, buck and bray songs of long face!
Sing, I will swallow your sadness, and eat your cold clay,
just to lift your long face;
And though it may be madness, I will take to the grave
your precious longface.
And though our bones they may break, and our souls separate —
Why the long face?
And though our bodies recoil from the grip of the soil —
Why the long face?

And in the trough of the waves,
which are pawing like dogs,
pitch we, pale-faced and grave,
as I write in my log.

Then I hear a noise from the hull,
seven days out to sea.
And it is the damnable bell!
And it tolls — well, I believe that it tolls — it tolls for me.
And it tolls for me.

And though my wrists and my waist seemed so easy to break,
still, my dear, I’d have walked you to the edge of the water.
And they will recognize all the lines of your face
in the face of the daughter of the daughter of my daughter.

And darling, we will be fine; but what was yours and mine
appears to me a sandcastle
that the gibbering wave takes.
But if it’s all just the same, then will you say my name;
say my name in the morning, so that I know when the wave breaks.

I wasn’t born of a whistle, or milked from a thistle at twilight.
No; I was all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright.

So: enough of this terror.
We deserve to know light,
and grow evermore lighter and lighter.
You would have seen me through,
But I could not undo that desire.

O, desire!
O, desire!
O, desire!
Desire, desire, desire, desire.

From the top of the flight
of the wide, white stairs
Through the rest of my life
Do you wait for me there?

Only Skin

And there was a booming above you,
that night black airplanes flew over the sea.
And they were lowing and shifting like
beached whales,
shelled snails,
as you strained and you squinted to see
the retreat of their hairless and blind cavalry.

You froze in your sand shoal,
prayed for your poor soul;
sky was a bread roll, soaking in a milk-bowl.

And when the bread broke —
fell in bricks of wet smoke —
my sleeping heart woke, and my waking heart spoke.

Then there was a silence you took to mean something:
Run, sing,
for alive you will evermore be.
And the plague of the greasy black engines a-skulking
has gone east,
while you’re left to explain them to me —
released
from their hairless and blind cavalry.

With your hands in your pockets,
stubbily running
to where I’m unfresh,
undressed and yawning —

Well, what is this craziness?
This crazy talking?
You caught some small death
when you were sleepwalking.

It was a dark dream, darlin;
it’s over.
The firebreather is beneath the clover.
Beneath his breathing there is cold clay, forever:
a toothless hound-dog choking on a feather.

But I took my fishing pole (fearing your fever),
down to the swimming hole, where there grows a bitter herb
that blooms but one day a year, by the riverside —
I’d bring it here:

Apply it gently
to the love you’ve lent me.

While the river was twisting and braiding, the bait bobbed
and the string sobbed,
as it cut through the hustling breeze.

And I watched how the water was kneading so neatly,
gone treacly,
nearly slowed to a stop in this heat;
in a frenzy coiling flush along the muscles beneath.

Press on me,
we are restless things.
Webs of seaweed are swaddling.
And you call upon the dusk of the
musk of a squid:
shot full of ink, until you sink into your crib.

Rowing along, among the reeds, among the rushes,
I heard your song, before my heart had time to hush it!
Smell of a stonefruit being cut and being opened.
Smell of a low and of a lazy cinder smoking

And when the fire moves away,
fire moves away, son.
Why would you say
I was the last one?

Scrape your knee: it is only skin.
Makes the sound of violins.

And when I cut your hair, and leave the birds all of the trimmings,
I am the happiest woman among all women.

And the shallow water stretches as far as I can see.
Knee deep, trudging along —
the seagull weeps ‘so long’ —
humming a threshing song —

Until the night is over, hold on,
hold on;
hold your horses back from the fickle dawn.

I have got some business out at the edge of town,
candy weighing both of my pockets down
till I can hardly stay afloat, from the weight of them
(and knowing how the commonfolk condemn
what it is I do, to you, to keep you warm:
Being a woman. Being a woman.)

But always up the mountainside you’re clambering,
groping blindly, hungry for anything;
picking through your pocket linings —
well, what is this?
Scrap of sassafras, eh Sisyphus?

I see the blossoms broke and wet after the rain.
Little sister, he will be back again.
I have washed a thousand spiders down the drain.
Spiders’ ghosts hang, soaked and
dangling silently, from all the blooming cherry trees,
in tiny nooses, safe from everyone —
nothing but a nuisance; gone now, dead and done —
Be a woman. Be a woman.

Though we felt the spray of the waves,
we decided to stay, 'till the tide rose too far.
We weren’t afraid, cause we know what you are;
and you know that we know what you are.

Awful atoll —
O, incalculable indiscreetness and sorrow!
Bawl bellow:
Sibyl sea-cow, all done up in a bow.
Toddle and roll;
teethe an impalpable bit of leather,
while yarrow, heather and hollyhock
awkwardly molt along the shore.

Are you mine?
My heart?
Mine anymore?

Stay with me for awhile.
That’s an awfully real gun.
I know life will lay you down,
as the lightning has lately done.

Failing this, failing this,
follow me, my sweetest friend,
to see what you anointed,
in pointing your gun there.
Lay it down! Nice and slow!
There is nowhere to go,

save up;
up where the light, undiluted, is
weaving, in a drunk dream,
at the sight of my baby, out back:

back on the patio,
watching the bats bring night in

— while, elsewhere,
estuaries of wax-white
wend, endlessly, towards seashores unmapped.

*

Last week, our picture window
produced a half-word,
heavy and hollow,
hit by a brown bird.

We stood and watched her gape like a rattlesnake
and pant and labor over every intake.

I said a sort of prayer for some rare grace,
then thought I ought to take her to a higher place.
Said, “dog nor vulture nor cat shall toy with you,
and though you die, bird, you will have a fine view.”

Then in my hot hand, she slumped her sick weight.
We tramped through the poison oak, heartbroke and inchoate.
The dogs were snapping, and you cuffed their collars
while I climbed the tree-house. Then how I hollered!

Well she’d lain, as still as a stone, in my palm, for a lifetime or two;
then saw the treetops, cocked her head, and up and flew.
(While back in the world that moves, often, according to
the hoarding of these clues,
dogs still run roughly around
little tufts of finch-down.)

And the cities we passed were a flickering wasteland,
but his hand, in my hand, made them hale and harmless.

While down in the lowlands, the crops are all coming;
we have everything.

Life is thundering blissful towards death

in a stampede
of his fumbling green gentleness.

You stopped by;
I was all alive.
In my doorway, we shucked and jived.
And when you wept, I was gone;
see, I got gone when I got wise.
But I can’t with certainty say we survived.

Then down and down
and down and down
and down and deeper,
stoke, without sound,
the blameless flames,
you endless sleeper.

Through fire below,
and fire above,
and fire within,

sleep through the things that couldn’t have been,
if you hadn’t have been.

And when the fire moves away,
fire moves away, son.
And why would you say
I was the last one?

All my bones, they are gone, gone, gone.
Take my bones, I don’t need none.
Cold, cold cupboard, lord, nothing to chew on!
Suck all day on a cherry stone.
Dig a little hole not three inches round —
Spit your pit in a hole in the ground.
Weep upon the spot for the starving of me!
Till up grows a fine young cherry tree.
When the bough breaks, what’ll you make for me?
A little willow cabin to rest on your knee.
Well, what will I do with a trinket such as this?
Think of your woman, who’s gone to the west.
But I’m starving and freezing in my measly old bed!
Then I’ll crawl across the salt flats, to stroke your sweet head.
Come across the desert with no shoes on!
I love you truly,
or I love no-one.

Fire moves away. Fire moves away, son.
Why would you say that I was the last one?
Last one?

Clear the room! There’s a fire, a fire, a fire.
Get going,
and I’m going to be right behind you.

And if the love of a woman or two, dear,
could move you to such heights,
then all I can do
is do, my darling, right by you.

Cosmia

When you ate,
I saw your eyelashes.
Saw them shake like
wind on rushes.

In the cornfield,
when she called me

Moths surround me.
Thought they’d drown me.

And I miss your precious heart.
And I miss your precious heart.

Dried rose petals —
redbrown circles —
frame your eyes and
stain your knuckles.

Dried rose petals —
redbrown circles —
frame your eyes and
stain your knuckles.

And all those lonely nights
down by the river,
brought me bread and water
(Water, in.);

But though I tried so hard,
my little darlin,
I couldn’t keep the night from coming in.

And all those lonely nights
down by the river,
brought me bread and water
by the kith and the kin;

Now in the quiet hour,
when I am sleeping,
I cannot keep the night from coming in.

Why’ve you gone away?
Gone away again?
I’ll sleep through the rest of my days,
if you’ve gone away again.
I’ll sleep through the rest of my days.
And I will sleep through the rest of my days.
And I'll sleep through the rest of my days.

Why’ve you gone away.
Seven suns, seven suns away, away.
Away, away.

Can you hear me? Will you listen?
Don’t come near me. Don’t go missing.
And in the lissome light of evening:
Help me, Cosmia; I’m grieving.

And all those lonely nights
down by the river,
Brought me bread and water
(Water, in.);

But though I tried so hard,
my little darlin,
I couldn’t keep the night from coming in.

And all those lonely nights
down by the river
brought me bread and water
in the kith and the kin;

Now in the quiet hour,
when I am sleeping,
I cannot keep the night from coming in.

*

Beneath the porch-light
we’ve all been circling.
Beat our dust hearts;
singe our flour wings.
But in the corner,
something is happening!
Wild Cosmia, what have you seen?

Water were your limbs,
and the fire was your hair —
and then the moonlight caught your eye,
and you rose through the air
well, if you’ve seen true light,
then this is my prayer:

will you call me, when you get there?

And I miss your precious heart;
And I miss your precious heart;
and miss, and miss, and miss,
& miss, & miss, &
miss, & miss, & miss your heart.

But release your precious heart,
to its feast, for precious hearts.
ImageImageImage

be well
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NEO
 
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