Saturday, October 25, 2008



The moon hangs her skates like her first and last crescents

around her shoulders

and goes down to the pond like a mirror alone

and mistakes your wrists for a skating rink.

And I am gored on the horns of a silence I never suspected.

It’s sidereally dumb to hold your breath like the wind on the moon

and wait for a sail that will never come

as if it were spring in a turmoil of apple-bloom.

And you could look at a coffin

and see a skull in a lifeboat I suppose,

but if it is, like a human,

it’s a one-string guitar with a spinal cord

tethered to the waves,

and it’s not going anywhere

and the only song it knows is sad.

And even if space isn’t a reliable guide to anywhere,

it’s the way I took, dropping stars as I went

and it’s the way I’ll go back like a defrocked priest

wrapped in my spirit

like a cloak of soot

older than night

to put them out.

Everyone knows there are things

hidden in the darkness,

savage things and tender,

but it takes a man without eyes

to hazard a guess

at what the light conceals,

and to reveal a lie

isn’t the same as grasping the truth.

So it hardly seems worth it most of the time.

Most people are mangers without a star

that run around like mad messiahs

with fishy collection bowls

to keep the light from leaking through the roof

but if you ever need to know where you are


it’s the road you didn’t take

that walked you here

just as it’s always a star beyond lucidity

that makes things clear.




Never more alive than now

when memories turn into mysteries

and love leaves the back door of things open,

and I’m no more a stranger in time

than the leaves falling from the trees

or the pages of a book I wrote in blood

washing its wings in the rain.

And there are nights that are vastly impersonal

and I am still a small thing looking up

at the cold, cold stars,

trying to imagine the universe

that imagines me standing here

sustained solely by the wonder of it all

until mind and form and matter disappear

and all’s that left is the life of the seeing,

nothing seen, and nowhere a seer.

Children born and grown and gone

and thresholds and lovers crossed

and things achieved and left undone

and even death bereft of a theme in the mirror

that shrinks like a breath,

I am yet embittered and sweetened by suffering and pain,

I am still as unknowing as I was

when I first asked,

and the hour is as new to me as you,

and it’s just as much of a struggle after all these years

to temper the radicalism of my compassion with tears

like soft bullets

as it is to liberate my cynicism

like honey from a hive of killer bees

when I am shaken by vicious insights

into the proliferant obscenity of human depravity.

Evolution loops like a virus.

And there’s not much I can say to myself

when my eyelids bleed like stone roses

looking into the truth of my species like rabies,

nor anything to offer the wounded mystic

who sheds his eyes in shame

when his spirit clots like blood in his throat

to see how we have violated

even the elemental decencies

of matter, of fire and water,

earth, light, and the star-smudged air.

What we have done and continue to do to each other.

What cowards we are to kill what we don’t understand

because we refuse to turn the light around,

the telescope, the gun, and understand ourselves,

the deathless beauty of what the mind is

when it isn’t soiled by a brain.