WHAT I WANTED TO SHOW YOU
What I wanted to show you,
you will not see.
What I wanted to give you,
you will not receive.
The wind may mourn your passing
like an abandoned dog
and the leaves of the silver Russian olive
may be baffled into silver
by the way you left the gate open
to a bigger, colder, darker world than it was
before you told me you loved me
like an arsonist in a wheat field,
a comet above the willow tree
that wept its way into autumn.
Go. I lay no claims or obligations
at your feet anymore than I would
try to smudge space
with the black rose of the night
that tastes of old eclipses in my blood.
You say ebulliently
you want to know passionately
the depths of love,
but like the fools before you
who blundered into the fire,
you’re only witching for volcanoes
with the tongue of a snake.
As well look for fishroads
under the dead seas of the moon
as follow the path you’re on.
And your beauty is no excuse,
your body no sanctuary,
your blackberry heart
no pilgrim to anywhere
you can’t stand in the light
trying on shadows like lingerie
in the mirror of the delusions
you’ve clarified like the skin of a bubble
that has smeared the reflection of the world so long
you think you’re a planet with trees.
You’re a spiritual junkie
jonesing for suffusions of the inconceivable
to animate the dust and galaxies
you have no life or love to breathe into
other than that little wind
you carry around in a bottle
in case you’re ever stranded
without an emergency exit
from all the lies you tell in paradise.
You suffer the mythically inflated gigantism
of your own unbearable insignificance,
and abase yourself prophetically
before the mountain of your own lostness,
hoping for a map
of your wandering in stone
that would authorize your confusion
as holier than the rest.
Lonely for converts,
you tell me I’m sure of heaven.
Just as lonely I reply
if someone like me
were to show up in heaven,
it couldn’t be much of place to aspire to
and how could the blessed
not feel cheated?
But you don’t get it;
you really don’t understand
that life isn’t an auditon of angels
and the black cartoon
you’ve made of yourself
to win a feather
isn’t a prelude
to the main feature
when the lights go out
and the ushers
who conducted the dead to their seats
evaporate in the aisles
and you upstage the movie
with your nakedness
as if God couldn’t see
the snake-flute of your body
dancing with serpents in the dark.
Lust alone would have been enough
to keep us together
but waking from your dream
of forbidden undertows,
washed ashore again
on your oracular island,
you kept trying to weld the right light
to the wrong shadow,
even the most exotic futility grows boring.
You dipped the stone-flaked arrowhead
of your aboriginal heart
in the toxic fires of your own undoing
and pointing it at mine
tried to deceive yourself into a direction.
And now you want,
now you long,
now you want to come back
and immerse yourself in the life
you once stepped over
like a drunk asleep on the sidewalk.
You’ve suffered and grown,
you’ve wept and derived humility
from irreparable loss;
you’ve trembled before
the first, terrible intimations of the vastness
of the sky in your heart
like the virgin flight of a lost bird,
and you want to be given another chance
to surrender yourself at the gate
you once walked through backwards
so enamoured were you of your shadow.
And you promise the river your tears,
the moon your scars, me
the rarest of your orchids in the night.
But when I ask you
what the drunk was dreaming
you still look blankly around the room
as if everything in existence
were merely the baffled clue to your beauty
and the answer
something black and revealing that clings.
You still can’t imagine
how easy it is
to say no to you.