Monday, August 10, 2009




Every time I left I came back to a different door.

My blood never wandered.

It just didn’t recognize the heart

it kept returning to

like a tide to a shore

that was never the same.

Now I can’t tell the way I’m leaving

from the way I came

but the only time I ever feel lost

is when I want to be found.

There may be the flakey arrowhead

of a primitive direction

chipped from the basalt rock

by some Michelangelo of flint-knapping

nestled like the shard of an ostrakon

somewhere among my bones,

but if I’ve ever been headed anywhere

it’s always been here and now

where space and time don’t exist

and I’m going off in all directions at once

like everything else in the expanding universe

whose lonely thresholds follow it like light

deeper into the growing darkness 

like the footprints of an unenlightened man

back to the native homelessness

where he began.

Even the script of a bad play

can be a myth of beginnings

when the actors could be anyone

who can feign a face in the mirror

like a traffic sign

trying to read between the lines

of what makes the puppets dance

to the scarred guitars of their tears.

You didn’t understand my joys

and I couldn’t fathom your fears

or how anyone could sit on their throne

like bait in a leghold trap

and not expect to get bitten

by the jaws of the croc of their crown.

It wasn’t me that swallowed the moon.

Your body lifted me up

and my spirit brought you down

like a parachute that candled

everytime you pulled the rip-cord on the sky

to ease your fall from grace

but you were the sacred flame

of a hot air balloon

that thought she was a comet

who came as a sign

to everyone else but herself

that I was about to fall from a high place

like a snowflake on a furnace

and disappear like a waterbird

without a trace or a tear

or a farewell kiss

to empower the clown

to be true to his own hopelessness

whenever you weren’t around

like a lifeboat on the moon

and things ran aground

on the reefs of your scuttled seas.

And the sails that huddled like blossoms

on the dead branch of the wharf

have given the orchard up to the wind

like a lost soul on a long journey

that can’t see the oceans in your eyes from here.

But I could have told you,

I could have climbed up

on the scaffolding your constellation

and shouted from the rooftops of my voice

like the rooster of a supernova 

shaking up the shining

in a distant galaxy 

that even when you’re out of sight

the stars still don’t lie to the night

but you were the one

who was convinced

the truth always deceived me

and I’ll confess it now

like Galileo recanting his own eyes

flat on his stomach before the pope,

my tears as contrite as my lenses,

I wasn’t enough of a telescope

to get a liar to believe me

when I showed you

the shadows of the mountains on the moon

were not those phoney eyelashes

you put on every morning

like an eclipse that painted

with a broad brush

the blood stains

on the relics of a martyr’s remains.

And even the search parties of fireflies

I sent out to look for you

like my own eyes

came back with zen messages

from an echo in an empty bottle

that had been smashed like a lamp on a rock

where they expose the bad babies

like flawed light

to clarify their own place

in a starless vision of night

before the arising of signs.

But I learned to read your eyes

like the lees of the dark wines

that haemorraged like the moon

at the bottom of every skull you emptied

like a fortune-cookie

or the shell of the sea that was you

you held up to your ear

like someone who’d stopped breathing

to overhear what even the voices

in the backrooms of the future

that never came,

though it had promised you so much,

couldn’t make clear.

And you’re not to blame.

And I’m not to blame,

and there’s no need

to limp around on our skeletons

like a crutch we’re trying to throw away

like a miracle at the top of the stairs

we climbed on our knees

to have our hearts cut out

and held up to the roaring sky

like sacrificial examples

of how to greet the moon

like the kissing stone

of a plundered temple.

A thousand and one mirages may gather

like shadows at night

around the wells of a dream

they draw from like the eyes of a desert

to recall the themes of their gods

like the flames of fire

the morning puts out like a star

the light has washed away,

and when they wake as we did

to the curious irrelevancy of this new day

with no one to forgive us for forgetting

who we were and might have been to each other,

who could have imagined

after such an appeasement of lovers

at the extremes of each other’s altars

we covered in cloaks of blood

to keep the angels at bay

we’d both end up gaping at the moon

like the open wounds

of experienced messengers

with nothing to say?