Monday, November 10, 2008



It’s a gesture of the heart

that no one can explain

that lays its words down like cool herbs

gathered on the moon

to silver someone else’s pain.

We lie down in the same wound

like two stones in the same river

that might make it to the other side

without drowning in the stream

and I speak to you of shores you can reach if you try

and you add yourself like a drop of water to a shoreless sea, and cry.

And for a moment you are the devastated solitude

of a runaway in the rain

who can’t abide the stranger she’s become

as a lipstick butterfly emerges

from the shell-casing chrysalis of your rage

and you put your lips on like wings.

You’re a princess with a white flag

approaching the ashes of a dragon

who sleeps in his own fires

to wake him up from his dream of water

and negotiate a rescue now

if only I’ll concede to show you how.

You want me to respect you because you’re dangerous.

You want to ensnare me

in the white voodoo you’re practising

on the dark side of the moon,

you believe in my eyes

and want me to see something

you’ve never shown anyone before

because a window’s as good as a door to a thief

and you know we have neither in this homelessness

that shelters our grief like dark matter in space

or the far side of a face

we refuse to acknowledge is ours.

I can feel your powers

chafing their scales in the snakepit

like straitjackets they’re urgently trying to slough off

like the old skins of a hand-me-down moon

that don’t quite fit the new one right.

One fang, stars; the other, a starless night,

you know how to open things with a smile

and strike like a gate

should anyone walk between your crescents

like a terrorist with carry-on luggage

who doesn’t dream he’s been detected

as you recoil like a theme to make your point.

It would be easier to tinker with the genes

of the ancient ancestors of a life before sin

than not to want to want to sleep with you,

than not to want to be your bay for the night

and tell you everything’s going to be all right

and mean it and drown the world like a torch or a dragon

in the intimacy of our most urgent delusions.

And even if I didn’t put a match to the candles

they would still ignite

and a black sun would rise at midnight

and let the stars and flowers decide for themselves

whether they wanted to open in its light or not,

and for awhile, deep underground,

there’d be laughter in a coffin

as we posted dirty notes on our headstones

like shocking lovepoems that just rolled off the tip of our tongues

like drops of water charged with stars and snakefire

humming down our spines

like the deathbed hymns of the hydrolines

when they break the news to God.