Skip Fox


the museum of sharks

is dark, lit only by candles, each behind a shark, that it
might illumine the teeth or shine through the jaw, as
though it were milk glass at song’s ending. this was
supposed to mean something terrible and translucent, the
biggest fishing story, or story within the story, Pip’s un-
settling, sheer mechanism of sea as metaphor for deep
dispersal, swirl of loss and  accumulation, all manner of
matter, thought tucked inside thought, words within
words, chapter after chapter spilling out, sheen of sharks’
grin on all their latest dreams. what is it to wake just one
morning without dying? where a dark window gives back
a simple face, clear, limbs know nothing but satisfaction,
torso the simple blood running thru as though torrents of
youth might again return as before. who were we? dazed.

floating world

On waves without words, sounding the fat
dead tongue of the sea for what volition makes
of intelligence. I mean, is intention a fuse whereby
we burst or lens thru which we blossom into sight,
mind over all the body? Harbinger of love. The skin
of her eyes tangled in mists, etc., it brings me upon
the long study, and so forth. We are wrappt in flames,
hidden in our own recesses, a commerce unto ourselves!

Oh Angel of Apertures, in dawn’s mist golden, hair
streaming before your face, portal to chambers unknown,
of pearl and sleek whiteness grown, protean conduit, alive,
translate me, thus, following close thy cortege, into the contiguous
universe, realm upon realm of flooding presence, uttermost
permeability, each flowing through each, as light in your
eyes, of motion your belly, form into pure form, I can
almost see through you!, slightest beams thru hair limbs
groin piercing forehead in mind’s bright swirl, that

I might know what I am, she leads me beside such waters,
depths as still of forest pond, Pergusa, where I fall through and
into the sweet hell within, plain whereon nothing’s the same, ever,
never was, but light from each crevice, pore, tremulous, forgiven
as pavement’s forgiving, and all that harms the skin is stripped
at last away, as beneath an acid bath, or a blood orgy rippling
through carcass, teeth that capture the soft winged creatures
of each luminous moment and tear them to quaking shreds
the next, aghast, a pollution of eyes, slips from the page . . .

Always naked in somebody else’s skin, perhaps a “prose kinema
or recognition’s first address. Love starts from form seen, dances
in mind’s light, in sight of such moments even before word’s first
address, and takes His place, as subject not object (turns, returning
to remember, as on mirror’s surface, in all one’s limbs) in the idea
of the possible1, what melody of existence then!, since Every spiritual
form sets in movement the bodies in which (or among which) it finds
itself.2 That tongue might taste with its mind, spread thinne, sweet light,
such actual colors as there are. . . . Finds itself! At our skin, empires . . .

That I might see with mine only, delight ignites another rocket over
the shimmering terrain of each your every quadrant, caught in fleshed
domain, shaking silence with vibrant need, aroused we say, brush of
blood at margin’s surface where we run to drift thru numbed rush then fall
back into such quiet as I have ever known, to surface again beyond irony
and disrepair and find you there once more at last alive beneath the lucent,
quivering depths of temple and storm, silent as the voiceless calm hovering
above a pool in whose face, reflected, stand the massive stone figures
of jungle’s innermost ruin, limestone, carved, now bathed in shadowy
green of triple canopy, scattered like torn organs across the land . . .

A flowing of forms out of forms, then, from the skin, or in, screen or scrim
on which we read–of soul’s origin and aspect (gaze, look or phase)–where
we wear the weather, as leather lair, and with a similar air, mute stare with
which rubber wears road, pedal bears to metal, and metal petals salvage-
yard, which in turn, sun in turning, wares to rust, or skin as atmosphere, itself
placid, enstormed, torn by waterspouts the size of small continents, logged
in the South, socked, stuffed, biffed, stuck in, the whole magnificent piano
sitting on your chest, torn by blasts where bitter air bares wavering edge
of self to pain, no relief, 3rd degree over 90% of his body!, where we left
him to his long recovery, the tearings and retearings of skin, addictions . . .

Reams of skin to find us in, all our fictions: devastation, recovery, a “new
normal,” multiple lives of seismic, docile adjustments, redefinitions strewn
like indictments over all our mute domain, immortal dust our condition. It
holds the body in. Anywhere starts from here, or do we melt on contact
with spring’s green wings smeared over eyeskin, echoing off canyoned
seams deep within, as cortex is skin infolding, flows into flowers of first
morning until all our innermost being is clad in branch, pond, cloud, leaf and
sky, color running to the edges of vision, and beyond. The trail starts every-
where from here. Open the door. You’re a mirror. The world takes you in.


1          Duncan

2          Pound



Skip Fox has written two books (At That by Ahadada and What Of by Potes & Poets) and four chapbooks of poetry (Oasis, Bloody Twin, and Auguste). He has worked in the woods planting and cutting trees, ketchup factories, warehouses, auto assembly plants, and shake-and-shingle mills, as well as a lively stint as an attendant (he remembers) at two Ohio mental hospitals (seven years!), in the way of preparing him to teach undergraduate and especially graduate students, which he does currently (twenty-six years!) while serving what increasingly seems to be a life sentence at The University of Louisiana in Lafayette. "Floating World" is from a group of pieces titles Skin.