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2 poems by
Thomas Kristopher
> bio


“Dead flies will cause even a bottle
of perfume to stink”.
- Ecc. 10:1
“I made a model of you…
And a love of the rack and the
And I said I do, I do…”
- Sylvia Plath, “Daddy”
Billy, Billy, these pairs of shoes

will not do

you will not do
black shoes.
You buy me tight, black shoes
and leather laces,
but I cannot wear them.
You do not buy me any socks.
And, of course, the Greeks,
you begin to say,
“ You like those Greeks…I
have not forgotten.”
It’s too simple to reply.
‘I know the Greeks went without
And then
you come up with
a lady’s game
since I’m so fragile,
I comply.
‘Let’s play this lady’s game,’ I say.
“I knew you would, though.”
At Etna, there you put me,
I was almost falling; I’m
But why worry over these

I’m already qualified

to play


by being with you,

the length I had been,
who else could stand these rules?
I leaned forward.

“Say: Etna, Etna, thee I love.”

‘Etna, Etna,

thee I loathe.’

“Love, love.”
‘Love. love.’
We’re far too high; I see Tibet.
“Say, I love Etna for her sublime beauty.”
You speak this Catullus ode to Wordsworth:

Ad claras Asiae volemus urbes.

But black shoes,

it is beautiful versus


‘I love Etna because she is sublime. I would not count her
“That isn’t what I said. Balance on your heels.”
‘I love Etna for her sublime
“I love Billy.
I love Billy. Say it. …I love Billy.”
‘I love Billy! There. I said it. I
would like to leave now.’
“But, I haven’t experienced your terror. You
haven’t convinced me
Etna is sublime.”
‘I have terror.’
“Prove it.”
Black shoe, black shoe,
you treat me as a heel.
I’ve been restricted by design
when I dreamed to be a foot,
and for the soul that keeps me.

I am not a heel; you

mythologize the smallest unit
and I keep trying to suggest
that some of history is still fiction.
‘I have Jewish grandparents.’
“Ah, but isn’t Buddha universal?”
You’ve become quite obsessed with
this word:
Buddha Buddha Buddha
“Buddha went barefoot…
‘I love thee Etna. You’re sublime.’
…He never wore a shoe. He never used a cup.
He scooped with his hands.
He kept his fingers together,
and scooped.”
‘I have no use with Buddha.

He never recognized my name.’

What happened is the wind.
The squall from the wing of a butterfly at Pompeii,
Your eyes were as dark as coughing crows,
I saw them in Beijing.

“Buddha is the wind.”

Beijing, of all places.
‘Oh. He is the wind?

Doesn’t Buddha prefer exasperating?’

“You, at least, can feel his breath.”
He touches me on my shoulder.
“When you speak to him, he’ll breathe hardest
And, when
I fell from Etna—
I was busy with recitations of Billy’s dominating tongue.

































































































The safety of mediating apparatuses as lovers

Let’s live love as holograms
that cannot ever feel,
& flicker sex as shadow puppets,
as if motion is the real.
What mess revolves in holograms?
No danger in importing death
to us, or each; and not to love…
We’re either leaving, or we’ve left.
I dream of us, we empty hulls
where without your skin, I am

in love,

knowing that we cannot
hurt the other hologram.
To say as every light thinks dim,
the shadow puppets, the static air
was the mechanic lull of God –
and His absent stare.



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, copyright 2003, Raymond Prucher /