I LONG FOR WORDS
I long for words that don’t exist;
I long for a light
that my eyes have never flowered in before,
but hope is a gravedigger
singing in a pit
and I removed those bones long ago
to accommodate the newly dead.
Now I conduct night-classes under a bridge
for working constellations.
And I don’t really know what I’d say
if the silence were ever
to shape the urn of my voice
into an uncontainable emptiness again;
so that every drop of dew
on every blade of grass,
while the moon rose
through the broad-leaved basswood grove
were wrapped like a sky
in the skin of my eyes.
What can be understood
is already slurred by signs,
and the best way to hide
is to go looking for yourself.
Forgetting for the moment
that ignorant doors
are not looking for enlightened keys,
maybe I would still try to express
that first dark kiss
of the original fountain-mouth
that stepped out of the tide of an eclipse
like an island or a woman
who wore the shore of her own shapeshifting body
to walk like a watershed into consciousness.
But the light cloaks as well as reveals
and eventually the eyes
evaporate into their visions,
and the hearts of the seers
hang like drops of blood
above the cold and empty cauldron of the universe.
Time and suffering
will enlighten the profound folly
of your most sacred delusion
and in a black lightning flash
before the arising of signs
you’ll know whose signature the wind is.
How many tomorrows ago,
furious and young,
did I make a ladder
out of violated thresholds
to climb up to the window of a burning lighthouse
and rescue myself like a child
from this moment now?
Follow someone else’s road
and you walk your own wake.
Make your own
and you are everywhere
the immoveable seed
the world flowers for.
When your silence turned grey,
and your jewels
no longer hosted the light
in their darkening palaces,
and your echoes rewrote the original play
for three actors with the same voice,
and all your one-legged bridges
stood on a single bank,
longing to straddle heaven,
and you let your heart wither
until it was only a medicine bag
full of sacred dirt,
and what you once knew
without a witness,
you now forced yourself to believe in
like a sinner you thought you were
pressed into jury duty against herself
because eventually all the lies come true
and sin is just another form
of back porch enlightenment
to obviate your entrance
into the greater delusion of virtue.
Do you remember what it was like
to see clearly
before you poured
all this snakefire and moonsilt into the well?
Now you’re trying
to wash a mudslide off
in a drop of dew,
straining to cast the shadow of a mountain
behind every grain of dust.
And you’re afraid
to be afraid that all
your goofy revelations of personal apocalypse
are cliches of other people’s wisdom
on the back of a matchbook,
that you’ve passed
through the gates of midnight thousands of times
only to find
you’re still veiled like a nun
by the light of your own passage.
The answer shows up
and you start looking for the question.
You wear your nakedness on the outside
to disguise your masks
and what kind of a lover can you be now
that you’re too shy
to undress in front of yourself?
How many skeletons
have you tried like keys
on the doors of your emptiness,
trying to get out of yourself,
only to realize
the abyss between your legs
has no inside or outside,
that the void never checks its mail
that all your scars and bruises
rolled up into a ball
still don’t make a moon
with a sea and an atmosphere?
You never liked me
because I wouldn’t lie to you,
and though I ached for the oblivion
in the black fire of your lust,
and waited for you to rise from the lake
to claim my burning body,
and loved you like the death I was meant for,
I never could teach you
to swim through ashes with dragons,
or convince you you weren’t blind
when the mirrors turned their backs
to prove by the light of a brighter darkness
your eyes were your own.
You shot past me
like a near-sighted asteroid
thrown like the first stone
at a planet grown stubborn with life
the cold, igneous ore of your porous heart
could not sponsor on its own.
You took what you thought was aim
and squeezed one off
the trigger of the moon
as the hammer fell on the anvil of your body
and you recoiled like a serpent with intent.
and have gone on as you are forever,
stunned by the concussion that proved
beyond the shadow of a misfire
you’re bad ammo,
a leaky white phosphorus grenade
advancing rapidly toward the front lines
of a war with yourself
already well lost
when you came out of the tent
of your high command like a worm
with the battle plan of your next breath
and the junkie poppies
that blow like kisses between your crosses
row on row
o.d.’d en masse like a blood transfusion
rather than remember
anything about you.
Some people just make more of an impact
than others I guess.
But I haven’t completely forgotten you.
You were the pygmy empress
in the shadows of the single matchstick pillar
of your own self-renown,
trying to plough the moon with a sword
that couldn’t tell the difference
between a crater and a crown.