Wednesday, October 29, 2008


for Layla whose name means night

A star’s just another mode of intelligent light

looking for its eyes with its eyes,

its mind with its mind

just as most of us go looking for ourselves

in someone we will never know,

someone we can never find

because they’re always the open door behind us.

It takes a lot of shining to make a human,

and a lot of darkness to blow one out,

but somehow the universe has managed it

like a thought without an opposite, and we’re here

like a manger of fire, a magus of ashes

to witness our engendering

like a star well beyond its own light

by the time we see it, turning around,

a jewel in the night, or a glass of wine

in a thoughtful hand,

to host the mystery of its own radiance

as if each of us were the guest of our own longing,

the stranger in the doorway smiling like a threshold

with gifts for everyone.

A little laughter with your tears perhaps might help,

if I can suggest it lightly enough

to feather your crying.

It’s true. Some people

live like blackholes,

like rats behind a mirror

trying to pick themselves out of a line-up

like the fourth magnitude stars of a slummy constellation,

for things they only wish they’d done,

but certain they can recognize themselves.

Concrete hands and mystic fingertips in mystic Hollywood.

But it’s easy to throw a whole lot more light on the matter than that

and get out beyond the dazzling billboards of the white dwarfs

on this midway of the Milky Way

imploding into their warped identities like periods.

Look. I turn the lights out

and one of us, me, no doubt

is the darkness of a wounded dragon,

and you, when you laugh, the shining.

And of course it’s not truer than trees in the moonlight

if I say it in shadows and snow,

but it’s the only language I know

when the night pours me out like this from Aquarius

and I speak in tongues like the sea,

or paper gulls winging it like poetry

around the weeping candle

of the lighthouse that once was me.

And maybe tomorrow I’ll be the star again

of some one-night constellation

looking for a cheap motel

off this road of ghosts

that drives me like an eye

through the needle I lost in the haystack

of a scarecrow that took off his second hand clothes

like skins and myths and skies he’d outgrown

to prove there was nothing up his sleeve

like the dagger of an identity

that the birds couldn’t believe.