O THIS IS HARD, THIS IS HARD, THIS IS HARD
O this is hard, this is hard, this is hard. I pulled
the mandrake out. I heard it shriek. Ginseng
does the same thing out in the woods in spring.
It tries to sing but it loses control of the words
that come out of its mouth. You rub the genie
in the lamp after it’s put the kids to bed and it’s given
them what they wanted that won’t hurt them
as you wait to see, by God, you do, what happens next.
Hey, I think you just got included in a poem
dogpaddling in infinity here with me a bit but it’s ok,
we float. Sting like a butterfly. Dance like a bee.
No my tumour hasn’t reversed that. This is me.
This is what makes Muhammad Ali truly great in my mind.
He showed you his victory. And his effortless defeat.
Like a pulse on an electrocardiograph you can trust.
It’s his. Not mine. I’m not so sure about mine,
but I’m trying, and that’s all you can really ask of a human.
Bubbles and candles and wine. And a dolphin
from time to time. I’ve had mine, and it was beautiful.
Sublime as the moon in the birch tree groves
as if you were listening to an echo of the Druids
shine, shine, shine out in fireflies and lightning bolts
that are keeping the fire fed for the night
as you throw pieces of your life into it like salt
to watch it flare up green. Robin of the Hud,
and his merry men. Brief spirit of my solitude,
a flash in the pan. Or as Dogen says about as much
as you can say about life and humanity, no more
than the moon reflected in a drop of water
hanging from a heron’s beak in the dark and the light.
I added that last part because it’s the way I speak.
Are you listening to the same picture music I am?
Seek. But don’t make a big deal out of it. Take your time,
look around, find a place to sit down. Make yourself
at home. But you put the next pot on if
you’re lucky enough to get the last cup.
Bathroom’s over there beside the starmap.
Drink up. There’s more where that came from.
A whole pot. Remember the gold scars I told you about?
They mean a lot. Root fires screaming in a choir of ginseng.
Soft, gentle things like the fragrances of time
from a flower with a tumour in the dark trying to bloom
with the music and the moon as it always has.