HOLDING IT IN, THE PAIN, THE DOUBT, THE SOLITUDE
Holding it in, the pain, the doubt, the solitude.
Caging my wild heart out in the open where the stars live,
and the bars are all on the inside like toppled pillars
still holding up the friezes of a few high ideals as much
out of habit, as to show a lot of class
in the way you fall to your knees like a bull
in a tauromachia of the zodiac with seven sunbeams
like acupuncture needles or porcupine quills in your back,
as your ear is cut off like Van Gogh’s and thrown
like a rose of blood to a lady in the crowd.
Living in the lunar half light of all my uncertainties.
Trying to see things I’ve been dying for most of my life
not as expiring consolations on a terminal night ward,
night lights in the morgue, flowers beside the bed,
soft, white shoes whispering down the polished halls of the dead
so they could get a good night’s sleep, knowing
there were more nightmares in their lives
than the hard pillows of the world
they lay their heads down on as if
they were getting used to their gravestones.
Stripped of meaning like the frayed ends
of my thinning neuronic synapses pared to the bone
without any insulation to bear up to the next lightning strike,
that would make even the weathervanes shriek like rust
with the pain, the pain I’m holding in, on trust
it’s going to transmogrify itself into something
death-defyingly creative, the art of a noble calling,
like a snakepit of gamma ray bursts as if space and time
were hemorrhaging like a miscarriage of the heart.
Biting the bullet, eating the pain like an organic vegetable
that’s good for you, hoping the character it builds
isn’t Frankenstein, or the missing link in the madness
of some other species of suffering keeping its distance
because it can’t believe it’s descended from you.
My heart numbed by laughing gas, an ice age of novocaine,
I’m still trying to pull the thorns out with my teeth
like a physician who knows how to heal himself
but if the truth be told, feels more like a toxin
than an antidote milked from the fang of the moon,
a junkie slumped in an abandoned back alley easy chair
like a lotus-eater among the feral cats inclusively alone
to nurse his despair into dreaming of no better life than this one.
I’m still trying to pull the sword out of the stone,
a syringe out of the arm of a lion, the last hinge of the door
that’s hanging like a lapwing without a wingspan anymore.
Down on myself like a meteor shower trying to exchange
one hundred and thirty-five million years of dinosaurs
for just one warm-blooded moment with a mammal.
As new a day to me as it is to a baby, and I’m doing my best
to live wholly and now in the moment,
without losing my appetite for time
or letting the starfields be overgrown by underbrush,
but when there are more scars and skeletons on your dance card
than there are wounded new moons making a recovery
on the rebound, you can feel like the abandoned ark of a barn
scuttled on Mt. Ararat like a love cruise that wants its money back.
And time is just a snake-oil salesman that heals nothing.
Space turning to glass. Time in convulsions
having tasted a little of its own medicine
and the light that broke this morning like a halo of hope
around the rim of the black hole that had swallowed me live
I was being so cooly detached about, though my heart,
voodoo doll it may have been in the past, beat as fast
as the rain stitching up the seams of the mirrors on the street
as if they were on the same wavelength as a surgical sewing machine,
until it realized this false dawn was as dark as the last
and all it was doing was patching up the ghosts of the past
with clouds of unknowing that had no secrets to reveal
and pathetic fallacy aside, knew nothing about the way I feel.
Trying to be a human who healed more than he wounded.
Trying to be a man that his jeans aren’t ashamed to wear.
Trying to be a Zen hard rock strong enough to climb the mountain
than come down on everyone like an avalanche of cornerstones
giving up like Sisyphus on pushing another moonrise up the hill
even when I’m swimming through quicksand
or paving a way that others might follow as lost as I’ve been
on this long, dark, strange, radiant road
that isn’t just another starmap with pit stops,
that isn’t the asphalt of spiritual La Brea Tarpits,
or a labyrinth that ends in a cul de sac of glass ceilings
like the crumbs of the dreams of a habitable planet
I saved like a rosary of near-earth asteroids
just a few fly-bys outside the Van Allen Radiation Belts
I wore like a bodhisattvic warrior without any scalps
to bring things back together that have been too long apart.