Thursday, February 2, 2012



It’s not mad to ask directions from the lightning
and these clouds and roads of unknowing
that unravel like threads of blood
in the refutable hands of time, not mad
to follow the wind anywhere like the blind
or someone in love. Follow the feathers, the leaves,
the weathervanes of the flowers, the lifelines
on the palms of your hands that go nowhere
you haven’t already been, it’s all the same eventually:
there’s nowhere to go, just the going.

And there are crossroads of the mind
and intersections of the busy heart
with clocks in uniforms timing the traffic
that still can’t tell you where things begin and start,
or if you’re progressing backwards into behind.
And there are voices you can trust to lead you like streams
out of your lostness, and books, and maps, and dreams
and stars over the endless horizons of eyelids and hills
that end in themselves like shoes and roots.

Sometimes I wish I were a stone or a gatepost
or footprints on the moon of someone else,
or a stamp on a loveletter that went along for the ride
or a fish in the nets of the rain
dragging their gowns across the fields,
a firefly snagged in the curtains of a stranger’s face
or a key aloof as a locker in a midnight bus-station.

I wish I had a heart that knew what all its flowing
was about, or a birthmark bound for greater things,
and there are rosaries of geese heading south
and wandering planets that never seem to stray
and highways and rivers that make it through the day
without confusion, and people with a compass for a mouth
that I’ll just never be, never quite manage to be.

I asked a solitude at zenith once in transit
if I could share her circles like a shadow
and walk beside her with a thought for tomorrow,
but she raised a finger to the lips of her silence
and it ended that way in a commotion of waves
that carried me all the way back to shore on their shoulders
and left me on the beach of an island of infinite sorrows
where I began, a message in a bottle, a star in a canning jar.

I’ve always said my address is here and now
but lately I think I’ve been going around the bend,
madness on point, and only this starless darkness for a guide.
And maybe someone could find me if I were to hide
and maybe there’s a needle snaking through the grass
to show me there’s a way of knowing first from last
and which goblet of the desert to drink from in an hourglass.




for Alysia

Are you sad, mauled like a morning web
by the shadows of things that were said
to make the candle sorry
it couldn’t shine on alone,
the ray of its affection
lavish with the light of a life
that isn’t a star in a vault of bone?

Strangers in the doorway,
love-letters without a home
that knock like footprints in a blizzard
to marrow the telephone
that no one ever answered
with a voice as raw as gold,

are you sad, are you cold,
is there a dolphin and a wound
between the spaces of the secrets
that mend their nets on the moon?

Oceans in the rose of night,
and poppies in the starfields
that burn like distant nebulae
with all the radiant reasons why

the heart is a better swimmer
than a lie with exits of its own
and when we cry it’s always summer
and keys on a chain in the grass
that fall like cherries and chance.

Are you sad, is there a silence
in the eye of the storm that advances
like a bird that is new to the distance
between the green boughs and the dead,

and bells that kneel in a watershed
to appeal the lightning’s chandeliers,
the roots of an unknown flower
or a sword with a severed head?

Are you sad, alone with the alone;
is there a coast on the verge of tears,
and someone bleeding the starfish
and a ghost on a borrowed throne?