FOUR A.M, A FRAUDULENT SILENCE FALLS OVER THE TOWN
Four a.m, a fraudulent silence falls over the town
like the night ward of a hospital, things going on
after the felonious ecstasy of people getting away
with Friday night, underground, healing the damage
by appealing to a new affliction more threatening
than the last just to keep some danger in their lives,
some occasion for the irrational, some implausible rapture
of sex or violence to break the spell of the credibly predictable.
Look at that. Eight lines of abstractions
and not one of my sacred syllables bleeding
like a rose in an abattoir, a thorn in my third eye.
I suspect myself of subterfuge behind this death mask
of ash and shadow. I’ve given my heart up so many times
I’ve lost track of the gods I’ve been sacrificed to.
Did it ever matter we’re estranged by everything we love
in time? The question summons old ghosts
and the moon smears a snailtrack of light
down upon the waters of life I’m not willing
to follow anymore like a star stuck to flypaper.
Let the ghosts fall like chalkdust from the blackboard.
Blood and bonemeal from the zoo of the past.
Those rootfires blazed awhile and went out
like a burnt oak writhing on the crest of a hill
like Pompey caught in the act at the moment of death
a long time ago when Pliny still taught the orators
the memory of deranged pictures is stronger
than the aniconic memory of words. Since then
all my myths of origin are apprenticed to a dream grammar
that has vowed like a copulative verb that means
what it says never to orphan me in a house of mirages
ever again. Never to root the cracks in the mirrors
of the insane in my starmud silvered by flakes of pain
peeling off the windowsills of the moon like petals of paint.
The sinner might care less, but when grief
starts to insist it’s in danger of becoming a saint
that’s far worse than the sybaritic beatitudes of Friday night,
drinking the gods under the table until all you can see
when you look straight in their eyes for the rest of the week
are the stupefied revelations in the lees of the light.