maureen alsopnerve_bios_3.html

Tall Cocktails at Alexandra


An owl’s talon stirs the mixed drink. My eye measures

the inexact nature of movement—songbirds

over the river grass, the stellar green halo

of a titmouse. Another Cognac Sunday.  Another

hill of ice bears the meadow

and dulls feed beneath snow. Blood


is a sash of sweet vermouth that travels

without witness over this embellished field. A dead shelter

of trees live in my throat as the language

of flesh dreams the accident at random—a quiver in the shank;

a loud fever sounding the skull.  The skill

the soul sips itself.





Nightshade


The reticulated song of a sparrow formed

the window ledge         before the thread

of music triumphed the heart.     You were pulling

your stockings up in front of the gold edge

of the mirror.    A small oval

ran down the calf; rain-fresh newspaper

smeared the gloss mahogany bureau,

& a dime store scarf slipped over the lamp


conjured a fog-dim reflection

of spring.    Out the window

bird lice under quickery’s snap branch

in the grapefruit tree.        You shed

yourself of the century & aimlessly


loved the spout & sorrowful carrier

of that small wild lung     guarding

your hysteria     by little nicks    little wishes


song purging lipstick stains

on glass        a language


untouched by human sound     the still

shade of a room you will not enter        the stranger

who watches you hold bravely into that dark listening.






Diagram of a Human Heart 3


Dawn weighs on the boughs of unripe pears

& melts the morning frost

which has collected like a gray bruise.  Brushwood


carries through me       as I walk     imagining

myself as human.  After the wake


a flat arithmetic streamed through my head

like tickertape: in speed exacting

incalculable sums of grief


multiplied by longing.  A

flush of summer light

rusts, then wilts.





Joshua, Breaking


Joshua, grey, variant gray, your eyes—one

plumbago & peacock plume     the other

saguaro green.   You told me how


you wanted to live, then readied

your body into ash & snow & swept

the canyon; you whispered now.


The night rose, the hallow of my forearm

weighted by the dream in your head.  & we continued


to lay resting under moss-caked-stone.  Without

dangers.  Centuries.  A deluge of sun.  Days

passed over without temperament.  Memory


was a flock of quail scattered, the road stopped

in brambles.  Now you said, as I tore

the edge of my slip on cholla, as the noose

over your neck tightened.





William Shakespeare Collage Sonnet 108:

A Dead Man Wakes Up During His Own Autopsy  21 Sept. 2007


What’s in the drunken unsaid brain?  

A glass tips between tequila & lip;

what’s in the drunken unsaid brain?

No rain but a pile of palm fronds flood

the midroad. Scabs bloom up & wrinkle the chin.


Doc, you could pass my liver off

as a migraine doused in formaldehyde,

aluminum, a handful of peanut

m&m’s, the last place my soul broke open

into prayer & time & I         & I no longer.

What’s here now in this small room of my living?  


Speech registers the lack, the luck,

a hallowed swimmer.  Mojave air

might fill the lung, aye the spirit

counts each day’s page o’er & outward

as the house of the eye, wakes

bright as a peacock sequin.