IF WE MEET AGAIN
If we meet again, don’t quote your scars at me as if you were the moon. It’s hard to sympathize with the smile of a knife when it’s bleeding. There are some stains on the bedsheets even the light can’t wash away, and a mouth is not a wound you can close with a kiss. And I know some part of me is struggling with this like a cut worm who won’t bless the plough, but many women before you, because I died wholly for them, have taught me that even the most normative caprice of severance is the east of my deliverance, and all I have to do is wait in the cave of the Seven Sleepers for the eras to pass that will restore me like a face to a mask. But you’ll be bones by then, and the nightwind will not rescind the taste of your name just to please the flowers. You need a younger man who knows why he cries as I once did; older, I ache like a stone, but only metals move through me like swords and crowns unsheathed by wizards and kings, the boyish imaginings of my injured prowess when I’m bored with the lies that are inscribed under the eyelids of the wedding rings. And yes, this mute, mouthless, abysmal silence stings and the words that mated in a fury of night have lost their wings like flying ants that busy themselves with smaller dismemberments in the dirt. Or less symbolically rendered, I hurt. Quartered and torn asunder. Down, down, down under where I can look up at the roots and wonder if anything flowers on the bright side, or if my gravestone pops up like toast for another bride of the morning that wakes up glitzy beside my ghost. But this is an old coast I’ve been down before like a fly at a windowpane looking for a passage through the absolute glass of the ice pack in my way. And it’s not a matter of doubting there is a Cathay to be ultimately reached, but if I’ve grown sadder and wiser in all kinds of romantic weather, repeatedly beached, the compass of my little sage is more a map of where not to go than anything, but I don’t preach. Like a wolf above the timberline you can hear but can’t locate, the peaks scrambling the echoes like an early warning defensive missile system, I have learned to stay to the high paths above the radioactive dumps of the emotional melt-downs that glow like the half-life of cities in the dark. Howl there and no one understands the sorrow and the madness that’s drawn out of your blood and soul by the poultice of the moon; everyone’s tuning their bark to a voice coach, and behind every pitbull there’s a pooch. Better, my solitude, better this precipice with a view, than all the sirens and muses I’ve screwed the night before my sacrifice. I will not grovel on the bestial floor in the gore of my wretchedness, nor saint myself in a waste of blood and love just to prove I’ve been true to my hallucination. You can’t churn honey from yeast, or inflate the bread with pollen, and why bother trying to lift the pillars of old civilizations that have fallen into the rubbish and rubble of their kingdom-comes? I was never much of a goat you could tie bleating to a stake to con a tiger, or kill a god. Only a little magician is the fool of his rod, and there are darknesses well beyond sorcery that unmaster even the greatest adept of their demonic clarity. If you want to see into things don’t rely on your eyes. So I grieve; love palls and the flowers fall and I’m sad for the passing of everyone and everything, for the thin vapour of the dreams we keep breathing out like used air, for the unnamed star with dead planets like burrs in her hair, for the agonized cigarette-butt stubbed into the worn wood of the indifferent stair. If once I aspired to a failure beyond my utmost; at least, now, in times like these, when I search my heart like Atlantis for the occasional throne, I’m equal to my own inadequacy, and if I’m alone, I’m alone. Nor do I blame you anymore than I would the eyes behind the e-mail curtains that parted like the Red Sea to take a look at my exodus below into a gloomier theocracy. The same old menu of manna and vipers as the last time I crossed over, and the screening myth of a murder now the press release of a lie, and no sorrow in the eye that washes pharaoh out to sea, and tomorrow always the promised land just out of reach like the face of a woman only fingertips away from the obedience I breach and the breaches I obey. Did I not labour for you like a well in a desert, and bleach the water with sunstruck ghosts before I held it up to your lips like the moon to dispel the fever of a chronic eclipse? I was you and you were me. You said so. Closer than blood and breath. Maybe I just wanted to believe a greater intimacy than I had ever known was possible between people. Maybe the night was bored and sighed and the sigh stirred us into words and a nighthawk shrieked at the top of the moon’s stairwell, higher than it had ever been lifted up before by the bedsprings of its spiritual thermals where you lay down with me, our only skin, the sky. I saw your face once. I saw your tattooed arms and legs. I saw your eye. And the moist star that adorned it. The man and poet that I am are the two footings of the same bridge astraddle the mindstream that has no banks, and most of the time it’s hard to tell whether it’s the water or the bridge that flows, but my heart knows when it’s been touched, and you touched it. I felt you like the sky feels a new constellation crossing over for the first time, fascinated by the dark currents that swirled below, a confluence of voices, and the reflection of stars that mimed your radiance, as, effortlessly, a spontaneous inversion of the night, I returned your shining to you. But now, if you’re gone. Full stop. And this silence that widens in my wake like the compass of a departing waterbird on its way to the next pond, is all that’s left of everything that’s gone, this tremor of time in a dark space that once shone, the light with its tongue cut out learning to sign, I will not blow out the star in your eye that webbed the dreamcatcher in the corner of mine. I will remember you some nights when there’s only the field and me and the night and the stars, and I stand in the vastness lordless and alone, and feel the dark efface my life in its boundless immensity, and all my feelings a halo of black comets that once flared in the sun, I will remember you; I will remember you with intensity, and I will wonder.