Friday, October 10, 2008


You should have left me earlier

when you caught me skinning snakes

with the scalpel of the moon

to free my voice like a bird

from the darkness of a gratuitous eclipse.

And you missed your chance that night

I told you that the things you wanted bored me

and as fine as your body was

it was still just silk on a birdcage

and there wasn’t anything dangerous in the night

you imposed like a gesture of modesty

to scare me enough to take flight

and I didn’t think of sex as a reward

for following your breadcrumbs like stars

through your serpentine miles of delusional labyrinths to bed.

There was no prophecy in the stains we left on the sheets.

I tried to listen, but your tears got in the way.

I tried to see, but my eyes couldn’t adjust to the light

you disappeared in like a shadow of noon

and the things I could see from the bottom of the open grave

I lay in for days like a baffled loveletter

trying to speak braille to the blind

weren’t stars.

It’s not hard after all these years, as it wasn’t then,

to confess you were a better woman than I was a man

but the way you were right

was forgiveness without end like the incommensurable pilgrimage of pi

to some end term of a shrine

so I could never wash the flaw of myself

like a gnostic phase of the moon out of my one good eye

to clarify my gospels like junkmail.

I’d rather be loved than right

and love is not law

and feelings aren’t just another mode of emergency administration

after every earthquake,

and I lost count of the times you were Rome

and I lept into the abyss of my own widening fault-line

hoping my self-destructiveness would look like courage to you

and save you from me

in an ironic act of hell.

Again and again I took your knife

like the moon into my heart

on every threshold you came to

as if I were raising my own orphan assassin

under the starless nightwing of my ambivalent compassion.

And it wasn’t until years after

like the light of a star too far from itself to know

what was illuminated by the sacrifice

that I would learn of my death

like a rumour of night you kept alive

to prove how bright you were.

And it’s true

you did shake a few fireflies out of the dragon like jewels

and there were nights I slept beside you like lightning in a jar

dreaming of dark intensities

in the sidereal immensities

of who you were for a moment

when things weren’t so sad

and you were the free water

of a theme of your own

that wasn’t looking to be uplifted

by another spiritual transformation

that always let you further and further down

like a leaf in a gust of stars.

When my demon jumped from paradise

your angel rose from hell

like the circulation of blood

so you bolted the trapdoors in the chambers of the heart

where love gets through like a thief

and more original than sin in your self-containment

pretended you were good and poppy-red

and I was the cyanotic blueblood

of a decadent habitat exhausting my resources

on being unredemptively me.

But you weren’t the bridge of fire

that could catch my breath like a choir

on the other side of oxygen,

and I never had any intentions of rescuing you

once I saw how defeated your dragons were

cremating all those bad drafts of me

like comets that fell from your halo

into a cold urn

without realizing the mad difference

between psychological graffitti

and the writing on the wall.

And it’s still not much of a consolation

to know that it was a longer good-bye than I expected

and as you would have had it

if I could have loved you like destiny

instead of blind chance

the lie of it all has been perfected by time and distance

and these autumn windows

that look through me like dutiful executioners

waiting for the cold stone of the moon

to shatter me like a trance

aren’t medium enough to summon me back to you

to say the things I would like to have said

beside you, late at night, after sex, in bed

as the carlights played solitaire with their light on the walls

and we were a language that death has never spoken

into the burning silence of the great stars

that know nothing of tomorrow.