Saturday, March 28, 2009



Maybe God knows like any woman

that the unanswered prayer

is always holier to men

than the ones that come true

and that’s why she doesn’t respond.

She lures you into speaking to her through the silence

as you realize the road ends

in the most intimate whisper of stars

like your breath alone on a winter night

as you take all of Orion in at a glance

to taste your own shining

in her universal nonchalance

like a candle you’re trying to advance through the darkness

to find her room, and you do,

but she’s never at home when you knock.

Or she blows you off like autumn,

snuffs the pure flame of your urgency

you bring to her door like a bouquet

in the hands of a chimney-sweep

who burns in his passion like leaves

with no tree up his sleeves to cling to.

And it’s hard to love someone

you’ve never met before

though you whine like a dog at a door

that is always opening you like a scar

that adores the wound that makes you feel

when you look up at the nightsky

and ask why,

the bow that set it all going,

that feathered the stars like blood

with the light of their flowing

through a night of unknowing

may be a fiction,

the chameleon of your own conviction,

but, at least, by the way

it wings your mythic heel

the arrow’s real.




Whoever I am

it’s only for a moment that passes

as quickly as the universe.

Sometimes my eyes

outshine the stars they’re looking at,

and thought is faster

than the speed of light

and every feeling

feathers the flight of the fire like a flame.

I have a name

that I’ve been trained

to turn toward like a sunflower

but ultimately it’s only the sound

of another wave crashing on the shore

of an uninhabited island.

Sometimes listening

to the music of the spheres within me

I think I can hear

the single, silver note of myself

timing my life like a drop of water

at the end of a blade of stargrass

or a triangular tintinabulum

that catches the attention

of the whole, cosmic, symphony orchestra

like the first sign of rain,

but more often I feel like ditchwater

carrying rose petals down the drain.

And there are things that I’ve exhausted myself against

like a fly against a windowpane

looking for an emergency exit

out of my own shame

at being what I am,

but it’s just another delusory sham

of the flypaper I’m stuck on like the self

of a conning chromosome.

So I call my own bluff

and shatter the lamp

and break the mirror

that buffs my seeing with stars

and dig up all these scarecrow, cruciform, avatars of being

that lie buried under my words

like bad advice from the birds,

and disappear

though I can’t say where

as if I had never existed.

But it isn’t as if

I was here and now I’m not

and there’s a great emptiness

that marks the spot like a black hole in my heart

and there’s anyone to suffer

long term loss for short term gain.

Everything’s still the same

and there’s no end of the pain

that flares up over and over again

like the universe

through an open window of the darkness

to immolate itself like a moth

in the trick candle-flame of a life

I can’t blow out on my birthday

because it’s only as old as I am

and I’ve been here forever.




for Brad Williams, with affection

Nothing. I wait. I

sweep all the stars off the stairs

and break all the windows

and melt like winter

to return in the spring

and wash myself away

to keep the view clear

and let the blossoming

go on without me.

I don’t jam a doctor in the womb

to guide the baby into being born,

or impose the apple on its flower

like like an agenda that must be met

before the fall.

I listen without expectation

to the vast silence of my own absence

and if something happens, it happens.

A picture flashes in the void

long before anything can be said

and a whole new world

takes its first breath

and breathes out the things of the world

to make a home for themselves in their homelessness.

And it’s the old-new way of delight

that playfully comes into being

like the first day and the first night

without depending

on the turning of the light

for its extinction or illumination.

The darkness the lamp dreams in

is not less bright than its burning

and the seeing isn’t a function of eyes.

And the only sin in life,

the only death,

as it is with your body,

is not to be creative, not

to discover within yourself

you are neither creature, nor created,

not the afterlife of the Big Bang

fourteen billion years ago

but this very moment now

when God asks who she is,

breaking her own hidden secret

and you know it’s time to tell her

in babies and paintings and poems and birds

in music and clowns

and sinners burning saints,

in fire and water and stars

and vagrant scholars wandering Mars,

that everything’s out in the open

and the secret is unsayably ours

in the way we express it to live.