Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Why do so many comets of women

fall in love with men

who have firehydrants for hearts

or burn their faces off the lucidity of their blood mirrors

like the sunlit exorcism of the mist off a lake in the morning

streaming away like the ghosts of swans

or the stars through Cygnus

as if they were diamonds leaking out of themselves

in a palace of coal as old as the darkness

where they finger their faces like braille

looking for flaws in the moonlight

or wait for some drunk to come home

like a black sail on the angry seafoam of a beer?

And again, he declared war on your eyes

as if your face were some sort of disguise

for the way you truly see him

and again, your ruby lip

is chipped like the saucer

you keep slipping under him like love

to catch what he spills from his toilet-bowl heart

when he pours you out.

It’s three in the morning

and you’re shaking with terror

there might be a lonelier truth in admitting the error

than working with lies to get it right

and you’re crying as if there were no bottom to the night.

Don’t you know, baby, when the chicken’s been eaten

all that’s left is the wishbone

and yours has been broken like a harp

stuck in the throat of an angel

who still thinks she can sing to the beast

of softer ordeals than all these savage thresholds

you keep crossing like a lop-sided weathervane

as if happiness always lay to the east?

And you don’t want to call the police

and you don’t want me to cruise the streets

and find the fuck

and beat the shit out of him

until he’s shyer than a sex change

and there are reasons only you know

for why he snorts the Milky Way like blow

and raves like a little god on a late night talk show

about the premiere of the opening act of his next comeback

that always ends like an air-raid siren in a blackout

sitting here like you with nothing to say

as you hang the dead oceans

of your starless emotions

like bloodied bedsheets

over your bruised windows and pray

as if you were downloading stars into a telescope like a gun

that might go off like God in your mouth

over London during the blitz.

Walk away, walk away, walk away,

and let your eyes heal like waterbirds

that efface their flowing in the distance

and that bow of a lip that was split by a fist

be feathered by the fire of a poison-tipped arrow

that stings like a kiss good-bye

when it comes up like the Queen of Cups

on the dark side of the Tarot

and you stop letting yourself be pushed around

like the moon in a wounded wheelbarrow.




Black sapphire on the verge of blue

what image now is this of you

gathering out of the night air

like the light of the stars

or a ghost beginning to breathe?

I’m not waiting like a host in the darkness

for company, not longing

to be anywhere with anyone, but alone.

Haven’t I tasted your sorrows enough

to know the grief that marrows you like a bone

as if it were my own?

And it may be a bell-shaped planet

that poured out of its own volcanic forges

wobbling on the clapper of its axis

like a drunk at a wake

to toll its way around the sun

mourning the death of everything born in the light

that swings between spring and autumn,

but I’m not crying to sweeten the night with my tears,

or deepen my solitude

by summoning back the leaves

that were torn out like the pages of a book

at a heartshaking seance of the lost years

when a black harvest moon cut out my tongue.

Despite the cliches applied like poultices and placebos

to draw the infection out as if age were a disease

and not the glory of an old painter

still standing at the easles of the trees

shedding himself like portraits and leaves,

I am not young anymore

and there’s more behind me than ahead

worth dying for.

No one can ever be sure,

but I think I’ve died enough for one lifetime

to walk alone in the woods far from home

through my own leaves

rather than the duff of spiritual junkmail

that lies about the violets under it

on the thresholds of a graveyard’s horizontal doors.

Now is a moment unborn, and now

is the breathless sustainer its own unperishing

and effortlessly I have become everything

that wears my face like the universe

I just breathed out of my lungs

and speaks in one voice like me, like autumn,

in many tongues, of the mystical affinity

of a human divinity to identify itself with everyone

and still not be able to give itself a name

or say who it really is

when it tries to pluck the flame from the fire.

Then again, it’s not hard to admire the tact of the fact

that sometimes life is a liar

and a snapping turtle rises up

from the murky bottom of the starmud

and rapes the swan of the moon

like a choir in a feather bed

and then sinks again like a bell with a penis head

that’s just converted gold into lead

like a heavy noun back into the dark dream grammar of the dead

who lie there like children trying not to move

for fear of alerting the nightmare

and pretend not to feel anything.

But I haven’t been looking for you

like the continuity of a lifestream on the palm of my hand,

or this theme of simulacra in a waking dream

that might lead me back to you like an island in the fog

to the coasts of the empty lifeboat

you left me like a suicide note

I’ve been trying to write ever since

that might make some sense out of your death,

out of the abysmal absence

I keep trying to live up to

like my next breath.