Wednesday, October 21, 2009




Dumb, grey skies

and the last of the leaves to fall

hugging the trunks of their trees

like rifles at the Alamo

as everyone waits for the snow

like a bell waits for the next funeral.

I used to think I talked to myself

but now I realize

I’m not even part of the conversation.

I’m the empty chair at the round table

of some unconverted calendar

where every night

is the night of the full moon

and time is just another kind of weather.

And I don’t mean this nihilistically,

as if I were out to prove God was a fraud

even as I’m standing in her shadow.

And by the grace of my benevolent genes

I’m too stupid to be a cynic.

It’s just that I don’t let my eyes

get in the way of my seeing anymore

and grieving the loss of things and events

as if they were the emotional life of the air

seems exhaustively redundant

when it occurs to you like yesterday

that the sweetest recollection you have

is the missing witness that proves

you weren’t even there.

There’s no who’s who of the mind

that’s got my name in it

that isn’t a fiction of the wind

evolving its own themes

from the lifelines

on the palms of the falling leaves

flowing downstream on a river

that doesn’t consult them like maps.

There’s nothing and no one to follow

not even a self

when everything’s already here

in this moment

where there is no coming and going

no birth or death

no beginning or end

of what you pour in

or what you pour out

breath into breath.

I have suffered the lightning-stroke

of the sword

in the hands of the angel at the gate

burning like a wild fire

through the roots of the cedars of Eden

whenever I’ve tried to crawl back in

on my hands and knees

and I have silvered my leaves

like a Russian olive 

in the lustre of the radiance

of its underground rivers

that shine by a light of their own

whenever I’ve been driven out again

like a flower in late October

trying to make its own way in the rain.

Two blades of grace

that cut like the moon

through inseparable knots of water

forever on their way

to winning and losing the world like autumn,

as it is the last ghost of hope in the old wine

that dreams unsparingly of the new vine

until what has been

falls down drunk

in a delirium of the future

that can hardly remember its name.