I FEAR I HAVEN’T GOT THE VOICE TO SPEAK TO YOU
I fear I haven’t got the voice to speak to you
as gently as I would. Just a whisper shy of silence.
A star in the dusk of an oncoming nightfall.
I want to suggest an arcana of secrets to you about
the wisdom of life and love you weep for now
like a bruised apple on the ground that yesterday
smothered in bridal apple bloom. Your solitude
and the sorrow of that lunar wound that encumbers
your heart like a bell you keep pouring your life out of
as if it were bad wine, makes you a sacred grove
not any crow on the wing can roost in with impunity.
I’m a shipwrecked sailor and I’ve got the scars
of the moon to prove it. My arm’s been replaced
by the talons of a grappling hook, and the white whale
of the moon mourns for a lost daughter like a harpoon
that triggers a thorn of sorrows in the rose of my heart.
I know the taboo that surrounds a young woman
walking like the moon on the sea in an atmosphere
that’s never going to clear like fog from an ocean of shadows
lashing her heart like breakers of grief and confusion.
Presuming upon nothing is the fairest form of exchange.
Don’t raise me up from the bottom, and I won’t ask you
to get into the lifeboat. I don’t burn my tongue on the stars
as readily as I once did, and I’m not saying
that I’m not as susceptible to an injured lamia
with a snakeskin around her waist, drakaina Sybaris,
as I’ve always been, or I haven’t learned how to milk
one fang of a crescent for the sake of the antidote in the other,
that’s how many times I’ve been bitten. Slow
but thorough, I suppose. It’s been transformative.
And I know it’s weird encountering me way out here
in this abyss where even the most severely abandoned
can’t remember whether they’re exiles or not, but
I was summoned by that seance of razorblades
you’re trying to thresh the starfields with hoping
if you cut deep enough you might uncover a hidden harvest.
If you don’t act like a sparrow with a broken wing
gleaning seeds like the lockets of leftover gardens
I won’t speak to you like a scarecrow trussed up
for the occasion like a hobo that isn’t going anywhere
in a dead man’s suit. Abyss to abyss, I address you
with the greatest tenderness for what you’re suffering through.
Time isn’t going to heal anything. You just learn
to flow around it like a skull in the heartstream
like the beginning of a bridge you’ll cobble
like a hydra-headed lover in the course of time
trying to nurse your absence on the dark side of the moon.
Time isn’t hiding daggers like assassins in the shadows
of the sundials so there’s no need to fence with your paranoia
out of fear the same thing’s going to happen all over again,
because it doesn’t, if you don’t let your pain lose its nerve.
You can make a pearl out of the dirt that’s been heaped
on your moonrise like the luster of a black swan
out on the lake alone like the reflection of a new moon
or you can cover the orbiting telescope of your third eye
in the eyepatch of an eclipse like a falcon in an executioner’s hood
that can taste the blood of the dove like a rose torn on its own thorns.
I suggest you learn to befriend your solitude
so you’ll never be alone again without someone to talk to
like an intimate familiar that won’t lie to you
about the loss of your shepherd moons like beads
on a broken rosary of Canada geese bearing your dead away
like lambs that lay down with a mountain lion without a truce.
Those moments of bliss you experienced have not gone amiss.
They’re still shining like first magnitude starmaps to the past
as they were then, and as they always will be, indelibly
as the blue fireflies in the Pleiades that are as radiant tonight
through the keyhole of your emotional cloud cover
as they were when you left the door wide open to the sky.
Though your lover become anonymous as a defaced idol
whose magic wasn’t a peer of yours, the spell you cast
over each other like the dream-catching fishing nets
of the vernal equinox, are not cast out
by the meteoric ostrakons of the autumnal Leonids
trying to break the light barrier of their radiants
by throwing the first stone into a diaspora of shattered mirrors.
Some dreams disappear like the smoke of distant fires
or ghosts lifting off a lake like a prequel to the morning
and others cling to you for the rest of your life
as if you’re skin had been touched by the moonlight
in such a way your nakedness was robed
in the subtle weave of a silver raiment undulating
like lunacy and enlightenment on the waves
of an oceanic awareness of how far from shore you are.
You don’t need to hire a troupe of foghorns and lighthouses
to act as professional mourners and warners
not to ever give your heart away like salvage to the sea again.
And I won’t say you’re not the first mermaid
to get washed off the rocks she was singing on
by a passing tidal wave that deepened the lyrics of her song
and smashed her lyre like a wishbone that had lost its charm
on the lunar coral reefs she keel-hauled her heart on
like the maiden head on the dolphin prow of a damaged schooner.
Pain is a lot more mystically unique than that.
It’s a snowflake on a furnace that doesn’t repeat itself.
It doesn’t happen to you in quite the same way
it does to everyone else, or to each of them separately
like a river breaking into a million water droplets as it plunges
over the precipice of some unknown abyss within itself.
Separation, too, is a means of sustaining the delusory unison
of the discrete continuum we apply like screening myths
to the discontinuous narrative themes of our lives
as if we needed a stronger rope than our umbilical cords
to moor ourselves like barnacles to an avalanche of moon rocks.
I apply my words like a poultice of lunar herbs to your heart
to draw the possibility of infection out like a flute
the toxic arrowheads fletched with pentatonic scales
in the snakepits of a tone-deaf snake-charmer
that approached you like a young Medusa, long before
your eyes began to stare at the moon like a cold stone.
I come before the oracle, not in her crone phase,
but as a beautiful young woman I ask to prophecy
without the usual ambivalence, what walls she can hide behind
by launching her sorrows like empty coffins in the rain
she inaugurates by breaking Molotov cocktails of champagne
across the bleeding edge of her bow in drydock on the moon.
You, who are the shape of the universe. You,
who are the black madonna of the Merovingian Aquitaine.
You who fletch the arrow of wheat in the hand of the Virgin
with feathers of grain within the wingspan of the golden scythe
of the waxing crescent of the moon. Your longing
the muse of an empty silo. You, the creatrix of poems
that fulfil your deepest desire to be known like a secret
unto yourself like a messenger alone with her medium.
A man might offer you his hand as the measure of all things,
but how many lightyears have your fires burned
in the eyes of the Queen of Heaven with her gaze fixed
like a star on the palm of a sailor to keep him from drowning?
The one who wears the lifemask hurts the worst, it’s true.
The generalities of victory are chaff compared
to the mystic specifics of the lavish jewels that are uncovered
by the wind blowing away the ashes of the bed clothes
that once covered you in flames like a hot-blooded gust of poppies.
Queen Cassiopeia’s throne abdicated her arrogance and things
went circumpolar ever after like a jinx wheel of lapwings.
May I remind you, in a great silence worthy of a devoted heart,
you are a child of Isis, not one of her sacred whores,
however much reverence they accord her under as many names,
the stars flow in your blood as lucidly as they do in hers.
And there’s no mirror of tears in your ancestry that could ever
put them out like fire on the water shadow dancing with the stars
in the eye of a mystery that disarms everyone
with the unspeakable beauty of their enlightened scars
looking upon the sorrows in the face of someone like you
and opening their eyes to the real flesh and blood
behind the carrara marble you’re turning into
like the Pieta of their own souls forsaken like corpses
in their laps like wounded voodoo dolls they can’t
lift the curse from until you return to the living
like the black sail of a funereal moonboat in mourning
sidereally surrendering to the tidal ebb and flow
like the red algae of your own concupiscent renewal
washing you up like a galactic starfish
on the gleaming beaches of a biophosphorescent Milky Way
shining by its own light to illuminate every step you take
like the footprints of a young, prodigal goddess
returning from a long starwalk of celestial heartache.