Jascha Hoffman

Midnight Angels

after Castro Alves, "Os Anjos da Meia Noite: Photographias"

When the living dead
and the gravestone angels
           arc the night
on cushions soaked in sweat
and even the throat-broken pines creak and groan:

When the blood light swells
from its socket, fades and then surges
            like a sweating soul,
singing out its own fever to the
ripe mask of madness:

When everything shivers and melts,
switches on and hums, throbs then reveals
            rivets and scrims:
Then the dark worlds get
bucked in spasms and some spasms start to leak:

So when the pale threads that rip
the midnight into Angels start to fray,
            we all line up and I murmur
in the corner: these are the Angels
of my love life past just streaming by,

who pruned the drama from
from my sperm: women I loved
            Angels! bitches! virgins!
Waking the strains of an endless
evening on a cracked mandolin:

And in the ether, one by one
these visions rise up
            and go streaming:


Like a fisherman drying
            his net on a naked hook
she chops her hair off. Fold
            it all in tin foil.

My palm glancing a breast
            seizing her hand. Swelling
and feel her yield and even
            the night knows she won't last.

Cobbles can't kill the spiral
            steps up to a ledge where
kisses kill and kill and can

            Marieta spark my heaving
shock and gasp as Juliet
            does Romeo for good?


Blonde between her eyes,
            bleach teeth + bled lips,
horny shoulders, witchhazel

            shins + kiddy feet:
eyes alive like mirrors
            open on a total lack of

throat like a breath of music
            the lip: a kiss      the kiss: a clip
on a wound string waiting for

            wind      that's Barbara for you


Come on there's a cock in
            your stuck lung so so so
get in my sleeping bag

            with a cold wind bleating on
this bank where scarecrows
            spin. O take this lyre and sing
the threats of your wanderers

no no: you start a sect
            by stealing the idol's arm.
Talk secession then you leave so

            a star gets stuck in the seaweed
and Esther your face cracking
            the only smell I have left:



Like lemurs pinging the vastness
            you look like the rare whore who
perched with corpselike logic

            says night night:    night night
Fabiola      (that's you)   a cry
            seared up to heaven

smoldering like a sore
            ripped from its scabbard
pumping the night full of

            more + more horror
and blood  (refried in a pan)
            and blood  (blossoming like brains)

and this blood is my blood



Near a tank at Sea World
            two white swans in the gutter
chilled out on dolphin water.

            A pair of swayed stalks:
a lily and a lily and a violet
            in the arms of some vine:

two orbits swiveled inward
            like the first buds of ivy and
I let you pass through my night,

            kids, bringing me spring,

kids, telling me: swallow



Fetish in the mire,
            trickle in the crag,
crypt flooding with oil:

            we all scream. Make room for
the beggar, the feast
            will wake the poem.

It had to be you, sweetie,
            seizing my agony
like a cross. But if fate

            resist my share,
I'll die for a kiss in
            the kinks of your rosary



Who are you Who are you Dome

before day break Face up in

shadows Fizzed out in free

mists Swooping down from

vaultings Who are you First

screening Fine young blossom

Show me your face O mystery

Where do I know you Another

sphere One I looked all over

for Deflates my chest

in dreams Who are you Who

are you Just my luck

Maybe the best I can hope

for Good maybe the end


© 2003 Electronic Poetry Review