THE JOURNEY ITSELF
The journey itself changes the nature of the destination
until it is so unrecognizable that the notion
of ever arriving is as absurd as waiting for a star
to catch up to its own light. Poetry’s like that,
and love no less than life: Transmute the wayfarer!
Transmute the wayfarer! If you want to preserve
the remains. I’m led astray by where I’m going.
I don’t linger at the gates of my own unknowing.
I don’t read starmaps backwards in the mirror.
The orphanage isn’t homeless. The lost and found
isn’t waiting to be discovered. My madness
never greets me like a visiting hour at the asylum.
I send my prophetic skull on ahead of me
like a time capsule into the history of tomorrow
and the future remembers me oracularly as a sign
anything can happen retroactively you didn’t see coming.
Lost in a labyrinth of eyeless windows, the town
sleeps on the nightwatch. The silence purrs
with the white noise of somnambulant machinery.
I never listen to here as if it were the echo
of other places I’ve been. The train whistle mourns
like a ship at sea. Nothing quite so abjectly homeless
as a threshold with a return address. Better
to sleep on the wrong side of the tracks than
lie down with the suicides like a ladder that had given up
not realizing life’s a two way street, one rung east,
a crosswalk west of here, a burning crutch closer to heaven
than shakey Jacob on a three-legged footstool.
There’s no snakey paradise up the sleeves of my pyres,
no burning doves in the urns of my ashes in hell.
I don’t worship in the shrines of their reciprocal fires.
I don’t sing springtime carillons of wild columbine
to a dying funeral bell in winter whether it’s sempiternal
or not. I might light a few candles now and again
but I never extinguish their wicks in my tears
like the pilot lights of burnt out dragons in pain.
Whatever mirrors I might break like plagiarists
of the way I see myself when I reflect on the lack of one
I can trust, I don’t put brand name constellations
on fake creation myths that compromise my starmud
When I go down in flames, I never expect
the sunflowers to bloom at midnight, or noon
to throw a bouquet of shadows it cut from its own garden
into my grave as I’m lowered into my coffin
like the lifeboat of a meteor impact on the moon
into a sea as tranquil and surreal as it is inarticulately alone.