Free. Not falling, not wounding the herb I’m healed by,
as the stars change, as the nuts and the berries and the acorns
come to the trees, mast for the bears and the boars and the birds,
time, is it time that does this, enlarging the nightsky of my mind,
until eternity burns invisibly a point above the spearhead
of the candle flame thrust into my eyes, tears not enough
to put it out, fire on the water, hot sorrows, and the beauty
and bliss thereof, as the stars change, and I am a stranger
to myself over and over and over again, come to the same gate
and the flowers bedraggled by what they’ve accomplished,
knowing no one lives there anymore who knows me.
Realms, states of mind, bells of the soul, mundane conditions
of poetic visions, broken arrows and eyeless snakes of the heart,
maybe a dream with a nightwatchman---is it conceivable?---
allegorizing the emotional life of a window he’s peering through
from the outside, anybody there, come out and show yourself
as the shadows of the light he sees by dodge the lamp,
thieves in the dark, tight-lipped as flowers in an eclipse.
Images, symbols, glimpses, insights, musical riffs
of the picture-music carried on the night air like the fragrance
of a voice blooming late in the year up the street out of sight,
and autumn drinking my blood like wine out of a prophetic skull
and the torches of the tall elms, every tree, reeking
of sacrificial guitars like burning bridges I’ve yet to cross.
The beatific ambiguities of perishing. When
do the blessings end? The housewells of the mirages run dry?
The root fires of inconsolable passions burn themselves out,
kin at last to their own humanity, urns of ashes,
smoke and vapours in the spiritual starfields we people
with our deaths? Our dreams smudged of us
by cedar boughs like bats in the attic, by sweetgrass
to drive us off like unwanted spirits into deserted places
where the curses are creative, and the graces, severe?
Purple thistle and the galactic curds of Queen Ann’s Lace,
loosestrife and golden rod along the roadside, whose
paradise was this? The lame duck fields lie fallow.
Someone’s harvested the abyss and taken it in.
A dog barks in the distance. The moonrise gilds the stubble.
Aimless, the hour. Free. Unharassing. The witness
untroubled by the silence that follows the unanswered question,
the imagination unattached to what it creates as if
it articulates the world as less of a statement, than suggestion.
Is this solid? Is this real? The wind intimates less than it feels.
The husks of the milkweed whisper immaculate conceptions
into their own ears, oceans in a seashell that never
come to fruition, embodiments of love born of deception
to help make things clear by blooding their abstractions.
Needing everything, wanting nothing from anyone,
a poem grows like a tree in the abandoned silo of my heart.
Saturn, Venus, Spica and the moon at dusk, Mercury and Jupiter
just before dawn, I thresh the emptiness for starwheat,
for habitable planets where life is as wise as a loaf of bread
fresh from the oven of the sun, shared like a granary
with everyone who eats. The farmhouses stare back
as if their windows have gone insane threading
the third eye of a needle like a blackhole
that doesn’t mend anything but expands
your field of view into an infinite pointlessness
where everything you do is lyrical, absurd, free.
Poetry’s a deepening spell you get caught up in
the more you cast it like moonlight struggling
with its reflection on a tarpit of watersnakes
that swim like oilslicks on the waters of life.
Nor is the quality of darkness diminished
by those who can’t taste the difference between
a new moon and an eclipse, but, still, they try the hardest,
to no avail to mean what they haven’t seen or been
touched by like eyewitnesses at a mock trial,
and the dissolution of forms on the cold night air
weren’t the style of brevity with the staying power
to disappear like a star or a wildflower or a poet
knowing there’s only so much time, and then there is forever.