Tuesday, September 25, 2012



An ant carrying the last bell of a flower,
the heavy weight of knowing how it ends,
the autumn left to clean up after the party,
I have nothing to say to the crows in daylight,
sitting a bough above me like quotation marks,
the heart afraid of its own farewells
as the geese stream across the sky like a shoelace,
and I am more alone in the world than space
as time shows me passage after passage
of wounded poppies bleeding like a hooker’s lipstick.
I’m tired of pushing the sail of my life
like a solar wind to the edges
of the knowable and over
into the unintelligible abyss
of a dictionary compiled for the dead.

And the stars are beginning to look like nails
in a large coffin without a rudder
that sank in drydock,
and stone by stone the cemeteries chatter about life
as they did among shadows, hoping and guessing
the pious vehemence of their chiselled certainties
doesn’t drop a dime
on the number of urges they’ve had
to fuck a teen-age girl into oblivion.

And there are clarities quick enough
to open the lovers like letters that never came,
and mental corals
that will rip the hull out of the moon,
and hives of venom and honey
that hang like lanterns and ambivalent kisses
above the tongue that’s fool enough to taste them,
and a night so dark ahead
only the most star-struck understudies
of last year’s constellations
are eager enough to shine.

I wish I didn’t know,
I wish I didn’t insist on seeing
and my blood didn’t set out looking for me
with a message to assassinate anyone who hides.




After you leave, a bell
deeper than the sea strikes once
and my blood thinks it’s a ghost of fire
and tries to evaporate; gusts
of the most graceful emotions,
eloquent clarities of the heart,
shake me free of myself
like leaves and petals and pages,
the tender radiance of nightskies,
and I am astounded in the openness
of an embrace without limits,
of boundary stones being hurled delinquently
through the windows of ice-age mirrors
that have wept so long and slowly
over the silver river locked in chains.

How easy in this solitude
to declare myself to you,
to undo the delusions and the fears,
to flip through the chapters of the onion,
take off this last layer of skin,
and shed the final masks of snow
in the warming recollection of your presence,
in the way your beauty exhilarates me
then thrusts me like a torch into a deep silence,
and my heart sets out by itself toward you
scintillant everywhere, gold
flowing out of the dark ore,
as if the moon rinsed out its own reflection,
the legend of a secret constellation
behind the vital starmap of fireflies
that makes me want to shine for you so intensely
in this dark doorway of pain and passage
that the light hurts with the poignancy
of its longing to fall like a key
from the spirit’s lost and found
upon your planet;
to open gardens that have no word
for fence or gate,
to bridge your streams
with the pillars and roots of inspired stars.

My heart sets out for you all by itself
like a lantern on a road
that unspools with arrival at every step.

After you leave I am possessed of the will
of an anvil and a forge
to become a chalice for you, a sword,
an axle and a plough, a strong bolt
against the miscreance of battering circumstance.

I raise your reflection to my lips
like a cup from a watershed of wine
and in every single sip
swallow an ocean like a potion
from the tears of the moon,
knowing how dangerous it could be
to miss you, to become
an addict of your light at the first taste,
to wait for eras for the return of the dawn
that unravels even now like mystic lightning through my veins.

No more than the sun from the vine,
the moon from the dreaming apple
the stars from the ripening vowel of the apricot,
could any torn net woven of knotted lifelines
undo the vision you have already mingled
like a nightrose of fragrant fire in my blood.

Not to drift again alone
like an empty boat
ferrying the corpse of the ferryman
through the fog to a cold shore
now that I’ve been washed up on your island
like the voice of a salvaged star in a bottle,
a frenzy of light and love in your tides,
a drowned lighthouse
coming to life in every wave of you.

I want to be brave enough
to risk the possibility
of listening to the night together
with the unveiled bride of the moon
in the bay of my arms,
I want to be the sail, the flame,
the gull of her breathing,
the blue dolphin off the coast of her mouth.

I want to swim like a mirror
the sea holds up to her face
to do her hair up with starfish
she tresses like galaxies in the depths;
I want to devote myself like a candle
to the shrine of the September moonrise
that saturates the far sky over the sad hills
like a warm breath glowing on chilled glass
when she smiles
like the wind over the abundant harvest
of the ashes I’ve stored against
this famine of passion
in the silo of the blue guitar.

I want to place my life
like a feather of fire
on the mysterious altar of lunar rain
that splashes like stars everywhere
in the telescopic silvering of the well in her eyes,
and turn these deserts of space and time
back into grasslands
crossing her thresholds
in whispers of pollen and dust.

She walks into the room
to help me paint the bedroom walls,
as I try to cover the graffiti
of my vandalized soul with white,
and a dove in a cage
panics at her approach
before an open door.

She climbs the ladder in rags with a brush
like the moon over a lake,
behind a cloud,
through the branches of a leafless willow
and everything in the room
is enhanced by her shining
and I’m rolling new skies over
the scars and fossils of old stars,
worn faces with plaster patches
to rewrite the shepherding lies,
the myths and symbols of my solitude
in the sidereal headlines of her transformative light.

Now it’s four a.m
and I’m pacing from empty room to empty room
like the pendulum of a heavy clock
that aspires to be a bell,
threshing words like wild rice
under an eyelid of peacock blue
to fill the empty hold of a buoyant heart,
the small boat of her hands,
with the eyes of a precious gathering.

And the tender snow falls quietly outside
on the crow limbs of the winter trees
like flesh returning to the bones of the dead
in a silent resurrection
more unsayable than a veil of white
that puts its finger to its lips
like an arrow of fire to a bow of blood
to hear what the hidden nightbird
under the eaves of a burning house is singing.