10 Haiku and 1 Epithalamion

They say they found me in frozen foods, stretched out
in the cephalopod case, rowing the air

praising the canned corn moon, as a boy I hung
from a cherry limb listening to ballgames

on the transistor under your pillow, a blonde spider,
grief skin, lieben, sunlit orb weaver quitting

amen corners to run over wallpaper like a left hand
crawling through Ravel, hunting for missing limbs

a breast, suddenly, in my cell phone's screen, my eyes
climbed from her nipple to her wrist her arm face

and I rose with her body to exit the Kiang train
at the wrong station, broken by afternoon light

in a dim bar I drank beer and gazed at a pig
somehow deflating in a jar a brine, when we met

I was too shy to speak, so I wrote a note
and placed it with a caterpillar in a bottle

thrown into the ocean for an octopus
to find and open and raise the chrysalis

to butterfly to the spring air to lick her ear.
Put on your clothes! The producer said to the cast:

We're shutting down--kaput ! Kaput ! Kaput !
After my wife's death-complying flight

from the cannon barrel into the lion's mouth
the clown car arrived at our front door

and they rolled out, with floppy shoes and red dicks
for noses, with sprays of squirting flowers

I fell asheep counting fools, as they rolled out,
too broken to sleep I steered the bus around

the rotary as Keanu cradled me
in his arms and little suns took our measurements.

Last Requests

Draw a zigzag moustache below my nose
in permanent ink, stain my lips with black cherries,

carve a horn from my sacrum and blow my baby there
so cold so sweet so fair, take my eyeteeth

from round her neck and plant them in the orchard,
use darning needles and fishing line to sew

my palms together, distribute my ribs
to the old-timers at the pound, fill my navel

with vitamin water, lily pads, false grunions
and meditate on me, as a concession

to the divas of Swedish avant-synth pop
skin my soles, craft a tom-tom, and transmit

my pulse to Oslo, bleach my mandible and nail it
above the old barn door, plop my balls

into a jar of salt water behind the bar
on the top shelf of the lower depths, plug the dam

with my thumb, use my pubic hairs to flower
a few bald Barbies and gift them to the daughters

of your enemies, use my spine to measure 
the first blizzard of the season, my tongue

shouldn't be blamed for a lifetime of broadcasting
bullshit so please, friend, scrape my osculator,

my canticle, my chatterling, my taste bulb
and return her to her tribe at the bottom

of the sea, ride your bike to the arboretum
on a perfect day in October and give

my ears to that 1-legged keytarist, maybe
he can pass them off as black truffles,

use my back for Scrabble and my skull to drive
the nail that held my picture into your wall,

take the beeswax from my ears so I can hear
one damned song, but fill my mouth with nectar

so that honeybees will love me at last
(saw my baby there so cold so sweet so fair)

pack my eyes into my heart, you know why,
and at the end of the night, make of me a kite,

use my humeri as frames and dried sweetmeat
as paper so that I may sail toward the sun,

a ronin seeking an end to dissonance,
trying to discover harmony and long tails.


Peter Jay Shippy is the author of Thieves' Latin (University of Iowa Pres, 2003) Alphaville (BlazeVOX Books, 2006), and How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic (Rose Metal Press, 2007). He teaches literature at Emerson.