White Blood of a Poet


Alifair Skebe







The moment of ecstasy is the moment of breathing

in and out of the lungs, a deep diaphragm breath

(there never was a diaphragm, he said)


mathematica erotica


of burning holes in burning ships and thoughts fleeting,

uncharted, blown like aerospace chips.


How excited we get at the possibility of tomorrow’s news,

of trash day.


Charting thoughts fathoms deep, surfacing.

Freud’s iconic image on a smashed penny.


For two quarters and a copper, a circus machine spat out

an embossed likeness of the man’s white-bearded visage.


To engrave the face, requires the machine, the poet, the mind.

Freud beams on a nightstand or a tripod for soap


in a borrowed room, sleeping and waking;

to think of the self, in betterment of health.


To “be good to yourself” means

rest rather than play

(and always a romantic getaway)


the place where he won’t stop you from singing

or rip into your soul




Psyche smote from the cliff—

Athene in her hand.






She said something was missing.

They’re like beads on a string.


Bead-words shimmering with

no connection but the string.


(Did she know that is the art?)


Hejinian doesn’t give me pleasure

like Nerval or Pound,


and even Stein—a true Modernist;

she breeds poems

like pedigree pups.


I do hope it’s sunny in Austin this weekend.






The skin expands too quickly in relation to becoming,

the former being loss and gain that quickens the skin


no longer a little egg

and little feet

little hands


the picture of transparent organs

whereupon loss and gain imprints the mind


a few pounds of flesh

(what is my worth?)


a signature, a heartbeat, a breath between lung and tongue

like blood it is, Faust in his


drawing room

(I in my cap)


consternation once held

for hibernation


a loss—a dream

a gain inside


without speaking, natural bond

my flesh is your flesh


my body given

a pattern of wanting



has even its limits.




IV.  Cloudbridge


waves of white



this is all I know—

this is all I can ever know—


disappearing into vantage point

a peak


distance varies

side beside


wave of valleys

piecemeal peaks


patterns of limit

horizon climate


inclement weather

postpone desire


flesh under wing

black crow descends


his eye—a thousand rivers

seen blank and coursing


a thousand skyless

nights and days


Promethean exertion

casts his stone from embankment—


a cloudbridge

what is below must be Earth


or together inherent

pattern of sun


here is where the sun shines

here is where light touches


bleeding heat

wounded waters

flow down






Did I say what I wanted to say?

Just as simple as desire


(desire is no simple thing)

bareback water drowning serpent

heifer swan white white white

this thing called mass

quantity shorn

against creek


let coursing flow

like dam could break


want not the same as dream



key into door

eyehole peeping


door not curtains

double and French-paned






roughly twelve glass panes

separate sight from seen


blessed for the dirge worn

time-spent lastly virgin


motion sickness

movement to beyond


second sight

blind—the wise in apathy


avert eye

pheasant waits in the corner


of the scene

as framed oil painting


Blakeian poison deity tap root

down sun ray


beats heat

gold yellow power


method surely drowns

(my life was lost in translation)


breath hollow



transforms itself to inner light

compass points from center


out radius

the point is lusting from the body up


read Hecuba or Hades

so sudden


redden poise peruse

lusting like mice


lust is a ruse

read shock Ra


double helix turning on itself

death in life










Alifair Skebe is a visual artist and author of the poetry collections Thin Matter, “El Agua Es La Sangre de la Tierra” (written in English) and Love Letters: Les Cartes Postales, a book of poems and collaged, text-art postcards.  She is an English/Writing Lecturer in the Educational Opportunity Program at the University at Albany.