Thursday, September 22, 2011
AS THE NIGHT AND SILENCE
As the night and silence fall over
and random voices are dwindling in the distance up the road
as I vow not to remember anything at all the right times
to the muse of broken gates hanging on the hinge of the year
and o most rare
not to forget a single intimacy
of the mystic love tokens she’s offered me
like black walnuts and ruby-throated humming-birds,
I realize I’m swimming in beautiful illusions
where the starfish lie down with the sharks
and inspired by my own absurdity
and the lack of any kind of enlightened credibility
I’m free of delusion and reality alike.
The penultimate insight into nothingness.
Who could wish for more?
The streetlamps are still in bud
in the third week of September.
And there’s a painting on my easel
with an autumn sun covered in black spidery birch branches
like a detached retina
that’s been keeping its eye on me since .
Free enough to risk entreating the stars to be kind for once.
Free enough to be attached to the things of the earth that are perishing
to ensure they don’t as if I were one of them
on the inside of the joke
that’s stranger than not getting it at all.
Show me the wise man who hasn’t learned
to take his inner clown seriously
and I’ll show you an eagle born without eyes.
Fortune-cookies with all the answers
like dancers with knots in their muscular thighs.
Overhead I hear the
as things are slowing down
and there are fire hydrants all over town
who’ve exhausted themselves trying to put the autumn out
that long to go with them just to know
what they’ve been left out of by holding their ground.
Does in the headlights,
two young women ditching a roach
at the approach to
wondering if I’m the troll
or the pot of gold that lives under it.
I sublimate my indifference with a smile
and keep my distance
not to spook their high
as I pass unnoticed as I can
up the wolf path to lonelier timberlines
without them knowing
I think one’s a willow with slender blonde sorrows
and the other’s a raging sumac with phoenix wings
who eats her own ashes
like the flesh of the anti-Christ
just to get a rise out of things.
THE STARS SO NEAR
The stars so near it seems the approaching morning
could wet its thumb and forefinger
and pinching their wicks like intimate candles
that have held the lovers close
and the ghosts at bay all night
put them out with a hiss.
An ancient mirror deep within me
I couldn’t bring myself to bury
with the woman who once looked into it
is beginning to flood like a river of eyes with autumn rain
and I want to cry for things
that have departed like water birds
from their circuitous reflections on the mindstream
and leave the heart knocking
like an empty lifeboat against the rocks
that no one sings from now.
I’ve stared at the moon several nights in a row
as if we drank from the same skull
and I want to elevate my tears to a higher level
as a rite of passage worthy of what I mourn
but no lights on in the lockmaster’s house
me and the moon both know
how impossible it is to raise the dead
from their watersheds
by adding a few tears to a dry seabed
out of the largesse of the living
in the wake of so many shadows.
I’m trying to align my third eye like a bubble
in the middle of a balance beam
and build on the cornerstone of the moon
a Taj Mahal of lunar coral to commemorate
the loss of so much beauty
to the things it touched like braille
as if it wasn’t enough just to light them up
but parting the depths of its fathomless veils
open their eyes as well.
I shall turn three times in the silver grass
and stretching my body out like a scar upon the earth
lay down in a deer-bed by the river
with her absence bigger than the night for awhile
and listen to the frogs and crickets
as I used to listen for her footfalls on the creaking stairs
and the moon won’t lay its sword of light on the waters
like a vow of separation to keep us apart
and I shall ask every star
down to the sixth magnitude of time and shining
what has become of her who used to weave
English ox-eyed daisies into her hair
as if she were already among the constellations
showing off the lesser luminaries of earth
as if there were nothing so small
nothing so slighted or disregarded
no moment of life so devoid of inspiration
even the fireflies that can’t stay fixed in one place
long enough to beat a path into a zodiac
and elaborate their own creation myths
into something unborn and unperishing
by the immaculate darkness of her transience.
To suffer everything as if it were a blessing she once said.
I look up through the leafless bough of an aging maple
twisted like a burnt match stick
whose fire’s just flared out.
I look up at the stars
as if they’d built their webs between the branches
like momentary dream catchers.
And I can’t manage it.