Trina Burke

The O, Iseult, Bone-Dive Imperative

Iseult said always to her end day:
I used to be in love.
Ill  fated love favorite of Celts
I in love:
used love        
to be

Wait long
by a golden hair
unaccountably found
It is un-love
to be in situ.
O tie I deus

Misunderstanding rampant
Purpose full of miscommunicate
Black sail white sail—what matter,
Breton wife, if I love you
not? Have we not
both benefited?
To be in love
is to be used.

Fie on life want
Fell he on knife
Late she
Die indeed so
lone I be
‘til die I done
too soon.





Who needs stars in this dumpster carpet
tableaux? Felt hat felt hat felt, it’s
like one, all head-bang. It’s
hand-woven by the women this carpet
for standing. It’s woven in clashing colors
of cotton fabric——orange/blue/
red. A damper, a mat that sucks
vibration, cuts off, mutes before
it reaches the feet but those feet
have got that carpet licked.
They don’t tell——the shudders travel
a rhythm and a tempo lined and rutted
like a no man’s land.
He’s laying down the groove lifting
and stamping like he’s never done it
before, like it’s all he’s ever done.

Why didn’t those women weave birds?
Just lines and colors——cerulean and taupe.
Why, when we weave, do we weave rugs?
A melody——that’s what.
Something more than rows, more than pattern.
Like melting a box of crayons together.
First: dump them out on the ground.
Then: Unwrap each one——aubergine,
tourmaline. Then mount them against
each other, like a fire pile
or a tepee. On the sidewalk.
In full sun. By dusk a puddle of hues.
A hunk of all-at-onceness.

Tuning——Getting closer but still
with waver, he writes, too. On
notation paper.
Cruising true-believer. Blazing
ukulele. Classic frets. Pulse

blue light blue night lighthouse.
We’re talking about the buzz
of radiator in the corner. Heat
and buzz and concentric ripples
and obstacles. Meet obstacles——
The bay horizon turned on
its side makes an elegant —Y—
a wine glass full of cliff-
covered pine.
The old port is swarming——storm it.
The docks, be-broken planks ramshackle stack
ships throw out their hempen ropes and miss.
A collision can’t be avoided for long.




Synaesthesia and the Waiting

Firestorm over sea rocks——_
phreatic spine in the distance,
might overshoot the upturned mouth
of the sky and spill out
like paint in water, run back
down its disked ladder
in rivulets over the ocean canyon——
where sea pours by tens of tons,
a pendulum.

It might be the face of Jupiter,
its gaseous hues inventing
like fogblood.
One can mistake a still pocket
for land, another for sky
if it’s a brown one
proximal to gray.

Water rarely makes
chords and there are no
characteristic anomalies
of sound. One
must be guided.
One can’t be trusted
with toxic heavy metals
that could deaden
the sepia-toned grottoes. 

The spin upon descent
as the eye tours the virgin.
From below she is featureless,
a monolith, middle C
among the black keys, her breast
reaching to counsel     
the adolescent birch.
Not long now.




Riverbed Canzone

A canister of can-can
curses the alluvium of winter melt.
Can the 12th of the month be
worse? Can’t be ides, can’t be ideas.
Deposit in the bank——
Can pebbles be prodigal sediment a-
symmetry? Simple canal
drops for the mouths of bottom-feeding muscles.
Feeder creeks accrete to flow,
aspire to river volume, can’t but dry up.
No small amount of matter.
Juggernauts of failure, creeks little matter.

Matted tresses of river-
grass can mean a troll or merrow below bridge,
might mean wet fecundity
depending on the matter’s disposition.
Beware, be-cursed without per-
mission to walk, to matter in one’s own right,
or to anti-matter, as
one wishes. The banks are “V” for victory.
The banks hand out lollipops
to matterly customers.
Non-nutritive feed for youthful baby teeth.
Feed rock candy addiction.

Feed Swedish fish, said sweetish fish, such sweet, kind
fish. Only a matter of shift-
ing allegiances to feeding and flavor
or feeding and favorite
fish disposition. Canned sweet rice wine for our
river nigiri. Feed ruins the
dish altogether, feed ruins the raw fish.
Curses, the toil is ruined
again. Accursed too many chefs in
the river. Feed of bottom-
speak, under breath, in bank
vaults, spending the bankers’ malleable time.

Time banks to the left and rights
itself. Time feeds the baby and puts it down.
The bank serves a different god.
The bank serves rolls with meat or without, as
you wish. A matter of taste
only. The bank is an institutional
state apparatus. One banks to
fit in. Can you dig it——clams from shore muck?
Canned clams in juice from the store.
A bank is no place to dine at this time but
perhaps the curse will lift on
Tuesday, the cursorily overlooked day.

A curse for a hook to fish
for a lifetime got from the bank on credit.
A curse in the purse to pay
for lunch, a curse on a horse to save the day.
Feed on the negative
energy of curses in lieu of Pisces,
let the fish swim their cursive
routes. It doesn’t matter, the rainy season
has come and river matter
courses downstream as we speak.
Spend your currency while you can, if you can.
Can you, will you? Yes you should.

Yes you can, you live in a
canyon of yes. Of course you can do what you wish.
As soon as you’ve cleaned the bank
of junk, you may feed the fish.
You may dine fine on all that stink and matter.