VENUS IN THE WEST, ALWAYS A GOOD SIGN
Venus in the west, always a good sign.
And the night temperate. The balm of the air,
herbal, cool bracken in the shadows,
the flowers stepping back out of the light
as they pack up their circus tents
like clowns and dancers after the show
and move on to who knows what underworld
of root fires in the eyes of the Lord of Jewels?
Why is it the wind always seems crueler
to the pines? Lachrymal glands of dolorous amber.
Hard honey. Broken horns. Is it because
they endure their own ennobling by standing
up to things like the skeletal remains of evergreens?
Venus and Leo blossom on a dead branch.
Influenced by birth under Virgo putting a good face
on a harem of moon goddesses, I’ve never
been able to tell when I look at Spica, that
stalk of wheat burning in her hand, whether
I was raised in a temple or the back of a sacred brothel.
An obstreperous boy among so many women.
You can tell by the way I revere the willows
down by the Tay they’ve had a lasting effect upon me
though remembering yesterday as though
tomorrow hadn’t happened yet, how seldom it seemed
I could ever get them to stop crying as if
love always had a hole in it somewhere
they were leaking out of like escapee waterclocks
squeezed like glaciers out of the rocks,
antediluvian diamonds in tears, and me
just beginning to fire up the Hadean darkness
with stars of my own. There was always
the silent taboo of a secret I wasn’t privy to,
a mystery to life too big to fit like the sea in my ear
as I walked away back to room, thinking
I’ll never be holy enough to overcome death,
but who knows how much of what’s
demonically estranged about me might be esteemed
if I could deepen the shadows to enhance their lights
and alleviate even a single chandelier of sorrow
the way I used to delight in discovering
new, unpicked blackberry patches that were ripe
and bleeding from the eyes like the visionary stigmata
of an infernally compassionate wine you drank from a skull.