Bin Ramke

Who Is Dying

I witnessed in winter
boys careless with machinery
slice thin wafers of oak.
I am careful with machinery.
In another dream the raw tree cunningly
cut into meaning, meaning beyond me

piercings, none at right angles, they slide
smoothly they are a geometry a death inches wide
such as dreams might be.
I had the chance to speak to, or
about my mother, who is dying. I
did not accept the offer
I spoke to my child, who is dying,
but not about death, yes about death
to my small one.
I am thinking about the body
of my lover, no, not mine,
a body who is dying, I
am thinking about the dying
bodies of those we war against.
They are not really dying they are
on television. They have bodies,
bodies of photons which fire off
the screen into my eyes.
I hate them, my eyes which are dying
but will not pluck them out, biblical. You
speak to your body about dying
if it has ears to hear with. Ears
of the dying close slow against
pressure, the air compressed
into waves; the eyes of the dying
close rapidly against photons,
particles which persuade
eyes to close one last
time as in sleep, as if sleeping.
My mother who is dying does not speak.
I am not afraid of smells I do not
like them. I am afraid of the smell
Of certain cooking, not all, some small
bodied animals are dangerous to smell
when cooked—poisonous. I do not
like the smell of most things but some
are love, are lovely in an evening
the peaks of the mountains
still light, lightened by the sun
it has no smell the sun, the
mountains do and some evenings you
can smell them from here, here.
My child, my wife, my child is dying but
it will take a very long time. Is this
curse or cure, a blessing? Yes.
A thing you can learn from the movies
to die. The movies are about death,
the funny ones. The cartoons.
We used to go to the movies whenever,
just pay and walk in then when
it got round to that spot again
someone would say “this is where
we came in” and we family
would excuse itself and walk sideways
Out. All were,
I was womb. Or tomb. No, wound.
It was a game we played (it wasn’t)
we were small and had no rules.
Like flowers we were, like lilies of
the field we neither spoiled not
tinned foods for winter. We had
choices no choices in re: how to live
how not, what to bite what to suck
when, when not. All games are
first then come rules then losers no
Winners. Not this pig, he said
that was another game
Early in summer before the drought
made the world seethe
molecular hatred of their bonds
Carbon to Hydrogen to Potassium
anxious for liberation attacking itself
like girls in the girlsroom with blades
bleeding delirious. See, here are
Scars. O earth. Coins
of wood to take, to spend.
My lover (I have no) my lover’s
Body is not me, mine, my body (I have
none) less of her than I can live
no body but my lover’s lives
beneath my fingertips, crescent
of her nails, my hands caress did
once caress, this white spot under
my nail has been climbing toward
Oblivion, O love O careless
and gone but my lover’s body
rests inside a cave of bone, echoes
within this cavern of bone, dissolves into
Calcium Carbonate—the world as my
lover’s body—I have no world—you
as an other, Lover. Jasmine smell
that way, they crowd into the window
aggressive and small floral bodies
pushing pushing entwining
into accidental nets
like morning glories’ floral anger
a weaving willful and
other green ways
to be in love: to die, to read, to
make little drawings on the napkin,
to watch the nail polish dry, to call
our small mother on the telephone
and listen as she breathes and
as her heart beats reminiscent of
whose wombish listenings cavernous
which you did not know but were.
My lover’s body has no edge
continues as your eyes your finer you
finger tips your tongue pursues.

He did once rise from her bed,
she still asleep he packed his things
he walked the morning streets of her
city he arrived at the airport to find
her there waiting she made him a
drawing a gift to appease anger.
He touched her hand it was a small
accident a small hand in public
he flew modernly away then returned.
The story has no end is an end.
The drawing was a map of the cave.
Her body dissolves then forms again.

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review