I AM A DRAGON
I am a dragon,
but I’ve got cloudy teeth.
You are a vase among jars,
a feather among scales.
Obviously you are the sea
and I am the seabed.
In the darkness you are the shining.
I come to you
like lead to an alchemist,
base metal to gold.
Already I am transformed
by your mirrors of fire.
There is a light, a glow,
invisible but more illuminating,
not of the moon, or sun, or a star,
but of the heart and mind,
the light of life itself
when it’s the only candle in the room
dancing behind its veil of shadows,
and in the least filament
of the down upon your thighs,
there are suffusions of fireflies and galaxies,
ripening like apricots
over the open doors of worlds within,
over eyes that bloom like wild asters
rooted in the earthly fields of the heart.
I have been a ghost
trying to say itself into existence;
and my bread and my blood
have been the whisper and breath of you.
Not the mountains, not
the mothering floors of the wheat seas,
not the forests or the hills or the rivers,
not the ladders or roads or miles between us,
nor the seasons of the threshing clock,
have kept us one eyelash apart;
we have been wings to each other;
we have been the secret tides of the rose
in a bay of blood to one another;
we have been the substance of a dream
that lingers like the impression in cool grass
of where the deer slept the night before.
In the flights of winter birds,
on moist winter days,
I have rehearsed endless summers to come,
when the sky whispered your eyes
in bells of sidereal fragrance
into the abyss of my longing for you
and love seemed a petal of light on the wind,
and you were that petal,
and I was that wind.
And though I have stood for eras
on this bridge of night alone
waiting for you like a letter, an afterlife,
a voice of fire in a well urgent with stars
I want to live with you,
we have always embraced, not two,
arrow and bow,
pilgrim and shrine,
release and enlightenment
reflected in these visions
the insistent palettes of the heart
paint on the impassioned waters
of the lifestream.
I have been a storm of blood and stars;
I have drowned in the crypts of my own tears
and learned to breathe through a new medium,
set the crown of my fin on a rose of gills,
and bloom in a mythically enhanced
immensity of sorrows,
and the shadows under my eyes
have mourned for me
like black bells in a tower of thorns,
two horses of night chained to a heart
that dragged itself around like a hearse
looking for a lost grave.
I buried myself in women
who were torn like the satin lining
out of a coffin just
when they were about to give birth.
Their pain always tasted of an afterlife
that danced like lightning on the tip of my tongue
until my blood caught fire
like a rose with a voice of wine.
Black, apostate madonnas
of body, heart, and mystery,
even the moon a bead of devotion
on a thread of their blood,
a dream vow under the eyelid of an eclipse.
I never knew what to say
that wasn’t a life shy
of an inadequate skeleton
trying to reflesh itself with the ashes
of its last sidereal cremation.
I was born again and again
like a sword drawn out of a stone
to hurl my humanity
like a sparrow
against the windows and eyes of the gods.
They knew I was right
to live the prophecy
written in the book of my wings by the wind,
but their tears fell like glass rice
on the stairwells of the bridal mirrors
that wept like silver serpents
at the heels of the moon
and whatever road I walked,
whatever direction I wandered in
like a drunken river
I passed through my own ribs
like an opening gate
to a sealess exile on the moon,
a lighthouse to the sail of a ghost in a desert.
Events of the spirit,
and the imported executioners
of tormentive ecstasies
that made our bodies shudder with oblivion
until even our shadows glowed
like feathers of light
that glutted the abyss we pillowed like stone
to lay our heads down upon and dream,
keyed like a highwire
over the infinite emptiness
of a guitar in the corner of a tomb
eating the dust of a blackboard
that schooled the scrawl of the angels
into the writing on the wall.
How many lovers have perished in me
like the rings and eras of a tree,
and what enormities of childhood it takes
to sweeten a single ruby of fruit,
what tides of blood and light
collapsing like eyelids on the mystic circus
that pulled off miracles
under the sheets and skies and skin
of our lascivious tents.
Now I am a dunce in a wizard’s hat,
a cone of light,
the pillar of a fallen shadow,
freeing the wings of wounded birds
from the nets and mesh of the stars.
I am a dragon
with the soul of a bridge to here and now,
a weed on the stairs of an unknown temple
to a god that sweeps me away like ashes
with the broom of my shadow,
and my face is the footprint of the wind
as flowers are the footprints of the light,
and my heart is a pebble
I keep dropping down a well
to listen for an echo from the depths,
for a whisper of fire on the water,
to deliver me like a burning dove
with a leaf of the moon in its beak,
a letter from you,
to say there is a south of the heart
that can thaw this arctic desolation
that overtakes me like an ageless night
as my thoughts fall away
like the flames of descending matches,
like angels and demons
tilted from heaven,
from the plane of their orbital hearts,
toppled like towers and lighthouses
by an urge to kiss their own reflections.
I am a dragon
chained to the nightrain
that inks the roots of the locust tree
with thorns and stars and flowers,
and my blood is a dusky mess of dawns and ancient sunsets.
My heart was scaled like the moon
by the phases of an empty cup,
my eyes were birdless skies
and nothing flew higher
than the feathered shadows of the trees
that roosted in the grass like water,
and there were no tears left
in the wineskin of the heart
withered like a lily that bloomed for a day
like the soft clarion of a bruised trumpet.
Now I think of you
so many nights and miles away,
and I walk like a bridge toward you,
and my wings are spread out
like the pages of ample skies
that have yet to be written on by the stars,
and I must blow on my longing to be with you
like a spoonful of hot diamonds
just to keep the deserts of my thought
from etherealizing the tropics of my blood,
my eyes evaporating like crucial oases
in the heat of these visions
that burn the air
with fountains of fire
in this tavern of mystic passions
where I drink alone to you,
the furnace of my blood
silked like a black poppy
when I reach out,
a tree in winter,
the afterlife of lightning,
to touch your face like the moon.
I have been a lonely crusade of one
fighting for the gravestone of a dead god
enthroned in the leaf-fire of his falling,
lost in his dream like salt in the sea of the world,
stars in the seed of the apple,
a shadow devoted to the cause of the wind.
I am an era of scars
inspired by the talons of the moon
seizing my heart like a rag of meat
in these elevated bone-bowls of birth and death.
I have been a poet among humans,
an indignant warrior of the heart
with an army of seasoned candles
reconnoitering distant fires in the night
that bloomed like the breath
of insurmountable divinities
gathering like birds
in the border hills of the darkness
that always took the form of a luminous woman
bathing naked in a sea of eyeless windows.
Crowned like an apple star
for the brilliance of my defeats,
I fall like a key of crazy sugar,
a mysterious elixir of midnight orchids,
a squall of renegade stars
into the transformative valleys and bays
of your forbidden paradise,
happier than a fireproof heretic in the flames,
singing into the abyss of an unknown god
that has robed my heart like a wounded boat,
a solitary on his island,
in these auroral tides
that play my blood like the pulse
of this keyboard of light
where I drown like a stone messiah
true to the excruciations of his faith
in these delinquent oceans of you.
All my poems, chalk-dust,
all my mystic nightbirds iron weathervanes
bent by the lightning toward earth
like the forlorn hope of a battered metal,
all my paintings a bleeding and bruising of snow,
and the sincerity of the ways I got lost
in this labyrinth of mirrors
unspooling like a thread of blood
from an immortally wounded star,
an agony of human fire
rooted in the voice of the wind like a bird
the abyss of a night without bounds
squanders on the supremacy
of the oldest silence
time ever distilled from the eyes of the dead,
the perjury of a perishing light,
if I did not love your ashes and orchards,
the way you tear your constellations
on the thorns of the moon
and bleed like black silk
for an innocence that never found its way home.
I can taste the dark prophecies
and oracles of infernal delight
written in scars on the dangerous mushroom
of your nuclear body,
and flow like the silt of stars
white mountain gold and night honey
through the hives and deltas
that enshrine the ore of the rose.
I can prolong the dawn like the wishbone of a note
broken like a harp
in the throats of the singing masters of the flesh.
I can blood the night with a fever of poppies
and scoop weeping diamonds
from the black fountain
in the furnace-heart of an electric glacier.
I can wield ecstasy
like a blade of the moon bewitched by its wound.
I can untie the knots and nooses
in the spinal cord of the butterfly
pinned like a calendar of eclipses,
a quarantined blossom,
to a dead branch under a bell of glass
and wire Eden back
to the infernal nerve of the lightning
that severed the afterbirth of the moon
from the dark mother in the garden
like an angel with a slash of fire at the gate.
I know how to make love
like an embassy of shadows
to the most distant longings of a woman in exile.
I can pour the oil of winged serpents
into the lamp
and entice a ghost of snow
to dance naked in the fire.
I can lead the lost cloud
out of the mountains of the key
to the doorway of candles and stars
enshrined in the skulls of seeing.
And even when I turn my back
on the darkest flowers of fire in my roots
to rise up like rain
into the immeasurable wingspan
of these desert clarities
that bead me like a caravan
of nomadic moons,
no more than a breath of light
in a gust of stars,
I’m still only a ladder of thresholds away
from stealing you like the night sky
through the astounded vowel of an open window.