COUNTING THE BEADS
Counting the beads of the geese returning
as if they were the rosaries of time
as the night deepens into the mercy of its roots
and silence is the name of a god
that buffers its urgency with smoke.
I want to appeal my life like a bad trial
but the jury’s been out for sixty years
and no one ever sees themselves
with the same eyes twice
so it’s hard to know
if I’m the plaintiff or the defendant
but I put on a mask
and execute myself regularly just to be sure.
A human mind at night alone
is beyond the reach of the heart
that comes running in at the last hour like inadmissible evidence
to humanize the emptiness that appalls it.
Sometimes I look at the howl on the moon’s face
like Edvard Munch’s Scream
and feel the agony and the isolation
of the universe giving birth to itself in everything
through ordeals of transformation
that can baffle even pain
with the intimacy of its excruciations
like an animal suffering without knowing why.
Always, inside of me
this vacuity that’s never fulfilled,
this longing and taste for the indefineable,
as if I could give pain a face and a shape
that would let me know if it were blind
or could see,
and what its blindness revealed
and what, if there’s a secret to it all,
its eyes concealed.
I have drunk mystic eclipses from unholy grails
and lit candles in the shrines of the moon
as if they were the sockets of my own skull
and smeared my awareness across the nightsky like stars
and been diminished beyond brutally
like a feather the wind left behind.
There’s an art to stringing arrows to the snake in your hand
that’s eyeing you like the music of a warm target
and I’m a long way from mastering it yet,
hopeless as a bone,
and my seeing has failed me so many times
there’s a constellation of black holes
weighing the dice with astronomical odds
against the farcical profundity of my destiny
as a sidereal archer,
but I’ve grown fond of the relentlessness of the clown
in this compassionately infernal way
and rush to every emergency
like the fang of the antidote,
knowing there isn’t a cure.