"You know, I couldn't even manage a goddamned sunset without a little competition from the Firebird Motel sign. Which, relatively speaking, was bigger to begin with and stayed lit one hell of a lot longer."
  • The cover art from one of my most beloved books, just found after years of traveling (originally presumed lost). Illustrations by the wonderful George Herriman.

  • Some evidence of the bibliophilia shown in the film Whisper of the Heart.

  • De Humani Corporis Fabrica by John Burnside.

    De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

    after Vesalius

    I know the names of almost
    nothing

    not the bone
    between my elbow and my wrist
    that sometimes aches
    from breaking 
    years ago

    and not 
    the plumb line
    from the pelvis
    to the knee

    less ache than hum
    where
    in my nineteenth year 
    a blade slit through nerves
    and nicked a vein

    leaving the walls intact
    the valves
    still working
    so the blood kept flooding out
    till Eleanor
    a nurse on evening shift

    opened the wound
    and made me whole again

    I have no words
    for chambers in the heart
    the smaller bones
    the seat of gravity

    or else I know the names
    but not the function:
    ganglia
    the mental foramen
    the hypothalamus
    the duodenum

    Once
    in our old school library
    I took
    a book down from the shelf
    and opened it to stripped flesh
    and the cords
    of muscles
    ribbed and charred
    like something barbecued

    the colours wrong
    the single eye exposed
    a window into primal emptiness

    I sat for hours
    amazed
    and horrified
    as if I had been asked to paraphrase 
    this body with the body I possesed:
    hydraulics for a soul
    cheese-wire for nerves
    a ruff of butcher’s meat
    in place of thought

    I’ve read how Michaelangelo would buy
    a stolen corpse
    to study
    in the dark
    the movement of a joint
    or how a face
    articulates the workings of the heart

    how Stubbs would peel
    the cold hide from a horse
    and peer into the dark machinery
    of savage grace

    but I have never learned
    nor wished to learn
    how bodies work
    other than when they move
    and breathe
    corporis fabrica

    is less to me than how a shudder starts
    and runs along the arm
    towards the wings
    that flex and curl
    between the shoulder blades

    - so I will lie beside you here
    unnamed
    until my hands recover from your skin

    a history of tides
    a flock of birds
    the love that answers love
    when bodies meet

    and map themselves anew
    cell after cell
    touch after glancing touch
    the living flesh

    revealing and erasing what it knows
    on secret charts
    of watermark
    and vellum.