THAT ANYBODY SHOULD KNOW
That anybody should know. Do you really
think it enhances and expands their humanity?
Ring one bell, you hear a thousand different
songs, a thousand different funerals and weddings.
Listen to one nightbird. A thousand different
longings answer back like stars. One skull
like the new moon in the moist earth
or charred by the fire, consulted in earnest
and everyone’s life is either a burnt seed
that boiled in its own beginnings, or a pine cone
that opened its eyes like a tree in flames.
We glean the same garden. We celebrate
on the same wind-locked gate. Until
something opens us up like the night sky
and we fly away never to be seen again.
The air leaves no traces of what it tried to explain
in the chalkdust of the Milky Way.
So many stars to be lost among like ghosts
of what they were. Firewalkers that didn’t
make it to the end of themselves. And never
would. Roadkill by the side of the road
when they lay down like a corduroy forest
built on an old Indian path for the mail lady
when she travelled with a horse and buggy.
Her bones stick out of the earth when it thaws.
A beached old whale of a store, at one time,
now empty when we moved in, poets and painters,
with five acres, and a lake that came with it
and the place I wrote in, cold and desiccated
as new dry wall and the studio as big
as I could want it, but empty and alone
even with you there to compensate for the silence
for throwing the jam and eggs the neighbours
greeted us with all over the kitchen floor
it was impossible to walk on for a week
of black ice between us for reasons I forget.
Does it help anyone to remember that?
Is the evil that genetically modifies their soul
made any less ingenuous than a retired
hunting and fishing guide that’s always
on the look out for anything to drink
even when it’s smashed Polar Ice
in someone else’s Arctic Cat’s saddle-bag?
Voldemar the Latvian tailor alcoholic
would think it was cologne, a cheap buy,
with an ice storm of a chandelier,
powdered glass in it like the staff of life
as the sheriff heaped his furniture
out on the boulevard where everyone gawked.
And the landlord’s wife telling me I was
Satan as I painted wolves for a living
every Sunday night after she got off church
coming to the door, a hypocrite whore
later to be discovered by her angelic son
doing porn on the internet. Survival skills
in the topsoil of the clearcut fields
that wasn’t good for farming except for pheasants
grown and slaughtered and flown all around
the world. People lived on fishing permits
but shot deer out of season, the occasional
black bear. Everybody owned a gun
but me. I grew flowers only the bikers
ever stopped en masse to admire the colours
of the zinnias in contrast to the white Shasta daisies.