TACKING INTO THE EMPTINESS
Tacking into the emptiness
like a sail, like a lonely bird
grown bored with carrying love-letters
from tree to tree, star to star,
none of them with my name on them
or a return address
that wasn’t light-years out of date,
to amuse the wounded river of my flowing
I try to get outside myself,
exceed the gates of the black constellations
that govern me from within,
squeeze out through a hole in the fence,
through my pores, eyes
of blood, amber, pitch
weeping out of the pine,
trying to read through the page
with tears of fire,
leaking out of the tree, the pillar,
the plaster Christ that exalts the peasants,
an emotional blackberry
ripened by many nights,
seeping through a makeshift womb of jam,
trying to decide whether
I’m a miscarriage or a delivery.
I feel sorry for myself.
No one will miss me much
when the shadow of the last dragon
passes like a lifelong eclipse of the heart.
The infinite folds
of the hair’s breadth edge of my clarities
demanded blood, not pressed flowers,
and there is a special solitude reserved
for the Promethean thieves,
for those who dare
to spread their arms like a propeller
at the axis of the wheeling world.
I never stared at the playbill
of a cancelled sky for long
without trading my scales in for wings.
I cared dangerously for people
who took from the orchard like wasps
drinking from the bruise of my fall.
Their hearts were punctured
by sidereal omissions,
needled like a doll
into occult distortions of pain.
I will spend the rest of my life
learning not to care for them.
Their pulse tolled like the echo of a soggy bell,
souls and minds,
palettes and telescopes
who wanted it both ways
without really taking a look
to see how they broke
the harps of the longing between them
like the wishbones of impoverished peacocks.
I will master the heresy
of consoling their lovelessness with indifference.
I will apply poultice after poultice
of sensitive lies
to their gangrenous sunsets,
knowing the infection will never come out.
I will be the spirit of a bird
carved in rock,
and I will let the ores of my insight
lie idle in the earth
like the dream of a sleepless god
tired of hearing the universe go off
like an alarm clock that can’t be reset.
I am aging, I age, I grow remote,
I thaw like a bird in the sky,
an eye boiled like a grape
in the wine of its own tears,
and no one lies well enough
to surprise me anymore
with a face more original
than the masks it trades in,
and I’m sick of the knots and nooses of vinegar
that sour the shapely waters of life
by insisting the moon
is only a dead sea in a returnable bottle.
And there is a sadness in everything
like the memory of someone loved
walking away like a leaf down a rainy street
through the gleam of oleaceous carlights
and everything I have ever cherished
is a cameo of the void in a locket,
a portrait of an abyss
everyone is chained to
like a dog in a junkyard of delusions,
howling at the moon
smeared on a bumper of dew
that never put a dent in anything.