Tuesday, December 16, 2008



Winter wind thrashing the pines

like a mad guitarist

who only knows the single chord of himself.

The trees relent to resist the power

and shake the rain off

like dogs that have finished swimming.

Dirty window. Snow slumped

over the roots of everything

like a waiting crocus

in the bulb of itself

brewing its violets.

I look at the roiling sky

and my heart stews it like a bedsheet

to disinfect it of old passions

that once stained it like the moon.

First you suffer the pain of the loss,

and then, worse, the loss of the pain.

There’s a grammar for language

and an intuitive logic of metaphor

that is the grammar of poems and dreams,

and math may be the unlimited ally of matter,

and the law hold auditions

to discover who’s right and wrong,

and thoughts may arise

like the untethered kites and testflights

of new constellations

that keeping crashing and burning

like windfalls of fireflies

and enlightened chandeliers,

and even an embryo has HOX genes

to tell it where to put the eyes

above the nose and the mouth

in the long sentence it is growing

like Canada geese heading south in the fall,

but I’ve never discovered,

and I’ve been looking for years,

any order or path to my life

that wasn’t a journey

without origin or destination

more subtle and supple and insubstantial

than the wind, or the moon’s reflection

on the microdroplets of my cold, winter breath.

I’ve bluffed and improvised

and lied and guessed

and dared and jumped

like Basho’s frog into the old pond

of the world---Splash!---all the days of my life,

like a man who doesn’t know

if he’s got a parachute on.

I’ve been drowning in stars

that filled my lungs with light

until I could learn to breathe in the radiance

of the life that flashed before my eyes

like the snakefire of a lightning bolt

liberating fireflies from their halos

so they could wear the horns of the galaxies.

For one deluded moment there

I actually thought I was doing some good,

but it wasn’t long before I discovered

I had to remove the intention

before I could.

Now the flowers bloom

all around me by themselves

and I rain whenever I feel

the lonely bells of the sea

have ripened enough within me to fall

and I see what the rain sees

and later, if it’s summer,

the clean flowers

and the wet bees.