NOT LESS AWARE IN THE DARK
Not less aware in the dark
than I am in the light
though it’s my blood
that sees better than my eyes,
I listen to my own breathing
and my heart banging
like a storm shutter in the wind,
and I wonder who it’s all for, if anyone,
and if there were stars in my seeing
before I walked myself like a telescope up to the roof
to get a better view
and if all these leafy yesterdays
that look so much like the tomorrows they proposed to be
that I’ve shed like thoughts and birds for years
to reveal the tree that follows itself like a map
into its own flourishing
were not already memories in the world
before I mistook this mind for my own
by giving it a name.
Nothing before, nothing after this night,
worlds within worlds, and light upon light,
I wipe myself away like the carcinogenic smear
of a sunspot in the mirror
tear my face down like an old campaign poster
to better elect the immaculate by acclamation
and step down from all these vacant offices of me
like spent cartridges
from the judicial chambers of an empty gun.
It’s not suicide if you kill yourself into life,
if the pharoah’s ka makes it all the way to Orion
and there’s more delight in heaven than relief.
It may well be wrong and perverse on my part
but I refuse to sugar the rim of a black hole with belief
and live on the crumbs of someone else’s dream
in the corner of an eye
that looks down upon me
like a black lightning bolt an erratic firefly.
And I’m not saying once you’re nothing being turns divine.
I’ve always been too restless
to lie down for long with the mystics
sipping nectar from the moonlit goblets on the vine.
Life’s not a drunk or a hangover.
And I love to paint, it’s true,
but I won’t paint my window over to improve the view,
nor add my little bloodstain like a dye to the seeing
to make the poppy burn blue
just because I can’t take it anymore.
And it may be a long, hard, dirty, demonic coal road
lined with ditchwater and dutiful corpses all the way
to the diamond lucidity of an illuminated human being
but I still stop sometimes, alone with the stars
and listen to the cry of a bird in the night
unspeakably shake the darkness
with the vastness and agony of its life
as if it were a human heart in a rootless tree
whose solitude, like seeing, exceeded the expanse of its being.