OPEN WINDOW ON A SUMMER NIGHT
Open window on a summer night.
Petting my cat on a cool windowsill.
Standing there in my underpants, not
caring whether anyone can see me,
it’s hot in the apartment. Though I try
to calculate the line of sight
from the street below, old enough now
to have run out of reasons to hide,
there’s a frenzy of drunks in the doorway
of a bar they’re standing in like a voice box
of cacophonous laughter, ego and hormones.
Riotous life going on all around me,
as if the wine had taken its bloodstream
off the leash and let it run wild with the dogs
that have wanted to get away all winter,
I was listening to the white noise of the dead
like the cosmic afterbirth of their microwave radiation
for any speculative pulse of a wavelength of life
to say yes, yes, yes, something survived
the initial blast that’s older than time itself.
Born and unperishing. Perishing in a womb
that tastes of life contemplating its own absence.
Throw in the deus ex machina of Hamlet’s father
wailing like the ghost of a train whistle through town
like the longing of a love lyric for revenge
that’s withered and gone brown as the leather
of the human manuscript of flesh
that prompted it in the first place,
I resurface a moment from the distractive
motherlodes of my insightful madness
like a canary in a mine on a shepherd moon
that’s tired of dying like an Orphic lighthouse
first in an underworld of beguiling eyes
that shine like jewels in the dark. I’m weary
of playing this aviary like a harp from the inside out
like the black box of a plane crash
that might afford me a clue of what it is
I’m still trying to survive like aviation fuel
in economy, wondering if I can tell by the ashes
whether I was a phoenix or a firefly.
I don’t usually give my secrets away
like a starmap but tonight I’m wearing
the whole of the nightsky for skin
and I’m more naked than I’ve been in a long time
without making my way to bed. I can feel
the moon water-gilding the leaves
of the silver Russian olives as if it were
breathing light into the lanterns of their cells
as flirtatiously assertive voices outside
overcompensate for how scared they are
there’s no star in the ore worth digging out of its grave.
Nothing to shine for. Everything lustrous and empty.