I WOKE UP SAYING YOUR NAME
I woke up saying your name
but in the course of the day forgot.
I should have forgiven you sooner
but my tongue was a noose and a knot.
I should have let you fool my eyes
but not my heart. No Grecian urn
but just the same
I loved the shapely vase of your body
and the fact that my ashes weren’t buried in it.
But those bouquets of angry snakes
you kept trying to arrange
into a Zen garden in Kyoto
or a hair do in Mycenean Greece
kept me looking for an antidote for years
to all those estranged wavelengths
of a gamma ray burst
I stood like a nuclear meltdown in the way of,
though I poured my blood out like heavy water
to get you to stop and cool down.
What it is is what it is only
if you don’t factor in what it’s not.
Otherwise, in the bigger picture,
what it is is just as much what it’s not.
And who can assess
what didn’t go down between us?
I’m sitting on a cold rock down by the Tay River
freezing my proverbials off
because I like being alone with the stars
at three in the morning
because they don’t ask for an explanation
about why I’m up so late
so many light years from home.
And they don’t ask me to translate my scars,
the dead word into the living,
back into wounds
they couldn’t relate to anyway.
And I don’t need to tell them
if you’re going to open yourself up to someone,
if you’re going to bloom, if
you’re going to shine
a rose, a star,
you’re bound to taste your own thorns
or the splinters of broken chandeliers
on your tongue, or a dog
with porcupine quills in its mouth,
howling at the dark side of the moon
as the greater of two faith healers.
Though neither the stars nor I
are into comparative mortality.
And as I approach death and love aimlessly
looking at the stars timelessly alone
I don’t bemoan my brevity anymore
and they don’t flash their eternity in my face.
There’s just stars and eyes for awhile
and both of us agree
death and eternity are none of our business.
There’s just this little bit of heat and light
that flares like a matchbook for a minute
and then goes out
like a holybook, a firefly,
a poem or a flower
burning in its own ashes, smothered
in its own smoke like a pillow
over a dream in a skull
that effaced itself like stars
packed into a snowman that thaws
according to cosmic laws
not meant for our eyes only.
And God, the Zeitgeist,
the Universal Id knows,
how we’ve both tried
to enlighten these lumps of coal,
these sorry excuses for eyes
into diamonds that flow
with love and compassion.
How we have laboured like Sisyphus
to haul what’s deep underground,
the dark ore within us,
up into mountains of light
only to watch it run down again
rivers and rain
into the great night seas beyond
like a heart-mind continuum.
A leaf and a starmap on a lifestream.
We have advanced into our retrogression
like everything else in the universe,
big heavy methane planets
with shepherd moons
that cast their shadows
like beauty spots on Saturn,
our polarities reversed,
our axes toppled like Neptune’s.