Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Stranger in the leaving

than you were before you came.

Is it not always so

when people separate?

Lovers who knew each other intimately for years

close their gates to each other

and say each others’ name

as if they weren’t philosopher’s stones anymore.

And the base metal outweighs the gold that comes of it.

Alone with the alone

in the abyss of the absolutes

what was vivid and vital

turns numb as glass

and what was mystically specific about the other

is no longer a shrine that holds the secret name of God.

Stranger in the leaving

than you were before you came.

You leave with some of my memes

as I leave with some of yours

and we are both no doubt slightly changed for good

by the reciprocity of the encounter

like hydrogen and oxygen make water.

Though now it’s all tears frozen on the moon.

Good-bye my lovely

I shall miss your eyes and your skin

and the thrill of your dangerous heart.

I will miss your wounded mouth

I tried to heal with messianic kisses

that never walked on anything but the earth.

And there’s no blame

you couldn’t fit my lunar month

into your solar calendar.

We had everything in common except time

and our faults were as compatible as our virtues.

I will miss the rumours of alien life in the wavelengths of your hair.

I shall miss losing myself like a firefly

in the wishing wells of your eyes

even if now my own seem more

like impact craters in the prophetic skull of the moon

when I consider what’s leaving like an atmosphere from this mindscape.

And I shall always remember

that your heart was as generous as your breasts

and whenever we made love

how the earthly was the envy of the spiritual fact.

You didn’t want anyone to know you were gentle.

Not even me.

But I could see through that mask

eyebrow to eyebrow with you

as if we both were intent on showing the same face to the earth

like the crescent fangs of a Georgia moon that said

don’t step on me

because we were afraid.

More than enough to have you in the nude

I wasn’t a glutton for your nakedness

that demanded you take your illusions off

to prove you loved me.

It would have been an irreverence

beyond the aspirations of heresy

to witness you renewing your virginity

like the new moon bathing in a sea of shadows.

I never tried to pry the petals of the flowers open

before they were ready to bloom.

I was never the ant

that told the peony what to do.

I never tried to look under the closed eyelids of the rose

to see what it was dreaming.

Though I’m not into voodoo

I never desecrated

the bird shrines

of your involuntary taboos.

But now I look in your eyes

and see that yesterday

is less vivid than tomorrow

though neither of them has happened yet.

The new moon is all potential

The full moon all used up.

There are effigies of potential

standing like scarecrows

in late autumn cornfields

and paragons of actuality

who love to star in constellations

that make them out to be the hero.

I try to stay

and I end up going.

I try to go

and the earth moves underfoot.

The root feels the death of its flower

as the autumn stars turn into frost

and burn its petals like old loveletters

to the immensities that didn’t have time to read them.

The harmonies of life

are distinguished from the harmonies of death

by a single breath

taken in

and turned out

into the vast expanses of where it came from in the first place.

And the spirit that isn’t shy of its own lucidity

knows that everything it illuminates

whether by day or by night

has the lifespan of light

and light is the brainchild of the darkness.

So even when the lights go out

like people and candles

and us

the shadows go on blooming

and even when the stars

are a gust of ghosts at our heels

the dust is rich

with the memory of all the roads

that once got lost in us

trying to their way back home

like blood and fire and spirit

as if their final destination

were always the place they started from.

And if in the lightyears ahead

you should ever wonder if I remember you

be deeply assured

I shall remember you

as if every footstep I took

were a threshold of this homelessness

I am brave enough to cross without you.

And I shall thank you for this courage

inspired by the muse of your absence

and the feel of my blood Doppler-shift toward

long meditative wavelengths of red

that stream from the intensity

of the wounded white-hot blue of a renewed beginning.

You can’t teach a bird to fly in a cage

or snakes to bite other people.

But when I first met you

it was as if the serpent-fire at the base of my spinal cord

that was running to keep its thoughts aloft like kites

suddenly had wings

and all my dirt-bag myths

that crawled on the earth among the lowest

were elevated into constellations

that burned like dragons among the chandeliers.

And when the muses of life well up in me like water

as they will

and ask me back

for all the tears they’ve shed on the sorrow

of the way things had to be

between you and me

for them and us

to happen the way we did

I will show them the eternal flame

of the nightwaterlily

blooming in the clear fire

of its lonely lucidity

not even the rain

the dragon brings

can aspire to put out.

I will show them the sun.

I will show them the moon.

And I’ll say

you see?

That’s us forever.

That swan in the heart of a phoenix.

And they will be well-pleased with the beauty of the lies

I use to shadow the truth with compassionate alibis

for why the flowers fall.

Sometimes it’s the bird that swims through stone

and the snake that flys

in a profusion of fire and water

shadow and form

darkness and light

intensity and death

madness and wisdom.

Sometimes you meet someone

and you realize

this fallible flesh just as it is

is the deepest longing of the spirit fulfilled

like light in a perishable garden.

That there are no flaming swords

in the hands of the angels

at the wounded gates of our exile

trying to keep anything in or out.

Stranger in the leaving

than you were before you came.

The knowledge we have of each other

might want to keep things the same

but like all living things

in this garden of creation

the only way to sustain our innocence

is change.