THE IMPERIOUS SHAME OF A SELF
The imperious shame of a self
that isn’t susceptible to compassion
is a garden that refuses to root,
is ice that doesn’t know how
to thaw into itself
and exhilarate the flowers.
The fleets of the paper-boats
that get sent off in the spring
like poems and blossoms
don’t arrive with a cargo of apples.
Even the sun at midnight
can’t open your eyelids
and I’ve heard
some of your most seasoned constellations
who signed up for life
are having their tatoos removed.
Bright as you are
it’s hard to understand
why you haven’t caught on by now
you can’t drink water from a fist.
Ah, yes, the ladder;
I forgot about the ladder
you’ve been trying to walk on for years like stilts
and you’re always two rungs down
from where you think you ought to be,
but going forward
isn’t always the quickest way up
and it must be hell
leaning up against
the burning window of the world
with no one to rescue but yourself.
Besides, what happened to your feet?
Do you and the ladder ever go dancing
or the birds ever build in the rungs
or a leaf ever grow
on the dead branch you cling to
like autumn afraid to let go?
is the impotence of vanity,
an egg that keeps growing bigger
to avoid escaping from itself
that nothing can fly out of free
to feather the wind
with the joy of its vagrancy.
Why don’t you lie down like a chromosome
or a bridge sometimes,
show a little spine
and let someone cross over
the abyss between you and the other
so that ditch that surrounds you
like a gaping wound
can scar up like the moon
into the open road out
of your indefensible defenses?
The puppets and the puppeteers
at both ends of the same strings
and when the master
aspires to ascendency
the slave arises stronger.
A fist of stone
disowned by your own mountain
what can you possess
of the valley stream
that makes its way around you
like a lion of water
roaring past your skull,
that extinguished meteorite
that mistakes itself for a Kaaba?
you’re not even a pebble
to throw at the devil.
Until you can feel
someone elses’s pain as if it were your own
and effortlessly respond like the rain
the elaborately cracked creekbeds
that braille your brain
will never flash into life
nor the lightning turn you
like a winter weathervane
toward the light
that reaches into the darkness to see
by shining on everything alike
it has become life.
You might think you’re the jewel of jewels
in all that junkyard
of craters and crowns on the moon,
but it’s painfully obvious
by the way you’re enthroned
like a fool in the corner
of your own delusion
you’re just another trembling compass
embedded in the handle of a pocket knife
that feels surrounded by its own polarities
approaching from all directions
as if there were no point to your life.