ONE HALF OF THE WORLD
One half of the world spends its time
trying to heal what the other half wounded
but there are no such divisions of labour among the dead
nor can you shoot yourself in the mouth and call it Somalia
and expect to be martyred by your suicide
as things get progressively worse.
Saint Suicide beatified by Saint Jude of the Lost Cause.
Desdemona slashing her wrists on the moon.
No one’s going to read your poetry when you’re gone
if there’s nothing to live on to gratify their hunger.
But don’t let the worms go to your head
just because they like their poets dead.
You’re paralyzed by the shadows of gigantic problems.
You don’t know how to take the stinger out of the storm
or defuse the lightning before it fries your mistletoe.
The world speaks to you eloquently in a dead language
but your voice still lies buried in the desert of an hourglass
waiting to be discovered like the Rosetta Stone.
And you are so irreparably alone with matter and night
you despair of ever deepening your darkness into light.
You don’t know how to pour grails out of the ores of your insight.
And if life is as cynically absurd as you contest
and the slayer and the slain
are looking for the same vein for the same hit
because they just can’t deal with it anymore,
why are you trying to erect all these quicksand temples to peace
on a firm foundation of war?
Why do you throw acid in the eyes of the stars
when they try to shine down like rain
on the maps of your scars
as if they were spies
as if they were blackholes in disguise?
You won’t find the secret meaning of flowers in desecrated roots.
Your bitterness won’t think its way into wine.
That lump of coal you carry around with you like a heart
won’t suddenly turn into diamonds that have learned to flow
around everything they couldn’t cut.
What kind of seer can’t survive her own fire
or endure her own weather like the sea?
Your total eclipse is just another facial
a cosmetician’s trying to give
the bad complexion of the moon
as you pack out-of-date starmud into your famous wound
as if you were repairing plaster.
Nothing steps out of the trees into the open
to drink from your eyes in the mirror.
You might have bloomed like a haemoraging rose
but you’re still waiting for bees like sewing machines
to stitch you up.
And if you’ve come here to ask me to tell you to live.
And if you want me to speak a word
about what your biggest problem is
among all that psychological stuff
you cling to like a teddy-bear in a nightmare
with an atrocity for an ending.
Sure it’s absurd.
But you’re not absurd enough
to live it without knowing why
the last word of God when she dies
is always the loneliest of birds in the mouth of a voiceless sky.
And you think life let you down like flowers on the wrong grave.
But I know you’re hooked up like the tracks of a nasty thought
to the blisstrain of an unstable brain that’s jumped the rails.
And there’s no one to save
but you like a trembling jewel
from the chains of the dreamcatcher
that lies in wait for a fool
to mistake its life for the plight of a fly
that’s dying like a dragon.
And if you tell me you don’t know how
to sweep the deserts off your stairs
that coil like the ribs of skeletal snakes
all the way up to heaven like a fire-escape,
I’d say stop trying to ride your event-horizons like a broom
and learn to fly like the wind among the stars
that have burned all night like blue acetylene
to weld you back together
without leaving any scars.
And if you want someone to answer for your death.
I’ll take my next breath.