WHEN I LOOK AT PEOPLE AND THINGS
When I look at people and things, my own life,
when I turn the light around
and catch myself at work in a backalley
like an open window stealing thieves,
it’s easy to understand
that nothing exists as a thought, a dream, a form, or a person
that isn’t a protocol of the emptiness
that shapes us like flowers and cups and stars.
This morning, for example, I’m as clear
as a bottle that’s never tasted the wine
or a windowpane, the rain,
and last night I was the underpainting
of a darkness deeper than the face of a clown
before he wakes up and puts it on.
For the moment my mouth is a chrysalis
pieced together from my own duff and detritus
and bound by the glue of an ancient grammar
with bloodroots in the night
that mingle with lilies on the moon
and want to bloom like anthracite and dragons.
The highest and the lowest come together
like snakes and wings
and my penis flys!
But that’s probably
an oxymoronic overstatement
as most truths are just before
they’re absolved by their own extinction.
What’s the sound of one orgasm rapping to itself?
I’ve been blooded like a bell
to know the phoenix of grief
that rises from the fire
when gasoline weeps.
I’ve been rounded by the moon
like a pebble in a tide,
the black pearl under my tongue,
to exorcise myself like a ghost
left holding on to life like an ostrakon.
My heart squanders me
like confederate currency
on union collection plates
and nothing is set free
and it’s getting harder to budget being me
and I’m running out of continents and coastlines
where the ships I hoped would discover me
don’t come in like bills
where even my name
isn’t the native I was when I was young.
And it’s all relentlessly and perfectly O.K.
More leaves have already fallen from the trees
than will fall in the autumns to come
and the valleys are never very far
from the mountains that climb out of them.