COUNTING THE BRICKS IN THE WALL ACROSS THE STREET
Counting the bricks in the wall across the street.
Full sunlight. Noon. Blue sky. Bikers
revving their throttles like angry sheets
snapping in the wind on a clothesline
as if they had their hands on the throats
of their ex-girlfriends. No gender bias intended.
I can’t hear the pigeons cooing under the eaves
over the snarl of old men on fourstrokes.
I’m just sitting here like the flagging waterlily
of a collapsed parachute that doesn’t want
to jump up anymore like a dandelion seed
at the least gust of wind. For the moment, at least,
no more descending toward paradise
like a counter-intuitive guess at which way is up.
I’m tied like a hooded hawk to the arm of a swamp.
Icarus is not all that unhappy with where
he crash-landed in a farmer’s field. Could
have been a kite in a powerline, a bat
velcroed to the burdock in a porchlight
that messed up its flyby. Here is there everywhere
if you’ve got enough imagination to lose yourself
in the extraordinary ordinariness of things
close to your heart. The eery patina of time
is always as young as once and once only
and like eternity, gone in the flash of an eye,
casting its shadow of now or never over everything
with the urgency of a fire hydrant
that thinks of itself as a heart transplant.
Lightyears left to go in my winged heels
without a flightplan to deliver the messenger,
but it isn’t the journey, today, it’s my shoes, my shoes
that are wearing me out where the rubber
hits the road like a poem late at night on
a hot asphalt highway reeking of dead frogs
like popcorn in the cinematic highbeams of a joy ride.
My feet sore as if I’d been firewalking on asteroids
down some long dirt road that would sweep
a biker right off his wheels if he cornered too sharply.
An intensely temperate day. The great sea
of awareness is not displeased with its own weather,
though I can hear the rootfires of dragons
growing underground like the cosmic eggs
of island galaxies about to hatch out
from the crude ore that’s being refined
like the psychodynamics of a sacred volcano
in my subconscious, I’m more curious than perturbed.
I’m going to stretch out here in the grass
at the side of this road. Let the ants worry
about how to get me back to the colony piecemeal.
Only the dog on a short foodchain wants to get away.
I’m going to dump this heavy load I’ve amassed
like a god-particle backpacking along the trail
like an alloy of a red wolf and a coyote weary
of keeping the shepherd moons around here on their toes
without meaning to in the struggle to survive.
I’m not even going to bother to lick my wounds
like a herbalist among the wild roses and the words
that sting like the antiseptics in my mouth
and the thorns I usually staple them up with
without leaving too much of a scar on the moon.
Physician heal thyself. Either way, let the roses bloom
or bleed out like red skies in the morning
that burn like iodine, or put lipstick on the clouds
at twilight to the delight of lovesick sailors.
Just want to lie here like the figure head of a fallen tree
or a shipwreck in port with a cargo of failures for awhile.
What I must be only a fool would try to do
anything about. The rain falls and the housewells
are full. I raise my crystal skull to the stars
like hidden secrets veiled by the light and I drink it
down to the lees of an emptiness that tastes
like the cast off afterbirth of wine on my tongue.