Aviary, Bestiary

By Joseph O. Legaspi

Organic Weapon Arts
March 2014



Whom You Love

“Tell me whom you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
~ Creole Proverb

The man whose throat blossoms with spicy chocolates

Tempers my ways of flurrying

Is my inner recesses surfacing

Paints the bedroom blue because he wants to carry me to the skies

Pear eater in the orchard

Possesses Whitmanesque urge & urgency

Boo Bear, the room turns orchestral

Crooked grin of ice cream persuasion

When I speak he bursts into seeds & religion

Poetry housed in a harmonica

Line dances with his awkward flair

Rare steaks, onion rings, Maker’s on the rocks

Once-a-boy pilfering grenadine

Nebraska, Nebraska, Nebraska

Wicked at the door of happiness

At a longed-for distance remains sharply crystalline

Fragments, but by day’s end assembled into joint narrative

Does not make me who I am, entirely

Heart like a fig, sliced

Peonies in a clear round vase, singing

A wisp, a gasp, sonorous stutter

Tuning fork deep in my belly, which is also a bell

Evening where there is no church but fire

Sparks, particles, chrysalis into memory

Moth, pod of enormous pleasure, fluttering about on a train

He knows I don’t need saving & rescues me anyhow

Our often-misunderstood kind of love is dangerous

Darling, fill my cup; the bird has come to roost


Dispel the Angel

Lately his loneliness has sprouted wings.
It hovers above his darkened head like a desecrated
angel. It clouds his eyes with the cream of nostalgia.
It is the ghostly geyser of the spouting steam
when the kettle boils for his private tea.
In bed, balled up under the sheets,
an echoing cove of limbs, he thinks
of Orpheus: if only he could’ve contained
his forlorn love for Eurydice
and not turn back.
Such a gulf, sad bereavement.            
Recently he’s gotten into the habit
of talking to himself, at first in front
of the foggy mirror while shaving,
the blade scraping off lather to reveal
his translucent face, but now, often, he talks
in movie theaters, public gardens, on the corner
of Houston and Ludlow. At dinner, he discusses
Magritte and Hopper with his duck l’orange.
The salt and pepper shakers can-can for him.
Later, he says to the lamp, I haven’t been touched
in weeks. He senses he’s transcended
the loneliness of the inanimate: of empty
corridors, of solitary light illuminating a house
on a stretch of highway in daytime,
of wet matches, rotting fruits, and dust.
On a summer’s morning, he then dispels
the sullied angel from his shower, makes
an appointment at his neighborhood salon
where the shampoo girl will shi-atsu his erogenous
scalp with her thin fingers. Soon after, on the subway,
sitting next to a man, their arms touch—heat traveling
by the wires of their hair—then rub slowly against one another
like the first friction of the earth.


In this Bed

He sleeps. A solid man who could crush
me. Easily, if he chooses.  

Barrel chest, curls frosted
at their winter tips.  His neck’s archer’s

bow.  Longing side by side, skins
white mineral, alien

almost, orbicular.  Moist
still from benign meiosis.  Suspended

capsules.  Incubating hum.  Soon we’d
rise like disenfranchised

souls to tend to corporeal
matters, mundane occasions.  For now

in this warm bed we remain immaculate
yet ravaged, tarnished yet holy.