Incapable Tongue

Java tides erode smiles, warming tongues that gracefully move
From subject to object, rich bitter concentrated dark language,
The kind that burns as it comes and goes, in and out your throat.
That acid, some sort of tannin, citrus hinted, a day off vinegar
If somebody doesn’t check the temperature before the damage
Sets in. The edge of stone tumbles through your nostrils, you note
The involuntary exhale as part of the story, the marvelous command
This half-ounce wields over you during, fulfilling, the moment
For which it was created, when taster and tasted merge. Active
Consumes passive. Passive overwhelms active in the pleasure,
No, not the pleasure, the complexity, the gathering of ancient
History into a brief present, the memory rehearsed as you relive
The subtleties of generations gathered along the yellowed denture,
Pooling at the gate of duct and vein, the wet blue underside of glisten
And gland. You want to spit. But you refrain. That’s part of the ride.
It wants you to do what it wants you to do, not what you want to do.
This more complicated than you had ever imagined. Clenched fist in
Your face, the back of your hand funnels your breath along side
Lips and into lungs, one of each, in the same symmetry of
A squeaking door opening and closing, its trio of hinges
singing to and fro, each its own beginning, middle and end.