Thursday, November 27, 2008



for Joanne, thirty years late

but not a lifetime too soon

If your heart is a burning house

you keep running back into like blood

to save someone you’re not even sure is there

like the perfect flame

of the dangerous stranger who set you ablaze

you might pray for rain, and rain might fall

and put the fire out

and mercy flood in like an ocean

but you will taste the ashes the rest of your life

like the bucket beside the stove

of a kitchen philosophy

that roars at the stars

but ends up shovelling the words

like an avalanche of urns out of its own mouth

it will later throw on the roots of the roses.

Thirty years since we last saw each other

when I woke you up in the morning

and said I was leaving and afraid

and you with a smile

that can still bring me to tears said

don’t be such a coward.

And in that last moment of our life together

everything I had ever loved about you

pierced my heart like a spear

that had been dipped in the flaming exlixir

of your long, auburn hair, Irish lava

flowing over the side of the bed

like the coast of a new island

I would be marooned on for the rest of my days

like a lifeboat scuttled on the moon

I keep trying to patch with fire

and launch on the next high tide

that comes in like a bride

and throws herself down upon me

like water on my funeral pyre.

But the only thing that ebbs and neaps here

are these shadows and eclipses

in the fierce silence of a mouthless scream

and a face that’s always turned away from me

when I look for you among the planets

like the longing of a chromatically aberrant telescope

trembling with stars and rainbows

high atop its rickety tripod footstool

with its head in the noose of another birth

and there is no earth.