WHENEVER I REMEMBER YOU
Whenever I remember you. Heartwood knots.
And the birds go silent. After all these years
of trying to flower my way to fruition in the light
of the effortless vision that’s been the engine
of my life. Windfall of blossoms. Windfall
of warm apples. Windfall of burning leaves.
I can still feel your arrow of moonlight in my throat.
I can still feel how you peeled back the rind
of the moon and pieced out my heart calendrically
like sundials that lost track of the time
in the bluing of the lyrical distances in your eyes.
Taste it. You’ll like it, you said. Acidicly sweet.
Indelible. Like the first time you ever smell
the dead. Love is a pear. But I wasn’t listening.
I was looking at you as the embodiment
of lust and love and death and dream and karma
summoned out of my psyche to give me
what I’ve always been in danger of wanting.
You made the dark shine when I put
the powerlines of my most courageous poetry
in my mouth, and spoke in tongues
to the naked ghost dancers that brought me
my totems like owls of smoke and crystal skulls
of dragon fire, only you, with your finger
on the trigger of the silence, could put out
like a candle with a word. And things hardened
into wax tears as if a switchblade just showed up
and cut the jugular of the wick with a flick of the moon.
The only rational approach to what we
were doing together in the same dream for awhile
was insanity beyond reform or reproach.
Night in a blackberry patch maligned as razor wire.
Intensities met like two stars passing through
these immensities like virtual solitudes looping
around each other in a prayer wheel of a dance
both knowing in advance, though you were more
inclined to fly off centripetally like a bucket
you whirled over your head the bottom had fallen out of,
we didn’t stand a ghost of a chance, however
well we conducted the seance that brought us
back to each other like a table with the manners
of a ouija board. And the silence, do you remember
the silence as I do that overcame us like a surrender
we’d resigned ourselves to? Nothing left unsaid?
No. That’s a lie. I went to the block protesting
my love of you like a death bed confession
you’d have no reason to doubt, though at that
late hour of the night in the torchlit tower
it didn’t much matter anyway. I felt
the blade of the moon on the nape of my neck
and my head fall into the basket like an Orphic dismemberment.
You added a prophetic element to my voice
but my future’s been a quiet kind of voodoo ever since.
I sing alone in the woods at night under
the willows rinsing their hair in the river
that’s keeps me company when I want
to unburden my heart of the sorrows
that have deepened it beyond comprehension.
O how many of the grains of dust on the windowsills
of these worlds within worlds once boiled
like guitar strings in the impoverished begging bowls
of a coffin open on the corner of a bank
and the tone-deaf cosmos of love on the fly.
The way it was was the way it had to be,
I suppose. Not exactly scar tissue. But at least
I can go out in public without space
fracturing the nervous system of my reserve
of dark energy shepherding the stars like lost sheep.
Take a look at the Milky Way. Doesn’t it
remind you sometimes of a scarf that got
strangled in the axle of a zodiac winched up
from the bottom of a black hole where we
were both drawn to each other like singularities
that weren’t given much of a voice
in what the wild geese cried out in transit
across the moon like an ancient farewell
that always heralds the sad beginning of new world?