I SPEND TOO MUCH TIME
I spend too much time indulging
the petty appetites
I’ve generated out of my despair.
I should eat more light.
I should care about something more
than the nothing that moves me now
toward the door
like a sleepwalker
in a palace of pleasures.
Cool bliss in unsustainable measures.
I let my worst habits get into me
like debts I owe to myself
for being me another day.
So even when I’m made of gold
like the better day behind me
my future wears a crown of clay.
And I loathe the way my ignorance
tries to wax wise about everything
like a blue moon in late October.
I’m a North American,
a wasp in a windfall of apples.
It’s hard to be born here and stay sober.
And other things: the way
I keep looking down on life
like a head higher than the stars
to remind myself how little I mean
in the great theme of being
to anyone with their eyes open
and how when I try to come clean
my lips part like the haemorraging rose
of the Red Sea
to let Moses pass
like a mountain that kept its word
like an avalanche.
I’m clinging like a song
to a dead branch
that’s witching the moon for water
way past the time
I should have gone south
and everything that used to blossom
is a tattered flag at half mast.
I don’t impugn the stars of my birth
for setting me adrift
like a message in a bottle,
Jonah in the belly of Leviathan,
when everyone’s marooned from the first
like an anchor that fell like a hard tear
from the eyelet of a moonboat,
but I am erosively disturbed
by the disloyalty of my oxymorons
to anything approximating the truth
when I summon the ghosts
that disciplined the futility of my youth
to be true to my own hopelessness
like all these shipwrecks
along my contentious coasts.
And I don’t know why
whenever I try to get along with myself
like aloes on burnt skin
it feels more like a pact with a hypocrite,
fire patching my sails
as I tact into the wind
like the wounded fluke
of an unresponsive rudder
that’s sounding like Moby Dick.
I wanted to swim naked with the mermaids
in the pools of their impossible longings
like moonlight in aging mirrors
but I drowned in their tears
when my whole life flashed before me
like a baleful absurdity
that had perpetrated me on nothing
like a voice in an empty lifeboat
calling out through the fog
for the lost black box of its own echo
to second-guess what brought me down
like the snapping turtle that got Icarus.
Since then I look at my own face in the mirror
like a mirage I’m tired of weeding
and my identity hangs
on the horns of a dilemma
in a Minoan labyrinth
that insists its my fingerprint
even as I am uplifted like a constellation
from the scene of the crime
to do my time in isolation
with the whole of creation on death row
staring into the snake-eyes of a dicey reprieve.