I’M TRYING TO CARE
I’m trying to care that you lied to me.
I thought that if you ever did
it would hit me like a tsumani
but it lies lightly on my shoulders
like a shawl of dew on the grass
that will evaporate soon.
I’m just sorry
you didn’t take
the path of least resistance
and tell me the truth.
Maybe in retrospect
you can blame it on your infamous youth
but it will sadden me
in some remote space in the future
that’s never heard of time and death and separation
where I sit alone at the end
of a rocky peninsula
and trust my thoughts
to the moon and the ocean
to remember what you did to yourself
when you pimped your emotions out to your mind.
Good-bye is such a harsh word
to use on those
who cried out for your love
and you tried to love them back.
I doubt that even years from now
when things are more
the negative space of a silhouette
than they are the shape of a human
I’ll be able to say it and mean it.
How far and wide the leaves might travel
they’re still attached to the tree
and though I might be
a dead branch in autumn by then
I will still reach out to the full moon
like the last thing to ever blossom in me
that wasn’t eclipsed by the far side of the night
that couldn’t look into the light
without turning away.
And I imagine I’ll try to say to myself
something wise and cogent and grand as the stars
about this intimately lyrical life
I live with both feet on the ground.
How sad it was so much of the time.
How destructively creative
and how creatively mad
to live this dream of flesh and blood
for the sake of someone
I’ve never known.
And how much space it took
to wash the starmud off my face
to see that it wasn’t my own.
I let the earth take the weight
when the heaviness of life
is heavier than the weight of things.
I let the wind blow away my sorrows.
I wield a sword of water
against the titanium dragons in the mirror
knowing the soft and yielding
will overcome the hardness of my anger
and rescue the princess
chained to the rock of my heart
like that locket around her neck
with no one’s picture in it but her own.
But I’ve always preferred to drown
in the company of sirens
who know how to sing
if I’m going to go down with the ship
named for a woman I loved
and trusted like a lifeboat on the moon.
It’s a diamond discipline of grace
I’ve honed over the years
to cut myself lose of my tears
like a river in an ice-age
that doesn’t flow anymore.
I have tried to live in such a way
that I never shamed
the wonder of being alive
by smearing it with a mirror of myself
that lied to my eyes
about what they were seeing.
I don’t know is a small religion
that encompasses everything
from the shrine of an atom
to the great temples of the galaxies.
It doesn’t try to convert deceivers into believers
It’s three and a half words of scripture
written by birds in the air at night in passing
to remind the perceivers that nothing’s lasting
but the silence beyond what they’ve heard.
The darkness that illuminates the stars.
The stillness of the perpetual motion machine
beyond the waxing and waning
the ebbing and neaping
of our lunar scars
keeping watch over our wounds
as we dream away the pain of staying alive.
I don’t know holds everyone accountable spontaneously
because it doesn’t ask anything of anyone
It makes you answer to yourself.
It doesn’t prophecy.
It doesn’t curse or bless.
It isn’t the fulfillment of anything.
It doesn’t have heretics.
It doesn’t have saints.
And yet it’s the holiest inspiration
to ever express itself as a human
looking into the nature of things
without knowing what it is
that’s looking back.
Or whether anyone can even tell
when things come to light
like stars and fireflies
far off in the intimate distance
of a limitless darkness
or a loveletter like a sail
crossing the zenith
of its own event horizon
without an adress to go back to
if life is a white lie or a black.
I don’t know is purer than mercy.
It doesn’t diminish its echoes
or raise its voice.
There’s nothing to affirm.
Nothing to deny.
It doesn’t send children to confession
like original sin
because it doesn’t know
if things start
where they begin
or if a good heart waiting
at the traffic light
for the red apple to turn green again
like an impressionist painting of innocence
is on its way out
or on its way back to Eden
like Monet in his gardens at Giverny.
But I’ve seen the waterlilies
enlightened at night by the moon
and drank real water
from mirages in a desert of stars
that longed to be taken seriously.
And I’ve seen Aquarius in love
when she pours her heart out inexhaustibly
like rain from above
on the burnt roots of dead trees
that bloom in the urns of their ashs
as if they didn’t know when to stop.
It’s the curse of courage
for someone to keep on keepin on
long after they know for sure
they’ve wasted their life on nothing
but hungry ghosts
begging for illusory bread
they could feed on for life
like real flesh and blood.
But it’s worse to put words
in a dead man’s mouth
and expect him to live up to them
like a necromantic norm of cupidity.
It’s a twitch of mystic stupidity
to talk through God
like the dummy on your knee
and believe every word he says
as if for every ventiloquist
that says she loves you
there’s a burning bush
deep in the shadlowless valleys of her thighs
But doesn’t it take the fun out of lying
for people like you
when people like me
accept everything as true?
And it’s hard to pull the wool over someone’s eyes
like a Las Vegas of lights that blindsides the stars
by playing at love like a casino
when they can see just as well
in the dark without them
the braille constellations
that punctuate the dice
like a starmap in a snakepit
trying not to get bit twice
by the same sting
that dragged you down
into the rootless underworld
by the heel
just last spring.
You’ll come up somewhere
rooted in manure
pure as a crocus again
and just as beautiful
But try not to con the rain
or deceive yourself into believing
that the truth is just a lie in pain
you can tell to anyone
to excuse the agony of living
Just say I don’t know to everything
like I do
and all the lies come true.