Wednesday, February 25, 2015


photo ~ Harry Redl
Philip Lamantia

I Touch You

I touch you with my eyes when you lie under spiders of silk
I touch you with my one hundred headed giraffes too secret to be seen
the rods & cones the morning covets awaken you
with my touch of tobacco eyes
and you rise from the snail's bed of tubular hair
I touch you with the breath of jet planes
and they are gone elsewhere to touch you too
I won't have you touched by sordid saints
I touch you with the hour that drips scent
snared from the chain of immaculate lice
who avenge themselves forever on the holy of holies
I touch you with the wind heaving the breasts of the morning
I touch you in the overcrowds
and they vanish
replaced by all the women who resemble you
and I touch them with the eyes of the sun
Annihilation of priests
I touch you on the threshold of the totem
carbon salt on the breath of the world
I touch you with my intricate rose superior to the fog
I touch you with heart strings of the veiled mountain
whose magnetic moment is the sight of us making love
I rend your skirt by the wind stolen from ancient castles
your legs secrete the essence of wheat
and your ankles brush the wing of crow
Your lips touch alchemic gold torn from the femur bone of poetry
whispering through archives of your smile
that beguiles the oracle who has a headache to change his legends
I touch your earlobe with the fatal elegance of the peacock lip
your convulsions gallop my heart of the rose hermetic and flushed by goats sighting prey
I touch your nipples
that touch heaven that is all of you touching me
the temple of your hips
the morning glory of your sex
the miracle of bedsheets and the sacrament of sweat
Rhythms of your thighs are the music of the spheres
You are more beautiful than the black buttocks of dawn
and all light has been given to veil you from the murderers of love
I touch your presence undressing the furniture
whose cries fill the distance between us
and you shall hear
when I touch you with telepathic tendrils
for then I'll come into you the light of the walking dream

-   -   -

You wait you wail
Across the silences
That are a struggle in the world
Obstacles said to be conjunctions of Saturn and the Moon
Objects — telephones — are taboo
Taboo the sky curled into leaden pillars
Taboo the river of racing horses
The sun spits on my fingers
Your little finger completes a sentence
Solitude is a flame of sleep
Jungles fold me in passionate bird omens
Where are you
The page is turning against me like a wave of horses
I'm unsteady on this continent
That throws its chains around all of us
As if we weren't here
Orbiting like apples through galaxies of desire
Your countenance in the clock I map
And your hands brushing the hair invisible
Step by step we come closer
To the Thunderbird's retreat
And beauty cries from a lacerated heart

Philip Lamantia
The Collected Poems of Philp Lamantia
edited by Garret Caples
Andrew Koron
Nancy Joyce Peters
(University of California Press 2013)