I’M JUST FIGURE SKATING IN THE MOONLIGHT REFLECTED OFF THE SNOW.
I’m just figure skating in the moonlight reflected off the snow.
I’m not a Kufic cursive script of blades trying to show off
because I’m not allowed to idolize myself in images.
Melodically, because I need to breathe the air
against my face like a woman’s hands taking pity on me
like a picture frame that enhances the scene
like a rung up from a postcard in the hierarchical
structure of things. It helps to move as freely as you can
while you’ve got the chance. I’m trying to.
Besides it’s beautiful to be out here in the cold at night
as if I were a Russian figure skater alone on
the Ottawa Canal, wondering what she’s doing now back home,
alone, alone, alone, you see, Ottawa’s still got a ghost
of a hope of a poet laureate and the rest of that crowd
is way too entrepreneurial for me. I was busy. But
I never carried a stockportfolio of a bibliography
like a bill board around in my arms to scare people
to a restaurant I liked or a board room I didn’t.
I was busy. But I wasn’t busy, busy, busy. Guess.
They’re poisoning them these days. Collapsed Colony Syndrome.
Hey, this might be a tauromachia, if it weren’t for the fact
it’s only the moon listening to the rasp of her blades on the ice write poetry.
Ice age runes. My own demotic. Is my dream
grammatically correct enough? I know it’s got typos.
And sunspots of cancer on its lungs like the spotted
trout lilies in spring, or the ash spotted sacred clowns
in a crouch at a Sioux ghost dance, way, way off
the reservation where all I’m doing, I swear to God,
is trying to keep my eighty-eights straight as figure eights
on the figure skates of a Moebius infinity sign
I learned in calculus a long time ago
when I thought it was curvaceously sublime
and wanted to know more poetically who she was.
I keep wreaking my neck trying to twist and turn
to see how she can manage to do that as if it were
no trick at all to reality like a bowtie firecracker blasting cap
I don’t mind I stepped on so much if it means I get to see her skate.
Muse or moshpit underneath it all. Anyway, she’s gone.
And I hope we get the chance to sit down one day
and talk about everything under the sun and the moon
full, not empty like this firepit of a happy face
someone put on a pentagular tab of bad acid that looks like
one of my pills. As if Dracula were buried under it.
And who knows? Maybe he is. Let him sleep in awhile.
He’s had a long night of syringes and knives
and spoons that jump over the moon because it rhymes.
Push off, on one leg, as if I were a swan in some other
summer triangle far away from here I saw once
at Blue Skies rise above the trees in the shadows away
from the midway of the stage in the great gulf of darkness beyond
that makes me think I’m a little tiny tintinnabulum of a man
going ding, ding, ding, like a heartbeat in a great symphony
that’s swept away by the first violins of the wild irises
rising to the crescendo of a bouquet they had to fight for
as if somebody had just given it to them for free on their grave
in case, you never know, they made need a spare pilot light one day.
Look at those swords. This isn’t Cincinnatus in a rhetorical painting.
They’ve been to war. Those aren’t feathers. Maybe the talons
of a terrible bird. But I wouldn’t fall on one if I were you.
You might hurt yourself without meaning to.
I stroke my cat under the chin as she looks at me
skating back from the kitchen in a ridiculous image of myself
the way I like her to, on the futon, uncoiling herself
like a bucolated curl of an eddy on a river stretching out
from a warm sleep in the amber satisfaction
of being happy and at peace with herself and me
and life for awhile, three bells, all’s well, get back
to your dreaming. I’ll call or fall if anything happens.
How many cats I wonder have walked beside humans
like this as undemanding companions who want
something all the time, but you don’t mind,
because the way they ask it of you makes you rejoice
in being alive to give it them as if it were a great privilege
bestowed upon you to be needed by another living enttity.
And you know what? It is. Not drastic. Not plastic.
Refreshingly simple and ordinary like oxygen and bread
were meant to be originally, poppies and wheat
and figure skaters and cats waking up from a nap.
Like the way I turned that corner? Watch this. How’s that?
Not catastrophic images of the dead, but life going on as it is
to astound you with the moves it can make when your heart jumps
and you risk the double-lutz and don’t care if you fall flat on your face.
Happens to pancakes all the time. Buildings, too, I hear.
That were once able to leap over themselves in a single bound.