I’VE AGED LIKE SNOW
I’ve aged like snow
rounded by my own thawing.
Something’s gone cold inside
like the grave pit of a jewel
that rose from the dead
and left this terrible absence
as if one my eyes were missing.
But when I think about it
a minute or two longer than I should have
when has it ever not been so?
Cold, but I can still burn.
And not one candle in a niche at a time
but whole constellations arrayed
to squander their radiance on nothing
as if they were showing time and space
how to party.
And I’m not deaf to the big foghorns
groaning like dying dinosaurs
on the Pacific coasts of consciousness
that remind me time is passing
like an island in the night
I might be marooned on.
Desolate assessments of what’s ahead
through a long winter of solitude.
The worst lies are the ones
people stick in their ears like fingers
not to hear the cries of the drowning.
So I don’t. I listen.
But sometimes my helplessness drives me so mad
not knowing what else to do
I start dancing with the fireflies on shore
until I’m so tranced out
for one more night or two
I feel like a great bonfire of life
that set its last lifeboat ablaze
to shout out into the darkness
at the first star I see
break the gloom
like a ship on the distant horizon,
for the sake of the fireflies, the dance,
the drowning, the island and me,
Hey, we’re here.
We’re over here.
For God’s sake, we’re over here.
But after awhile I return to my senses
and it's just one more wavelength after another
like the widening wake of something that’s passed,
washing the bodies of people
I used to know and love
like blood of my blood
and flesh of my flesh
up on the beach
like a cargo of immigrant dolls
who’d paid for their passage to the other side
where things were supposed to be more beautiful
but the way things went down
couldn’t swim for their lives.
With sorrow and anger
for what’s happened to them
not caring if it’s the right attitude or not,
only that it’s human,
I gather them up one by one
and sit them around what remains of the fire
to dry off and get their bearings again
like a zodiac that lost it for awhile,
and I talk to them
about all those trivial things I remember
I never thought would mean
more than the world to me now.