I HAVE RUN MY HEART AGROUND
I have run my heart aground
like the keel of the moon on the coral
and the memory of women I once loved
hurts me today
like blowback from the furnaces of autumn
that went out years ago.
It’s easier to train a dove than a crow
and I was a reluctant dragon
trying not to roil the water in my wake.
Doubting that forgiveness is ever real,
I give it and ask it
and discharge us all
from the degenerating orbits
of all the radiant photons that reversed their spin
to take one long last look at us
as we unspooled like glaciers
at each others’ feet.
Eventually we’re all just flavours of space.
And you have to open your hand to hang on,
and learn to live with a heart that tolls
like a bell or an oyster
after its pearl has been plundered
and look upon dark, intimate things without a voice.
I have dug deeper than my own bones to get at the truth
as if I were an abandoned civilization
with nothing left standing
but a succession of meaningless gates
that no one waits by anymore to meet me.
I have added my skull like the moon to the darkness
to appeal more deeply to the nightside of life
that she might reveal
why she always hides me under the bed
when I knock on her door from the outside,
hoping she’ll unlock herself like a coffin
and raise the dead.
I may be a starmap blowing down a road on the moon,
but there’s no wind, no one to walk it,
no arrival, no departure
no threshold before me, and none behind.
In the light of the silent ferocity
of a black star longing in the distance for contact,
I have intensely held certain, lethal questions
up to my throat like a phase of the moon
and held myself hostage to the answers
until I fell in love with my torment
and all these ransom notes turned into poems.
It’s a quaint myth of origin,
and even a delusion is some kind of direction,
and who’s to say the stars
aren’t in need of correction themselves?
And it isn’t as if one mirage
were more sufficient than another,
it’s just that we long for the unattainable through them
like kites that have run out of atmosphere,
and the lie that heals is truer than the one that doesn’t.
So we insisted on being in love
as wave after wave
we tried to bridge continents
to keep our hearts from flatlining.
What a riot of sorrow and sex and poetry
swung us like bells when we walked
out of our bomb-proof cathedrals
into the intimate dangers of our own lyrical intensities,
gouging the eyes out of the constellations we rolled like dice
against the writing on the wall.
Love’s a big, sloppy sky
that smothers you like fog on the ocean
when it collapses like a parachute
at the end of a sustained fall.
Everyone lets go of their demons
like kites in a hurricane,
like blossoms from an orchard,
like flakes of ancient flint
as the heart naps its arrowhead of ice
in the shadows of the sacred night fire
that exhumes the phoenix from the flesh.
Looking back, I am humbled by the memory
of how much I couldn’t see
through a painted window
while the moon waited for rain among the willows,
but sooner or later you make peace
with everyone you can’t be
and sign a truce with everyone you are
and drown your sword in your own blood
like a holy war you can’t win
and keep trying to embody wisdom until you disappear
like a homeless bird in the clarity,
so perfectly isolated by everything you’ve ever loved
even the sky you fly through
can’t fit itself like skin
around the enormity of the tear
that hordes its most intimate fire
like a flame thrust into the darkness of an afterlife
where the eras and the headstones,
the faces under the bedstones,
thaw like lockets of ice.